Ho ho ho, it’s Christmaaaaass!!! Didn’t you realise? Allow me to beat you over the head with it. There are many Christmas ‘standards’ you are bound to hear in department stores from November onwards, but I never quite understood why “The Power of Love” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood got lumped in with these.
Sure, the band capitalised on its December release at the time with a Nativity-themed video, but there’s nothing inherently Christmassy about the song aside from the wholesome idea of love banishing the darkness that sits well with Christmas. Either way there’s nothing to be done about it, it’s now a Christmas song.
UK department store John Lewis took their stand in the battlefield of Christmas commercials with glossy, wintery and sentimental postcards. These were soundtracked by acoustic covers of well known hits, sung by earnest young women, giving them a spooky festive edge.
After scoring a big career-reviving hit for Ellie Goulding after their use of her Elton John cover of “Your song” in 2010, the retail chain have tried to make it happen again. Specialist tea outlet Twinings scooped them last year though, with Charlene Soraia’s cover of The Calling’s “Wherever you will go” becoming a big hit.
This year they went all out for the sentimentality, picking “The Power of Love”, and another mournful female in the shape of Youtube star Gabrielle Aplin (who I’d personally never heard of). The result is actually pretty effective, and perfectly wintery radio fodder.
The public responded well to it, and it became a bit of a surprise No.1 last week. Her voice might not be particularly distinctive, and it comes off sounding like a great X-Factor performance. I think the acoustic setting does a lot of the legwork though, and gives a great reinterpretation on the familiar song.
I do wonder how many times they can carry on using this formula for their adverts; I suspect it’ll be as long as it still works. But for now there’s nothing wrong with an alternative to the age-old Christmas ‘classics’.