Christmas songs are a good thing, no? Well, if you like Christmas they are. If you don’t then no doubt somewhere on the web there is an MP3 of Will Oldham playing ‘We Three Kings’ on a zither that you can adopt as your ‘favourite Christmas record’: why not go off and look for it, eh? OK, liking Trad Christmas has a few pre-requisites: getting on fine with your family, being wealthy enough to afford a present or two, enjoying getting unconscionably bloated on turkey and booze. If you can checklist those and you still can’t feel a little bit of joy when you hear a big Christmas hit then you might be reading the wrong weblog.

Of course there are hits and hits. Doing a Christmas song right seems to be very hard — so many pop stars have a crack at it out of a kind of duty (perhaps to their bank manager). The classic ‘forced’ Christmas tune is ‘Wonderful Christmastime’, all disco bells and gritted teeth. Records like that cling to a kind of half-life, turning up on every 2CD Christmas compo, perpetually skipped over to get to Slade.

‘Happy Christmas (War Is Over)’ is also on every 2CD compo. Perhaps people actually like it. People are obviously thought to like it, because otherwise it wouldn’t have been picked as the Pop Idol single. The 12 finalists — some of whom will be having a miserable Christmas as they see their winning rivals’ faces in every newsagent — take a line or two each, Band Aid style. I can tell them apart by sight but not by sound, so the MP3 sounds as bitty as you might expect.

I do not like this song. I do not like how it starts out sanctimonious and then doesn’t even follow through, collapsing instead into a choir-drenched mush. I like it even less when the Pop Idol 12 sing it, though. Lines that were just sort of there when sung by sleepy John and Yoko suddenly jump out at you here: I feel for the poor girl whose one shot at chart action may well be belting out ‘the yellow and red ones’. And that war being over has shifted from being a fond campaigner’s dream to a blackest- comedy Bushism doesn’t help. There is one terrific moment on this single, though: at 2 mins 55 there is a breakdown before the final war is over chorus and the producer fills it with the sound of an exploding bomb! Not that it’s worth listening to the record for but if you live in the UK you’re not going to have much choice, are you?