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December Songs Review

THE MARS MCCLANES, the band behind December Songs, describe the holiday season in an innovative and resonant way: “A state of seasonal bliss is like an exclusive nightclub, complete with a bouncer and velvet rope. Waiting outside is tolerable—right up until the moment the fortunate ones get to skip the line. At that point, you’re more outside than ever.” I think this is one of the best metaphors for the complexities of the Christmas season and gives the perfect context to understand the melancholic atmosphere of December Songs.

The track opens with this subtle guitar riff that underpins the melody, building to the phrase: “Fight it all you want, the seasons' coming on.” The unpretentious riff gives the lyrics enough time to take centre stage. This lyric establishes the song's balance between the happy memories associated with Christmas and the sadness of not having new ones this season. “At this age, it hits different ways, it's balanced by what’s gone.”

The chorus that follows emphasises this sense of not being able to escape the cheer of the holidays with the line “no matter where you are.” Interestingly, the chorus feels like it picks up in energy somewhat. This joy is at odds with the atmosphere of lyrics like “hum dumb December songs.” I think this is part of what makes the track so great. That dissonance between the sound of the song and its meaning reflects the feeling of being surrounded by joy when things are grim. There is this sense that the lyrics are suffocating in the joy of the instrumental. This sentiment relates to how THE MARS MCCLANES describe Christmas as making them feel.

Overall, THE MARS MCCLANES have showcased an articulate understanding of how Christmas feels for many people. The soulful acoustic guitar and the uncomfortably happy timbre of the chorus work together brilliantly to establish the themes. Its honest portrayal of the challenges of Christmas communicates a potent sense of catharsis.





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