I have to make a confession: I love Christmas music. Not all Christmas music, mind you--I'm not rushing out to buy the new holiday discs by chirpy country-pop android Taylor Swift or UK talent show star Susan Boyle (who, improbably, includes Lou Reed's "Perfect Day" on hers)--but when a song is original and fresh and sums up the spirit of the season without stumbling through tired Yuletide cliches, then I'm hooked like an ornament hanging off ye olde tannenbaum.
Not every song can be "Fairytale of New York" by the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl or "December Will Be Magic Again" by Kate Bush, and it's hard to say if "Christmas Was Better in the '80s" by Sunderland's favourite sons the Futureheads will achieve any kind of timeless status. But it's such a a refreshing blast of power pop, laced with ringing chimes and choral vocals, that for three-and-a-half minutes it obliterates thoughts of all other songs as singer Barry Hyde bemoans his loss of innocence through candy cane-coloured glasses.
So was Christmas really better in the '80s? My immediate memories are of Madonna warbling Eartha Kitt's "Santa Baby" a la Betty Boop, Run DMC extolling the virtues of Christmas in Hollis, and Cher and Charo colliding on Pee Wee Herman's Christmas Special. Maybe the Futureheads could fit all of that into an extra verse.