It is an odd irony that considering just how many songs have been written with a specifically Christmas theme, there are so few which are actually, how can I put this….so few that are actually any good! Astro-Physics has Fermi’s Paradox to explain the lack of life found in the universe, music has MacGowan’s Irony…which is perhaps as good a name as any to give to the musical dearth…does the same for the quality of mid-winter pop. Ex-members of D-List boy bands murdering Rocking Around The Christmas Tree without even knowing who Brenda Lee is just won’t cut it I’m afraid.
But I guess this means that if you chose to cover a slice of seasonal sonics, the list to chose from is pretty concise. The afore-mentioned Mr MacGowan’s (not forgetting Jem Finer’s) Fairytale of New York might be a good option but I fear that the controversy surrounding the song would best be avoided. Slade? Too obvious. Chris Rea? Too…. stonewashed jeans.So pretty soon you find yourself at The Pretender’s 2000 Miles, and it is this much underrated ballad that Charlotte Grayson chooses.
It’s a song which found its perfect form right from the off – the hypnotic spiral of the guitar work, the lingering starkness of the vocals, the romance and longing inherent in the lyrics, the simplicity and effectiveness of the structure. Quite astutely Charlotte choses to pay tribute to all of these aspects rather than try to make it her own…why try to tinker with near-perfection anyway?
And so what results is a faithful rendition but one which also reminds us what a fabulous voice Charlotte Grayson has, understated, intimate, graceful and here, wonderfully vulnerable when delivering the feeling of longing and separation perfectly. No tricks, no Whitney warbling, no cheeky winks to camera, just pure emotion, just as the goddess of rock herself intended.