Sunday, December 21, 2003

Well, well, well! 2003 featured the closest battle for the UK's Christmas #1 in years, and the big winner is a bit of a big surprise.

It's not the Pop Idols, whose predictably crap cover of John and Yoko's "Happy Xmas" - the bookies' favorite - slunk in at #5.

It's not Bo Selecta, whose bizarre, oh so British novelty record "Proper Chrimbo" features the best lyric of any of the contenders: "Ho, ho, ho, I'm a bad mofo!" He's at #4. [That record, btw, was Dizzee Rascal' favorite for the prize.]

Thank heavens it's not Ozzy and Kelly Osbourne. Now, I'm thrilled that Ozzy finally got a UK #1 last week. But did it have to be a duet with his entirely talentless daughter on a butchered rewrite of Black Sabbath's "Changes"? Disheartening, and down two to #3.

And rather surprisingly, it's not The Darkness, who were the favorites all week, once the first-day sales figures were announced. "Christmas Time (Don't Let the Bells End)" is a charmingly metallic holiday record, but really, not much better than Slade's ol' warhorse "Merry Christmas Everybody." And Darkness singer Justin's whining all month about how "ours is a proper Christmas record" got seriously grating.

So the Christmas #1 for 2003 is from, of all places, the 2001 motion picture Donnie Darko! It's a fine cover of Tears for Fears' "Mad World" done by Michael Andrews featuring Gary Jules - albeit a real pass-the-barbituates kind of holiday tune. Gorgeous record, though.

For those non-Brits wondering what all the fuss is about, "Mad World" and "Christmas Time" have been added to the Christmas downloads section to your right. Please form an orderly queue.

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