Christmas and You is a heart-wrenching ballad about losing everything at Christmas time. There is a reason why lots of different faiths have a winter holiday. The cold is biting and the days are short. Faith and love fortify people. Those connections make people less vulnerable to the outside world. Christmas and You explore a story of losing those connections, making someone numb to the holiday season. The song has a purity and candour that makes it feel even more potent. The track feels personal and universal at the same time.
As the full title suggests, the song has a home-recording vibe. You can hear the room in the recording. Some of those production imperfections add to the rawness of the composition. I think a modern and complex production style would have detracted from that honesty, relieving us of the weight the track offers. Whether purposeful or not, the homemade essence makes it infinitely more personal and immersive to listen to.
Although the gentle strumming on the guitar and use of the mouth organ feel reminiscent of the sounds of Bob Dylan, the vocals have this softness that differentiates VICTOR V. GURBO from the gravel and grit of others in his genre. This softness lends itself to the heartfelt ballad through its subtle emotional edge. Never giving away more than he has to, VICTOR V. GURBO’s delivery elicits more emotion through the gaps he leaves. For every lyric he sings, it feels as if there are ten more phrases he holds back. That reserved tone gives the track a “tip of the emotional iceberg” energy, elevating it beyond the sum of its parts. The vocals interact with the guitar beautifully. They round out the sonic texture. The coarseness of the strumming is a perfect counterpart to the light, high-register vocals, and they draw aspects of tension and harmony through their sonic contrast.
I’m impressed by the honesty on display on Christmas and You. As a listener, you get a sense that VICTOR V. GURBO is pouring their heart out. That level of articulate emotional introspection is a privilege to listen to.