Track of the Day: 'Last Christmas'

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

I was talking to a friend about Chicago-style hot dogs the other day—about their glory, about their enigma.

If you happen to be unversed in American Regional Frankfurter, please know: Chicago-style dogs are a magnificent foodstuff.  Yet their paradox is that their obvious salivary splendor arises from an ingredient list that is, and I think this is universally agreed upon, super gross. Like it’s just hideous. Every Chicago dog comes topped with yellow mustard the color of HAZMAT suits; with uranium-green sweet pickle relish; with “sport peppers,” which are a type of vegetable that comes in jars and is the same color as khakis; with an entire pickle (?!); and with a dash of celery salt.

I don’t know where you get celery salt—perhaps it magically appears as you begin to craft a Chicago dog. I don’t even know whether sport peppers or celery salt exist as comestibles beyond northeastern Illinois. But on a hot dog, and combined with the alchemy of those other ingredients, they’re resplendent.

So it is with this Carly Rae Jepsen cover. Tingly drum machines, a smoky alto saxophone intro, and the singular songwriting skills of 1985-era George Michael—I mean, normally I wouldn’t be particularly into it. But put them all together into this new cover of “Last Christmas” and it’s something else. And those Haim guitars!