The Christmas we get, we deserve: sometimes a Christmas song can reveal a group’s nature more than any other formal exercise. Slade’s raucous bacchanal; Wizzard wanting the whole year to be overloaded with tinsel; Wham turning the season into an excuse for soft-focus mirror-gazing – and now Shakey, offering shopworn material in bargain-bin fashion. It’s cheerful – when was he otherwise? – but it’s very, very cheap. The reel-off of rote Xmas imagery is the pop version of a bargain box of Christmas cards – it promises a selection but you know exactly what you’re going to get, the only surprise being quite how nasty all the artwork is.
But it’s endured, it filled a gap somehow. All the Christmas compilation perennials seem to capture different parts of the festive experience – Saint Etienne for the demob drinks, Slade for the anticipation, Wizzard for the boozy aftermath of dinner, Kirsty’n’Shane for – well, that’s between you and your conscience. But Shakey? Shakey for me is the sound of Christmas shopping, jingling on the tannoy while you cross names off your list and look at the plastic reindeers in the shopping centre diorama. Still part of the experience – but never something you look forward to.