FIFTY3 FRIDAYS: COMETH THE ADVENT CALENDAR
It may not be an original idea but it is something I intend to do every year until we get to around 8 December and I realise it’s way too late to start. Well, there’s always next year. Never fear. Followers on Twitter will have noticed that I actually did get round to it this year and this morning posted the 24th in my Fifty3Fridays 2021 Advent Calendar of great songs; the great being in the ears of the listener, of course. I am just here to offer an opinion, though always hopeful of your endorsement.
While there isn’t space to feature all 24 songs here each via a video link, I have picked out a few that have particularly memorable videos, not that many of the others don’t too, of course. You can listen to the full playlist on Spotify at the end of the piece but meanwhile here are a few vids by way of hors d'oeuvres.
DAY 1 REVERE – “THE ESCAPE ARTIST”
A song about division, separation and inhumanity that references the Holocaust, yet emerges as a glorious and uplifting experience. The former London collective, Revere, delivers an epic widescreen production from its haunting slow build to its heroic waves of sound, climaxing a huge sea of emotion.
DAY 5 KINGS HAVE LONG ARMS FT. CANDIE PAYNE – “BIG UMBRELLA”
A lovely circular melody graces this blissful 2008 union between the quirky-titled Kings Have Long Arms aka Adrian Flanagan, once labelled the ‘eccentronic popster’ and latterly trading under the moniker of International Teachers of Pop, and statuesque Liverpudlian songstress, Candie Payne. A “jumble sale around the sun” indeed.
DAY 15 SWEET LIGHTS – “ARE WE GONNA WORK IT OUT”
Sweet Lights was a solo vehicle of Shai Halperin, aka Shai, Son of Eli, of Philadelphia’s The Capitol Years. He can be seen break dancing as a teen in this marvellous video accompanying a quite brilliant pop song from its ominous build to its staccato piano and precise guitar phrases.
DAY 19 KATE WALSH – “THE REAL THING”
Recorded in a single take, the title track from the fifth and final album from Essex native Kate Walsh literally keeps it real. This song showcases Kate’s exceptional voice, simplicity of expression and great flair for melody while she is no mean guitar player either. Please come back to music, Kate!
DAY 23 KEVIN MORBY – “DOROTHY”
This is one of the very best from prolific singer-songwriter Kevin Morby; an ode to his guitar, his grandmother and to life. It recalls pivotal musical inspirations as he grew up which he illustrates in fine little cameos carefully woven into a beautifully paced, uplifting rock song.
DAY 24 THE WAITRESSES – “CHRISTMAS WRAPPING”
It seemed right to close with a Christmas song as we await the big day tomorrow. So, our final window reveals arguably my all-time favourite from New York’s The Waitresses. This bittersweet reflection comes with a happy ending that befits the season. Sadly though, singer Patty Donahue died of lung cancer in December, 1996 aged just 40. RIP.
SPOTIFY PLAYLIST - FIFTY3 FRIDAYS ADVENT CALENDAR 2021
TRUST THE DOC
You may note that just one of our Advent Calendar songs is a Christmas one. If you are looking for your fix of 20 choice Christmas cuts, including some sadly overlooked ones, I recommend you check out Neil March’s Greatest Christmas Classics over a mince pie or two.
Or for my list of 10 Alternative Christmas Songs take a look here.
Happy Christmas to you all. Stay safe and enjoy a fruitful new year. x