Christmas songs exist to bring a warm, fuzzy feeling in your tummy.
They are there to be played as you bustle about your socially distanced Christmas shopping, or try to get the Christmas tree lights to look just slighty even.
They are the same songs drunkenly sung arm-in-arm on festive nights out, as play in the background when the children open presents on Christmas morning.
They’re not the works of The Smiths or Bob Dylan. (Apart from this classic by Bob Dylan.) They’re not meant to be listened to.
I mean, really listened to.
What IS Last Christmas about if you do actually stop midway round Poundland and have a good listen to it.
Beautiful. What a gift to give.
But hold on, there are two sides to every story. It is easy to cast aspersions; let us look at this from the woman’s point of view.
There she was, celebrating Christmas with George Michael from the already massive band Wham.
She knew a break-up this close to the big day would get out in the papers. No, she hung on in there to save him from tears; something he’d later claim that he could do perfectly well on his own, thank you very much.
Last Christmas, sprawled next to an open fire with George (in itself a hazard given how much hairspray was used in his 80s do), this selfless woman sacrificed her own Christmas Day so that all of Wham – Andrew Ridgeley, Pepsi AND Shirley – could enjoy theirs without being doorstepped.
Heartless? Or heartFULL?
Yes, she potentially ruined the rest of the holiday by giving away George’s heart on Boxing Day; at least she had the good spirit to not waste a turkey or ruin The Queen’s Speech.
So that was the eventful day of Last Christmas. December 1983.
Fast forward to December 1984, the year Last Christmas was released and 12 months after the gifting of organs.
George is spending Christmas at a log cabin with Wham and a selection of friends.
It’s the perfect setting. Unless… Uh-oh. His ex is there.
And she is now going out with…
… ANDREW RIDGELEY FROM WHAM!
(What we see a year on may go some way to explaining why the song was written and produced solely by George Michael, who also played all the instruments; what a way for Andrew to find out.)
Of course she recognises you George Michael. Of course she does.
She is dating Andrew Ridgeley from Wham who was the only other person in Wham when she was dating you, George Michael from Wham, this time last year.
You have dominated the charts, magazines, newspapers, and Top of the Pops episodes for the best part of the year that followed your break-up; not to mention the months leading up to it.
You have a solo part on “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” which will become Christmas number 1 in 1984, leaving your nostalgic lament to sit at number two. (The Band Aid song released to raise money for the Ethiopian famine relief, which Wham also gave all proceeds from Last Christmas to.)
A lot can happen in a year; more so if you’ve become one of the biggest selling artists on the planet and one half of the most iconic duos of the decade, the other half of whom is now your ex’s boyfriend.
“Do you recognise me?”
She can’t very well not, can she George Michael, best friend of Andrew Ridgeley.
For George, pained with anguish at the sight of his former love across the room with his now best mate, the memories of last year’s festive getaway flood back:
Yes, it sounds romantic. It sounds like this cruel, opportunistic woman was blatantly leading a smitten George on, only there for an all-expenses paid ski-ing holiday and the hope of an eggnog with Princess Di.
But look at what he did.
As everyone else was at home unwrapping their socks and Terry’s chocolate oranges, she sat patiently on a rug… her hands soaked with the dripping blood of a gifted heart THAT CLEARLY WASN’T HIS.
Not only had she been given someone or something’s actual heart but she’d also been lied to by this pop star who, unless he defied biology, still clearly had his own heart tucked away inside his very festive jumper.
I doubt she gave it away as much as binned it with the giblets.
Still, there she is now: across a crowded room filled with friends who all have tired eyes.
Of course, the whole message of the song is that he has moved on. He is over it:
See. He does not need that woman, nor her lack of gratitude. Andrew is welcome to her.
12 months on and he finally has someone who genuinely cares for him.
Oh George! Stop being so obvious!
You couldn’t hide the implied suggestion any more thinly if you’d smothered it with a flopping fortune telling fish from a Christmas Cracker.
And what about George’s new love who is bound to hear the song many times over on the radio. (Unless she is the world’s greatest Whammageddon player.)
She has just found out that not only is her new boyfriend still in love with his ex, but…
…this year, to save him from tears, she’s going to get a bloody mass of dripping offal thrust into her unsuspecting hands which, again, IS NOT HIS OWN HEART!
Oh, it’s just all such a mess. In more ways than one.
Still, good song though isn’t it?
(Watch the video and stare in disbelief at the situation George finds himself in here.)