Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

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Single Review: Sam Smith – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

2 min read

If there’s one thing that brings out the Scrooge in me, it’s Christmas music. I don’t think old fashioned carols are necessarily bad – I won’t, for example, stuff my ears with turkey when they come on – but I’ve become increasingly bored of the deluge of lifeless, unoriginal covers that start rolling out as soon as December begins.  For singers around the world, recording a Christmas tune must seem like the easiest way to make a quick buck: all you have to do is choose a standard, belt it out, and watch your single rise to the top of the charts. Bah, humbug, I say.

Have Yourself A Merry Little ChristmasImagine my surprise then when I heard Sam Smith’s Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.  Neither Smith’s vocal delivery or the song’s arrangement break new ground, and Judy Garland’s original still remains peerless, but there is something refreshingly heartfelt about the 22 year old’s version. He might not be reinventing the wheel, but Smith does bring the requisite passion to the material.

Best of all, his voice is polished without being glossy, and he never hides the melancholic edge of lines like “through the years we all will be together/if the fates allow.” The overall tone of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas has always been one of wary hopefulness, and Smith turns in a version that is emotionally real without ever being wingy.

In essence, Smith’s version never feels like a quick yuletide cash grab, and it’s obvious from the slowed down tempo and dynamic vocal reaches that this is a man who wants to do a song he loves justice. It’s a version that manages to be both touchingly downbeat and yet oddly heart-warming at the same time – and coming from me, a grouch with a jet black piece of coal where his heart should be, that is praise indeed.