IRELAND: Fairytale of New York - Christy Moore
Merry Christmas! For us, there was no doubt in our minds for what would be the king that sits astride the other World Music Christmas anthems in our countdown. Best associated with the original version written and recorded by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl, Fairytale Of New York has become an undeniable Christmas staple. We have selected this version by Celtic tiger Christy Moore, partially because he is fully Irish, but also because we both love his voice as well as his version of the tune, which he imbues with a typically Irish framing device based around hearing a story of a drunkard in a bar. His patter at the start is both comical and touching as the drunk man regales Moore with the fairytale of New York. The song itself is incredibly beautiful, it manages to be both a song about the spirit of Christmas, whilst also dealing with heavy themes such as the difficulties of attaining the American Dream, marital breakup, failed aspirations, and the nature of love and happiness itself. The song is one of a rare breed that has the capacity to produce both laughter and tears from its listener. It is the only song of the pass that, to our minds, encapsulates the light and the dark, the beauty and the tragedy, the happiness and the sadness of Christmas in such an astute and poetic manner. For our money, this, alongside a myriad of other factors, is why Fairytale of New York is the ultimate Christmas song.