As long as there has been music vying to be the Christmas No. 1 there have been songs that challenge such modern traditions. This latest offering from Spray is ironically both. In their usual infectious, humorous and slightly off-beat pop way The Ballad of Xmas ’99 (Oh Cliff) tells the story of…well, you can probably work most of it out from the title. It looks back at their shot to be the sonic Christmas cracker of that year only to be defeated by the usual suspects including the infamous, wired for snooze, Cliff.
Employing jaunty Day-Glo moves and slinky dance grooves they tell the tale of how their pop David took on the established middle of the road Goliath and whilst engaged in battle for chart favour were overtaken by a group of “Irish boys” and “some dead hippie from the olden days.” It is a tale of optimism, excitement, disillusionment and bitterness, highlights the dangers of taking on the music industry’s appointed representatives but makes for a wonderfully fun and cynical saga along the way.
Joyous in its resentment, this ghost of Christmas No. 1 past, makes for a wonderful ghost of Christmas present, or even just a wonderful Christmas present for us supporters of the musical underdogs. And whilst that will regrettably probably always be Spray’s lot in such seasonal sonic shootouts, this makes for a much better song to tuck into the turkey to than any of the Brit school luvvies or carolling crooners that will be the sound track in most peoples houses.
Find this track and other wonky Christmas tunes here….