Niall Conn - Loving You At Christmas Time

Mark Grainger 28/11/2009

Rating: 3/5

Is there a more contentious issue in popular music today than the annual Xmas song debate? Okay, yes there probably is, but now the rest of the world acknowledges that Cheryl can't actually sing, GaGa is overrated and Bono is a tool, our attentions must turn age old topic of why no-one releases festive songs to rival the greats. Lewie, De Berg and, er, Cliff have all had a fairly long reign in world of Christmas tunes, with only a few challengers appearing since The Pogues waltzed into the Christmas number two slot in 1987 with their masterpiece, the dark carol Fairytale Of New York.

Recent examples of ranged from the bauble-shatteringly awful Don't Let The Bells End (The Darkness) to some which, whilst deserving a place in the discerning listener's collection, would hardly fit snugly on “The Best Christmas Album Since Last Year's Best Christmas Album - Ever!”) such as Glasvegas' slurred tale of winter loneliness “A Snowflake Fell And It Felt Like A Kiss”, or Frightened Rabbit's majestically miserable It's Christmas So We'll Stop. Hell even The Killers have been releasing Christmas songs for those who are too cool for Slade.

This year though, with everyone craving the halcyon days when X-Mas singles were the musical equivalent of a knitted jumper and a glass of sherry by the fire, can wrap themselves up in Niall Conn's Loving You At Christmas Time.

Realistically, Conn has taken all the major ingredients from the most popular and smashed them all together. There's a drawling vocal reminiscent of Bing, a ridiculously cheery piano, and to top it all, there are sleigh-bells and a choral bridge. Conn is spoiling us. Elsewhere there's an exceptionally traditional lyric detailing the falling snow and the activities of children (it's not as creepy as I managed to make that sound), think of any cliché from any 70s festive hit and you'll find it here.

Make no mistake, Loving You At Christmas Time is hardly at the cutting edge of cool, and it's so sugary it could cause diabetes, but that would be missing the point. As much as I feel obliged to be a cynical, soulless Muso about these things, Loving You At Christmas Time genuinely made me feel more Christmassy and left me humming along on repeated listens, and therefore it serves its purpose. Any enjoyment gained from is going to be relative to your enjoyment of the festive season and how nostalgic you feel for the golden days of the seasonal song. In the spirit of the season its fun and traditional but it will doubtless be too much for some. You'd have to have a heart of stone not to want at least a snowball fight afterwards though.