Ten festive hits perfectly suited to a sunset session sipping cocktails in Café Del Mar.
Via Cliff Richard's Facebook. This post ran originally on THUMP UK.
Christmas is here, and for many people who still haven't figured out how to use Amazon, that means entering into quite a stressful time of year. Rushing through crowded shopping malls trying to find the perfect Lynx Africa gift-pack, negotiating post-party hangovers with end of year workloads and wrestling over roasting parsnips in the reduced section of Tescos on Christmas Eve—it's enough to make you pine for another time and place altogether. A time like the low-hung heat of a summer's evening, a place like the marbled coast and azure blue-seas of Ibiza. That's right, today we are dreaming of a White Isle Christmas, as we attempt to compile a playlist of the most Balearic Christmas songs ever.
Quick recap for those who are new to Balearic. The word itself is more of an idea than a music genre, but roughly speaking it relates to any sort of woozy, dreamy, ambient, plucked and pitched-down song or track that would sound blissful skimming over the ocean waves during a beach-side set in Ibiza. Originally pioneered by Jose Padilla and Alfredo Fiorito, the scene has had something of a renaissance in the last few years with newer producers like Mark Barrott or Steve Cobby leading a renewed charge for all things new age. If you're still not sure what we're talking about, check out this mix by Moonboots, which was included in our mixes of the year list.
That said, just because the genre is all sun, sea, and suspicious sandals, doesn't mean Balearic music can't be found in the most unlikely of places. Most strikingly Christmas music, which, it turns out, is totally Balearic. Still don't believe us? Then feast your ears on the ten most Balearic Christmas songs ever made:
1. Greg Lake – I Believe In Father Christmas
What better place to start than with this rustic little dreamboat from a man who has just died. Yes, Greg Lake might not be with us anymore, but the wine bar wonders of his festive classic will never be forgotten. Imagine this one spinning out as you order your third Amaretto Sour of the evening, and take a seat at a table in Blue Marlin.
2. Chris De Burgh – A Spaceman Came Travelling
Despite sharing a title with one of the songs David Brent sang in The Office, this ethereal beauty by Balearic legend Chris De Burgh is pure 5AM, spaced out, bean-bag recovery. It has it all: washed out synths, a chilling call and response, occasional flicks of electric guitar and that really sick bit where De Burgh yells, "Oh, the whole world is watching!" There's also the very real chance—based on the lyrics of this song—that Chris De Burgh thinks the baby Jesus was an alien.
3. Cliff Richard – Saviour's Day
Do you think anyone loves Christmas as much as Cliff Richard? The man has had four Christmas number ones, most of which have been pretty explicitly about his best mate (GOD), and it's also the time of year when sales of his calendars peak. One can only imagine the magical smile that spreads across his perfectly round Jaffa cake head on the morning of the 25th. He also is statistically the most Balearic Christmas hitmaker, as he is the only person to appear twice on our list. This first appearance, "Saviour's Day," is a particularly rousing but totally, totally Balearic entry. The echoing drums, the strummed acoustic guitars and those crystal clear, completely fake flutes. This one also has the most Balearic video, as Cliff stands beachside, astride an actual Cliff and throws some oddly tense shapes. Raise a glass indeed!
4. Band Aid – Do They Know It's Christmas
Sorry, but you put Phil Collins and members of Ultravox in the same supergroup and you're only ever going to end up with a massive Balearic record.
5. Mike Oldfield – In Dulci Jubilo
Okay, so on the surface this is a deeply unpleasant piece of music. It sort of sounds like every weird Christmas fete I was dragged to as a child by my Church-going parents. It reminds me of the old man who used to dress up as Father Christmas, the translucent, hairy skin on his bony hands as he handed me a miniature mars bar, the smell of dried bananas and coffee on his breath. It's evokes the side of Christmas that is so jovial it almost becomes terrifying, so saccharine it becomes sinister. That said, it's Balearic as fuck.
6. Frankie Goes to Hollywood – The Power of Love
Perfect set closer this one. The gentle lapping of waves, as you lean your arm against the balustrade and look out to the horizon. Before long, Holly Johnson's vocals have made you cry and you're in a cab on your way to the airport.
7. East 17 – Stay Another Day
"Stay Another Day" is classed as Balearic purely based on how much reverb is used throughout the song. Seriously, I'm not sure what production techniques were used, but the song sounds like it was recorded inside a cathedral which itself was floating endlessly in orbit around the moon. The song also ends with the ringing of bells, which means it's basically a José Padilla track.
8. George Michael – December Song
The lesser known of George Michael's Christmas hits, but 2010's "December Song" is definitely his most appropriate for a sunset session at Pikes. Also features George referring to snow as "sugar from Jesus" which is a festive lyric par excellence, in my opinion.
9. Sinead O'Connor – Silent Night
The only thing more Balearic than this Sinead O'Connor version of "Silent Night" is this photo of DJ Harvey.
10. Cliff Richard – Millennium Prayer
And now, as the last dregs of my pill wear off, and I wander down through San Antonio, taking my shoes off as I press my toes into the sand, I find myself at Café Del Mar, and go to rest a while in a hammock. The sun begins to rise on another day in paradise, and Cliff Richard's prayer soothes my soul. Merry Christmas everyone, and a very Balearic New Year.