Monday, December 24, 2007

Step into Christmas

At some point in their career, just about every performer of any consequence at all gets around to doing some sort of Christmas song and/or album, and this was Elton and Bernie's stab at writing a perennial. Didn't quite happen, but this isn't completely without merit.

It opens up with the standard Phil Spector Wall of Sound treatment- acoustic guitars strum, castanets and other percussion accentuate the beat, and everything sounds like it was recorded in a large, echo-laden hall. The beat is kept lively, and it boogies along agreeably, but Elton's melody is not the most memorable he's ever written even though the chorus is quite catchy, through repetition if nothing else- in fact, that's my biggest problem with this cut: it's about two minutes too long, and Elton & Co. simply sing and sing and sing the chorus over and over as if they have run out of song but don't know when to end it. Some judicious editing might have helped, is all I'm saying. He must have had some trouble with the key; Dudgeon speeds his voice up quite noticeably.

Lyrically, it's basically a thank-you to his fans, as it comes out of arguably his most successful period, late 1973, as well as an invitation to all listeners to indulge themselves in holiday revelry in front of their stereo speakers. I doubt Taupin spent much time on the words.

And say, since it's Christmas Eve, how about a little gift: here's a link to the promotional video clip they made for the single, in which the classic band, along with Bernie, mugs mercilessly for almost five minutes. Enjoy, and happy holidays to all.