Welcome all to 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿, a series of weekly reviews by Charles Connolly - an artist in his own right. Here, Charles delves into the greatest brand new singles brought to you by the best unsigned artists on our electrifying and eclectic set of 𝙉𝙚𝙬 𝘼𝙧𝙩𝙞𝙨𝙩 𝙎𝙥𝙤𝙩𝙡𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 playlists.
𝙋𝙧𝙚𝙨𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙨 - 𝙎𝙖𝙗𝙧𝙞𝙣𝙖 𝘽𝙖𝙧𝙧𝙚𝙩𝙤
Charles realises what Christmas is all about…
The most special time of year is upon us, whether you like it or not - you’re a right Scrooge if you don’t. Whether you’re a Bible basher or simply a lover of niceness and good times, Christmas is and will always be something special to most of us. A light dusting of snow on the ground, the twinkling of stars in the night sky. Distant carol singers from around the corner. Sure this may not be the case in actuality, but it is present in our hearts. The FEELING of Christmas. All warm and fuzzy. That cosiness that differs from duvet-cosiness. The time for family and cheer. The time for merriment and a kind of chaos that just doesn’t matter and instead makes you laugh. Even in the whitest of modern minimalist rooms, gaudy colourful decorations will adorn the mantelpiece and of course the vital tree. Those who feel that Christmas ornaments should be white and tasteful, I feel have maybe missed the point of Christmas. It is not to blend in with its cold, austere surroundings, but to make one feel like it used to in the old days. A feeling of fondness and warmth. A feeling of peace in a simpler time. Speaking of trees… That smell!!! There is nothing quite like it to bring out the festive mood. The twinkling fairy lights only add to the excitement. It is also the time to bring out the old Christmas records. Seemingly the only time these days when music is allowed to be both popular and old. What’s your favourite kind of Christmas music? Choirs? Carols? Sinatra? Perhaps it’s all that wonderful pop stuff made famous by the “Now That’s What I Call Music - Christmas Album” from the 80s - at least in Britain anyway. Maybe you have a secret penchant for one of the Streisand Christmas albums? Weirdly, I personally like it all! As soon as the calendar clicks into December, I listen to little else - aside from new releases from the New Artist Spotlight, of course.
There are just so many things to enjoy at Christmas. Think of the family getting together, which sometimes only happens just that one time per year - pandemic permitting, of course. Then there’s the food - oh the FOOD!! Fancy a tipple? Don’t mind if I do, I do, I do, I DO!! Sorry, we tend to have more than one. But what is your favourite thing at this time of year? What is the overriding number one most important factor that makes Christmas, Christmas…? Simple. Easy. Of course! It can only be one thing. PRESENTS!!!!!!!
May I present to you, a girl whose presence presents us with Presents - please welcome our youngest member, Miss Sabrina Barreto! Our young starlet has been brilliant once again, having already been reviewed in my Corner not too long ago. Sabrina is frankly never to be ignored. I am tempted to review almost every single one of her singles, which she releases frequently. Who would have thought that our youngest member - her 14th birthday was yesterday (!) - could be one of our greatest artists on the New Artist Spotlight…? Not I, for one. But I cannot keep reviewing her, for it would just not be fair on the other fabulously talented artists in the group. I have however made an exception this time because of the season. Over the month of December I have been curating the official NAS Christmas playlist and it has been a storming success! I have been astounded by the variety and quality that this group has submitted to the playlist over the days and weeks since it went live. There are of course many covers of classics that we know and love, and there have been some wonderful originals. But I have to say, the original that really stood out to me was Sabrina’s Presents.
This song has just EVERYTHING that a modern (yet traditional) Christmas song should have. And it still manages to be original! Even the title; it’s so perfect and refreshing for a young girl to take a different approach and be utterly honest! Let’s face it, children and teenagers want presents more than anything else at Christmas. It is only natural. Are presents superficial unimportant nonsense? Not to the young! And why NOT?! I remember how excited I was, waking up on Christmas morning, knowing that within a few hours all that perfectly wrapped beauty was going to be torn asunder. Each gift ripped raw from its cosy festive coat. Children can be savage sometimes. But let’s get on to the music. Sabrina writes all her songs with her co-writer, Anthony Wright. It’s a perfect partnership, going by the final product. We are flung into the song with a simple piano octave motif, finger clicks and a jaunty swing! Within seconds, Sabrina gets the spotlight and astounds us with a voice that is so way above her age, in terms of tone, depth, confidence and skill. She sings of all the lovely things we associate with Christmas - that cosy spirit. All that love!! The coolest little pre-chorus makes us think twice about what she really feels about Christmas… And then BAM! That perfect pop chorus - She wants presents! Lots and lots of presents! Honesty rides high in her household, and frankly that makes me smile. She soars into this chorus with gusto and determination, really starting to sound uncannily like Taylor Swift’s in her earlier days - when she was still fun. But what makes Sabrina different, is that it is so utterly believable. It is so perfect that a really young girl is singing about wanting presents. The tight swing of the kick and snare really propel the song and give it great momentum, and the bells in between each of Sabrina’s lines just perfectly capture “that Christmas thang”, before sinking back into the following verse. As we move through the (less than 3 minute) song, the music allows our singer to really be the star of the show. She doesn’t just sing the same melody again with subtly different words - no NO! She rises in melody for variation, and adds more humour in the lyrics. There is the feeling of a huge cheeky wink throughout. It’s just such a clever song! Rather envious of it, if I must be honest. And honest, I must be! After our final ear-worm of a chorus and another tremendously catchy section directly afterwards, we have the final coda: hilarious the first time, so fond and cheeky thereafter. You’ll have to listen to hear what I’m talking about. Just brilliant!
Most importantly though, this song put a big fat smile on my face from the very first time I heard it. And THAT is what Christmas is all about. I am sure Sabrina will get all the presents she asked for, plus a few more that she didn’t know she “needed”.
I won’t do my little amusing sign-off this time, but will just simply wish you all a very Merry Christmas. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do!
(there is little I wouldn’t do)
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