Recently, it has seemed as if no lessons have been learned since Killing in the Name by Rage Against The Machine became the 2009 Christmas No.1. Initially just a bit of a laugh, the campaign to get this track to No.1 carried with it a message of resistance to the cynical omnipotent music industry, directed at its key representative, the X Factor.
Even though the X Factor’s Matt Cardle got Christmas No.1 the year after, Killing in the Name’s success showed that everyone was getting bored of X Factor’s annual churning out of homogenous singles, engineered to be Christmas No.1 in a manner so mechanical and soulless that their produce should be labelled ‘Made in China’.
Since 2009, the X Factor’s influence has subsided. Now, we are blessed with charity singles and other factory-made pop songs. An important question to ask at this point is, does it matter? Does whichever song that tops the chart at Christmas have any impact on what people actually listen to at Christmas? No one will usurp Mariah Carey’s all-time classic as the true Christmas No.1, which may not win the charts but wins our hearts year after year.
Additionally, does anyone care about the charts anyway? Modern day music platforms like Spotify and Soundcloud have undercut the industry’s authority on popular music; recent surges in popularity amongst underground genres like Grime and DnB reflects the public’s disillusionment with mainstream music; the astonishing diversity of musical styles in this era of music makes chart music appear limited and boring.
All things considered, paying attention to Christmas No.1 is a mug’s game. Do yourself a festive favour by listening to a Crooner’s Christmas album, accompanied by a warm mug of eggnog. The Christmas No.1 is dead, long live Frank Sinatra.