Perfect – Ed Sheeran
At the time of writing, it looks like Ed Sheeran is the best bet for a 2017 Christmas number 1 by a living artist. His habitual ugliness harks back to the Christmas acts of the ’70s, but unlike Holder and Co. there is no innocence to what Sheeran does: he is a soulless song selling machine. In ‘Perfect’, we witness Sheeran on a skiing holiday with his attractive and insufferable friends. They drink beers, down shots and ski along dark slopes while wielding flares, all the action captured in crisp HD.
One of them is a pretty lady, who at first ignores poor Ed. He then plays her a song he’s written and she starts crying, but not in pain – she’s crying because she now loves Ed, and is drawn to his personality (and wallet) like a fly to a succulent turd. They dance under the moonlight in their pyjamas.
The ’70s was a golden age for Christmas. Not only did fashion dictate that you dress like a prat all year round (a shit jumper was for life) but also blackouts, race riots and the fact that the Internet hadn’t been invented yet meant 25 December was a date people genuinely looked forward to. Novelty Christmas songs were an innocent affair.
However, we are now living in a Yuletide hinterland. Festive jumpers are no longer valued for their heat-trapping qualities, but instead as items of ironic projection. Families gather not for a sense of communion, but rather so they can watch television in separate rooms using Sky Multiscreen. Carole Vorderman and Jeremy Clarkson are still at large, only their faces and careers have been utterly distorted.
And yet, the fact is that Ed will probably not be number one this year. His song is too smooth, too American – a Tiffany ring rather than a plastic dog turd. When artists turn out dross like this we react by sending a totally inappropriate song to number one (‘Killing in the Name’, for example). Sheeran is – and I can’t believe I’m writing this – not crap enough to be Christmas number one. So long as that holds true, all hope for Christmas is not lost.
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