Ed Sheeran vs Mariah Carey – Is it time for new Christmas songs – Extra.ie

Turn on the radio during December and nine times out of ten you’ll be greeted by Mariah Carey or The Pogues.
Christmas is the one time of year where everyone on the planet is listening to the same music. After all it is tradition!
Yet, what if it’s time to bring some new voices to that tradition? Should we welcome Ed Sheeran and Elton John’s new single into our cherished annual playlist with open arms?
Or maybe few Christmas songs have become classics in recent years because they’re simply not good enough?
Two members of the extra.ie team have had their say.
It’s time for some Christmas change – Liam De Brún
Ed Sheeran isn’t going to change the current trajectory of Christmas music. Sure, he’s all but guaranteed to receive his 9th Irish number one with ‘Merry Christmas’ (featuring Elton John). We’d be lying to ourselves if we claim we predict it’ll become a staple of Christmas.
Whether an attempt to keep momentum going following the release of Subtract last month or that Ed really loves the holidays is up for debate. Yet, isn’t it refreshing to have a new Christmas song?
Who was the last mainstream artist to bring the sleigh bells out of the attic? The problem at this moment of time rests with the musicians rather than the listeners. The few Christmas songs released over the last five years have been dreadful. I shudder at thought of Robbie Williams weird lockdown Christmas album he released last year.
It would be foolish to ban new artists from creating festive music. We should be pushing our favourite musicians to give it a go at least once in their career. Taylor Swift may be better than Michael Buble for all we know.
Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber both showed in the early 2010s there’s room for new Christmas songs. ‘Santa Tell Me’ and ‘Mistletoe’ have been embraced by festive fanatics because they’re genuinely great songs.
A huge issue is that Christmas songs all stick to the same genre of pop. As the years have gone the music industry has moved away from pop.
Who says that Christmas songs have to be pop? Hip-hop has been the biggest music genre in the world for almost a decade.
A Kanye West or Cardi B Christmas song may raise eyebrows, but that’s the problem. If Christmas party’s don’t get new music then it may become extinct in the distant future.
Mariah, Wham and Bruce Springsteen set the standard of Christmas songs remarkably high. Let’s not banish those who wish to try their hand at joining the elite club of Christmas classics.
Stick to the Christmas classics – Emma Costello
I love a good Christmas tune as much as the next person – but is there truly a need for more songs that add nothing new to the mix?
While modern artists can do their best to make us feel festive they don’t hold a candle to the great hits like Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’ or Andy William’s ‘It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year’.
The only artist of note that has had somewhat of a decent song since Mariah Carey’s 1994 banger ‘All I Want For Christmas’ is Ariana Grande who released ‘Santa Tell Me’ in 2014 — but the track still wouldn’t make a top 10 list for many.
Some may argue that Michael Bublé should be appreciated, and of course I do but until he brings out an original Christmas song that I can remember the lyrics to after a few hot toddies then he has no place in this discussion.
Christmas is the season of reflection; on the last year, remembering past Christmas celebrations, and embracing our family traditions. It’s the time when nostalgia reigns, and what’s more nostalgic that a Christmas song that is at least two decades old?
Ed Sheeran may try his best to break into the Christmas song market with Elton John, who has one of the most fun festive tunes out there with ‘Step Into Christmas’, but the musicians’ duet doesn’t give me shivers like the opening of Shakin’ Stevens’ ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ does.
Don’t get me wrong, ‘Merry Christmas’ has everything you want from a bog-standard Christmas song with church bells ringing, the swell of a children’s choir, and the sickly sweet sound of string instruments.
It also has more celebrity cameos than needles on a Christmas tree, which is a tactic but one I must admit I enjoy.
The whole duet is clearly a tribute to the Christmas songs we all know and love; Ed flying in the sky with a snowman is a nod to ‘Walking In The Air’ while Ed and his celeb pals — Jonathan Ross, Michael McIntyre and Big Narstie — donning big white fluffy coats is clearly their attempt at a East 17 tribute band you’d see in your local pub on Christmas Eve.
It doesn’t make me stop and think, ‘Christmas is here’. It’s just another Christmas song that has ticked all the boxes needed on the festive tune checklist – and no doubt Ed checked it twice.
I feel even Ed may have felt at some point that ‘Merry Christmas’ would be a one-time hit. He sings, ‘I know there’s been pain this year, but it’s time to let it go’ — a line that’s very of the moment.
It’s safe to say last Christmas and this Christmas are very unusual circumstances that we hope won’t be repeated again. While it may not be joining the classics, it could start a new wave of pandemic Christmas tunes. Personally, that’s a hard pass.



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