It’s been a long time since we had a new Christmas film to add to the pile of classics that must be watched every year. This year Last Christmas, a film based around the hits of George Michael and Wham!, starring Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) and Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians) is aiming to become a festive staple for years to come. Written by Emma Thompson, who also stars, and Bryony Kimmings, the film is directed by Paul Feig and has been receiving a very mixed reaction from critics and audiences. One thing that hasn’t been disputed is the soundtrack which features 15 songs from George Michael and Wham!, one of which had never been released until now.
Whether you see the film or not is irrelevant to whether or not you’ll enjoy the soundtrack. Essentially a greatest hits collection, if you like George Michael (and Wham! of course) then you’ll enjoy what’s on offer here. Presented in a gatefold cover, the vinyl features imagery from the film but the sleeves that hold the two records have pictures of George Michael and Wham!, which is a nice touch. It’s a 180-gram release too so the quality is superb from start to finish.
Last Christmas opens with the song of the same name and it doesn’t take long until the goosebumps arrive. There really was no one else like George Michael in music and there never will be. He possessed a voice that had such depth and emotion that even when he was singing some of his more throwaway tracks, you still felt moved by him. Last Christmas is a classic, and a contender for number one this Christmas, and it’s easily one of the best modern festive songs. Once you get past that one, the rest of the album is a mix of well-known and some lesser known songs. From Wham! you get Last Christmas, Wake Me Up Before You Go Go and Everything She Wants, all of which are fantastic pop songs.
From George’s solo work there’s a real mish-mash of songs. Classics such as Too Funky, Praying For Time (included as studio and live versions), Faith and Freedom! ’90. I was pleased to see Fastlove, Pt. 1 included on the soundtrack as it was one of George’s finest songs from the 90s when he experienced a resurgence in popularity. Of the more surprising inclusions there’s Fantasy, a song originally released in 1990 as the B-side of Waiting For That Day, that went on to be reworked for Listen Without Prejudice / MTV Unplugged, and Heal the Pain, which was a very minor hit for George.
The big pull for the soundtrack is unreleased song This Is How (We Want You To Get High), which is the final song included here. It’s nice to hear some material from George that we haven’t heard before. It’s not one of his best, with a processed vocal in parts that detracts from George’s usually soulful tone. The song fits nicely here and it gives the end of the soundtrack and uptempo dance moment.
Whether or not audiences are loving Last Christmas in cinemas, this soundtrack should get plenty of attention. It’s a whistlestop tour of George Michael’s remarkable career and there’s no doubt he had a lasting impact on music. Had his life not been cut short, he would have made plenty more music to add to his legacy. At least we’ll always have these songs and Last Christmas is a concise history of the iconic star’s long-lasting legacy.
Track list: Side A – 1. Last Christmas – Wham! 2. Too Funky 3. Fantasy 4. Praying for Time Side B – 1. Faith 2. Waiting for That Day 3. Heal the Pain 4. One More Try Side C – 1. Fastlove, Pt. 1 2. Everything She Wants – Wham! 3. Wake Me up Before You Go-Go – Wham! 4. Move On Side D – 1. Freedom! ’90 2. Praying for Time (Live) 3. This Is How (We Want You to Get High) Record label: Sony Music CMG Release date: 15th November 2019 Buy Last Christmas