Single Review: Wham! - Last Christmas
The end of 2017 is almost on the horizon, which means one thing: Christmas is officially here. I always get happy around this time of year because there’s the opportunity to spend at least one day with your family. One of the reasons why everyone should fully embrace this wonderful holiday is that it gives you the excuse to scroll through your music collection and play some of the best Christmas songs ever.
Some of these incredible festive tunes have been ingrained into my blood every year thanks to artists such as Mariah Carey, Slade and John Lennon. However the one hit that still resonates with me more than any other Christmas song is Last Christmas by Wham.
It was one year when I was watching TV and the music video for it came on. It really stuck with me after all these years because I remember how heartbreaking it was. Even though Last Christmas is my favourite Christmas song of all time, it also gives me nightmares (in a good way). My mum would constantly gush about how attractive George Michael was in his heyday.
The opening bars of Last Christmas immediately feel very festive due to its bouncing yet glistening synthesizer riff and melodic bass line. It also incorporates chiming bells to add authenticity to the track. It’s easy to be fooled by the instrumentation into thinking that this is another joyful Christmas song.
“George Michael’s approach to Last Christmas was brilliant as it opposed the way that Christmas pop songs had normally been written. Last Christmas tackled a topic that was slightly more realistic, depressing and intimate.”
However when Michael delivers his first lines “Last Christmas/I gave you my heart/But the very next day you gave it away/This year to save me from tears/I’ll give it to someone special”, you to come to the conclusion that the song is not about spending time with loved ones. Instead it deals with looking at a failed relationship, which is what makes it tragic as a Christmas song. But it’s this heartbreaking quality that also makes it so appealing.
The juxtaposition between the festive ambiance and Michael’s cynical lyrics gives Last Christmas a polarising quality. As the song progresses it is very evident that Michael is still very naïve about relationships “Merry Christmas/I wrapped it up and sent it/With a note saying I love you/I meant it/Now, I know what a fool I’ve been/But if you kissed me now/I know you’d fool me again”.
In conclusion George Michael’s approach to Last Christmas was brilliant as it opposed the way that Christmas pop songs had normally been written. Last Christmas tackled a topic that was slightly more realistic, depressing and intimate. It can be argued that Wham! didn’t do anything innovative with the format since relationships are discussed in the majority of songs.
However with Michael focusing on a bleaker time in his life rather than the joyful nature of Christmas, it can be said that this is why Last Christmas still stands the test of time after it’s release in 1984. Its refreshing take on the genre is what possibly makes it one of the most unique Christmas songs ever.
When I now listen to Last Christmas it makes me slightly sad as George Michael passed away this time last year. George Michael, you will forever remain in our hearts every Christmas time.
The Breakdown | Single Review: Wham! – Last Christmas
Wham’s Last Christmas has remained a pop classic for a jaw dropping 33 years due to its refreshing take on the Christmas genre. Its approach in dealing with themes of heartbreak instead of happiness is what makes us all come back to this tune every Christmas time.