Ho-ho-here we go! It feels like Uncle Elton and pop’s Tiny Tim, Ed Sheeran, have been teasing this festive collaboration since before Jesus had a birthday for us all to celebrate with Amazon’s Last Minute Christmas Deals. In fact, it was only back in October that Ed told a Dutch radio station that Elton – who, surprisingly, apparently calls the little scamp every single day – has been keen to team up for a festive frolic since his juggernaut 1973 hit ‘Step Into Christmas’ crash-landed back into the charts last year.
“We’ve got the sausage roll man to deal with, haven’t we?” Elton later joked to NME. “We’ve got LadBaby to deal with! Once we bump him off, we might have a clear path to a hit record. He seems to have the monopoly on Christmas records. And good for him!”
This new contender is a bit more Ed than Elton: a nice, safe, mid-paced sleigh ride through lyrics simple enough for your young relatives to recite, and sleepy enough to ensure your Nan doesn’t spill her eggnog. “It’s Christmas time for you and I,” the duo grin, exuding joy to the world as they deck the halls with seasons greetings and jingle all the way to the top of the charts. “We’ll have a good night and a… Merry Christmas.” The song is called ‘Merry Christmas’, you see. Elsewhere they get doe-eyed about a “raging” fire and “embers” that “glow” and put their clammy hands together for “December snow”. It couldn’t be more obvious if Noddy Holder ploughed through your front door December 25 and bellowed “IT’S CHRIIIIIIIIIISTMAS!” up your chimney.
Having said that, there are some timely allusions to the pandemic. “I know there’s been pain this year,” Ed beams, like Patrick Bateman cheerily appraising the merits of Huey Lewis & the News as he introduces an axe to your skull, “but it’s time to let it go.” It’s a bit crass but he clearly means well and, you know, it’s Christmas – let’s give him the benefit of the doubt, shall we?
It gets a bit more awkward when Ed implores you to kiss him “under the mistletoe”, which is precisely what a Government minister warned us not to do in the wake of the new Omicrom variant the other day. It’s not Ed’s fault – just unfortunate timing – but it is like taking your kids to see Santa at the local shopping centre, squinting hard and realising it’s Ian Brown under that white beard. Still, it’s for charity (split between Ed’s Suffolk Music Foundation and Elton’s Aids Foundation) and the sleigh bell sound effects are nice.