Tracks of the week reviewed: Christmas singles special

This week we’ve got a veritable cheeseboard of schmaltz, from Robbie Williams to Tinashe to Liam Gallagher

Robbie Williams

Can’t Stop Christmas

Williams is rereleasing his Christmas album from – checks notes – last year, with the addition of this pub rock, Covid-themed song with timely lyrics: “Santa’s on his sleigh / But now he’s two metres away” – oof, satire. Still, if anyone can get away with a track that essentially advocates flouting the restrictions for a massive piss-up, it’s Mr ITV Holiday Special himself.

Liam Payne and Dixie D’Amelio

Naughty List

Here he comes, the Grinch in grey knitwear, trying to use the birth of God’s son as a foothold in his ongoing clamber for credibility. Payne duets with the TikTok phenomenon D’Amelio in a song that suggests that Santa is some kind of voyeuristic dom, watching them snog and punishing them for it. Has Liam been a bad, bad boy? Only artistically.


It’s Going to Be a Cold Winter

What starts as an enjoyable addition to the grumpy indie Christmas canon shifts gears once you notice a bizarre lyrical undercurrent, in which singer Tom Ogden suggests he’d much rather be spending the holidays with “your sister”. It feels as if it was written with one specific person in mind. If you think that might be you, you might need to get an extra present this year.


God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Very smart move by the R&B journeywoman, doing a Christmas album of traditional carols with lots of sleek 808 production and Ariana-aping vocals. You can imagine every track being used on Christmas adverts for years to come, especially this strangely sexy cover, which suggests the gentlemen might be a little more than merry. Christmas comes but once a year but that publishing money should last till April!

Liam Gallagher

All You’re Dreaming Of

Liam Gallagher has no doubt enjoyed some extremely white Christmases over the years, but he’s mellowing in his middle age and this is quite a charming ballad: not too garishly festive but the sort of thing that would find a natural home on a John Lewis advert, about a little boy trying to find a parka that isn’t seven sizes too big.


Sam Wolfson

The GuardianTramp

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