"All I Need For Christmas" by Levi WashingtonReview
By now you must have some inkling for what sort of things excite my interest: a marked preference for originality over the "much as we expected" and being happier taken by surprise than the reverse.
However, I am certain that in terms of breaking the conventions, I've never previously come across an artist releasing a Christmas single two days after Boxing Day: that is definitely thumbing a creative nose at the rules.
The artist in question is Levi Washington whose "All I Need For Christmas" is now available.
To be fair, it dates back (in terms of composition) as long ago as last week and in true Levi style (remember his campaign of weekly singles until his commitments running such a high proportion of local live events through his Phoenix Collective precluded that) it was written "…in a flash ..and produced …. in a morning…"
Surprisingly perhaps, given its short genesis & the intervention of the festive season, he managed to enlist the performance support of Joshua Rydell (on saxophone) and Hannah Rose Davies (who plays violin) so it sounds as a full arrangement suitable for the content, though it must be said that Levi is a master of the quick turnaround recording with eve his swiftest not sounding raw or demo quality.
One of the melancholy breed of Christmas songs, "All I Need For Christmas" is as classy as its provenance would suggest: think of George Michael level quality. Levi shares with that artist too a great knack of creating relatively sparse arrangements which let the song breathe (in this case it's a pretty icy breath) which nonetheless sound highly orchestrated: and in this case, as I said, there are only three musicians featured.
The song seeks to capture the feelings of the lonely & vulnerable, made more isolated by the insistencies of jollity around them. Sample lyrics include:
"Holding on when deep on down I know
The only way I'll live is to let go
Cos the cold it always blows this time of year
And when I get high there ain't no angels there
Would you care for me when I don't even care?
All I'll need for Christmas is a prayer"
Unfortunately, despite its originality, the song isn't eligible to be a contender as Christmas Number One for 2023, but it probably wouldn't pick up the numbers of sales & streams which songs which turn their backs on the disadvantaged & disenfranchised do. That Levi hasn't forgotten the central story of a refugee couple being repeatedly turned away before finding humble sanctuary and shaped his emotions in alignment with them is another reason to respect the song.
And where can you listen to it yourselves?
The answer is via this link: https://www.facebook.com/leviwashingtonmusic/videos/900844601215912