What’s the perfect Christmas song? ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’? WRONG. It contains 0.34 too few mentions of snow. ‘Fairytale Of New York’? INCORRECT. Its average BPM is significantly below the 115 standard. ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’? WAY OFF PAL. Not a single reference to peace, love or home.
You see, as the robots even come for Slade’s job, musicologist Dr Joe Bennett from the Boston Conservatory at Berkley, USA analysed 200 Christmas songs for tempo, lyric, vocal and key and came up with a scientific outline of what makes us puny, suggestible humans happy when played through a tinsel-encrusted pub speaker. Apparently, wannabe Wizzards, you need a major key, a tempo of 115bpm, mentions of snow, home, peace, love and Santa and sleigh bells in the chorus. And exactly 21 mentions of the word ‘Christmas’.
Armed with this data, Bennet recruited songwriters Harriet Green and Steve Anderson and the London Community Gospel Choir to put together what they claim is the ‘happiest Christmas song’ possible, ‘Love’s Not Just For Christmas’. “There is no simple formula for a successful song, and in practice songwriters combine their own experience, musical skills and personal creative preferences when writing,” Bennett says. “But we can infer listeners favoured song characteristics by analysing the most popular recordings – in this case, Christmas songs. In ‘Love’s Not Just For Christmas’, Steve and Harriet have done an amazing job, weaving together these musical elements into a really enjoyable, happy festive song that combines classic themes with their own original ideas.”
Now we can already see an issue with the title, which suggests a subtext of severe non-Christmas familial conflict and neglect, but have a listen to the track below and see if it has you whistling all the way to Argos or ripping the legs off the nearest reindeer and using them to beat yourself into a coma until January.