[Originally published in GoldenPlec]
“HAPPY CHRISTMAS YOUR ARSE, I PRAY GOD IT’S OUR LAST”.
Lyrics like the above do not, generally speaking, scream “yuletide cheer”. Indeed, they don’t sound like they could come from one of the most beloved Christmas songs of all-time; and yet, of course, ‘Fairytale Of New York’ is precisely that.
Though that particular line is humorous, the song as a whole goes beyond mere comic caricatures. There is a melancholy to The Pogues’ 1987 hit that has given it a timelessness. At any other time of year its huge popularity wouldn’t seem so incongruous: to paraphrase High Fidelity, pop music is generally miserable, and that’s why we love it. But why, around The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year™, are we so drawn to such an overwhelmingly sad song?
It’s not often I’ll admit to it, but there’s a certain feeling I get when listening to Spandau Ballet’s ‘True’ – that romantic, jittery, butterflies-in-stomach vibe. I mention it because it’s a similar sentiment to the one evoked in the opening bars of darling new track from Helsinki group Cina Polada, ‘Face 2 Face’.
The five-piece consists of of married couple Hilla and Tatu Miettinen, Tatu’s younger brother Teemu, as well as good friends Tony Salo and Nita Mattila. The relative intimacy of the group is evidenced in that easy, woozy warmth ‘Face 2 Face’ seems to exude, all fluid, lilting guitar licks, soft synths that feel like you’re sinking into a hot bath and Hilla Miettinen’s sweet, shy vocals floating over the top, singing all too relatable lines about social anxiety.