Tim: It’s December, I’m waking up to sub-zero temperatures, and Christmas tracks are all out in force, so LET’S JOIN IN, but we’ll begin with a Yuletide tale of days gone by.
Tom: And I’ll provide a bit of context for our new reader: over December, Tim sends me Christmas tracks. I’m a lot more cynical about Christmas music than he is. Actually, I’m a lot more cynical about many things than he is, but here it’s just a bit more obvious.
Tim: And every year, I change to change his mind. So, waaaaaaaaay way back when, in their 1996 heyday, Backstreet Boys did a Christmas song, Christmas Time. It was typical Backstreet Boys ballad and, much like *NSync’s one, was ill-advised and generally a bit shit.
Tom: That’s 99% of Christmas music right there.
Tim: Sixteen years later, though, when they got back together they decided to have another go, with a pleasing self-referential title.
Tim: And that’s one that’s really not shit. It seems more like they wanted to do a Christmas song, rather than were just told “you need to do a Christmas song so we can release a Christmas version of this album”.
Tom: It’s not like they just took an old track and added some sleigh bells over the top. It’s actually not all that bad, is it?
Tim: I don’t know if it’s partly just because I’m judging it from a 2016 perspective – 20 years ago the first may have seemed perfectly acceptable – but this is just so much more fun. More life, more instruments, more general bangingness…
Tom: Excuse me?
Tim: You heard. Quite surprised I’ve never used that word before, to be honest. Still, though, they’re keeping in all the standard bells, chimes and twinkliness of a typical track.
Tom: And some incredibly unflattering artwork. But yes, I’ll grant you, this is at least above average as Christmas tracks go.
Tim: Ah, we’re off to a good start then. Incidentally, what first drew my attention to this was the fact that the typically reliable Ida LaFontaine covered it last year; it’s not on YouTube, tediously, but is very much worth seeking out on Spotify or Apple Music or indeed any other musical provider, whatever floats your festive boat.