Saturday Flashback: Emmy the Great & Tim Wheeler – Home for the Holidays

“That string section is just wonderful.”

Tom: I have no idea how I’ve never heard this track before. It’s absolutely lovely. But I warn you: it’s a song that gets worse each time you listen to it, so before you read any further, have a listen through.

Tim: Okay, but I’ll be very upset if you’re about to ruin it for me.

Tim: Hmm, seems quite nice to me, aside from Tim in the video looking glum, as if he’s only just realised that Ash’s glory days are well and truly behind him.

Tom: Let me explain why I think it’s lovely: the message is exactly a mixture of optimistic and nostalgic: “did you ever make it out of here” is something that anyone who’s gone back to their old hometown for Christmas can relate to. And that string section is just wonderful.

Tim: Agreed, on all three counts.

Tom: It passes both of my Good Pop Tests: after listening to it only once, not only I could hum the chorus (which they opened the song with!), but I immediately wanted to hear it again.

Tim: Good, we’re in alignment, it’s a nice song. Shall we leave it there?

Tom: And that’s when I notice that there are things to dislike here.

Tim: Oh.

Tom: The football-chant clapping in the verses starts to grate after a while, and whoever decided to include sleigh bells in the same rhythm needs to have a long think about what they did. After a while, it’s all I can hear: this song would be so much better with, well, basically any other standard percussion here.

Tim: Hmmmm…all true, technically, but what you’ve really described here is just all the clichés that typically come with a standard Christmas song. Sure, they might get trying (particularly now you’ve pointed them out to me), but I do at least prefer that to what might otherwise be a boring 2-4 beat clap.

Tom: I also have two notes on the video. First: that shot of Tim Wheeler singing while staring awkwardly into the distance really doesn’t need to be used as much as you think it does. Or at all.

Tim: Smiling would help, just a notch.

Tom: And second: wow, those couples must have had to kiss for a long, long time for those final shots.

Tim: Oh, well at least we’re finishing on a happy note.