It’s been a weird year; a year of cancelled plans, health scares and quarantine hobbies.
There’s a sense of collective amnesia, of 12 months wasted – we’ve been forced to be idle inside to save lives after all. So as Christmas brings us into the last weeks of 2020, one festive song aptly sums up a sense of relief and a question on all our minds: what the hell did we do all year?
Enter A Christmas Lament (Oh Shit It’s Christmastime Again) by David Schembri – an existential holiday tune that perfectly places all the feelings we have towards 2020.
“Like many people, I start off the new year with a bit of a hangover and the best of plans to make the new year my year.”
“But then life – work, relationships, health – and external circumstances take over and before you know it, it’s November and people are already putting Christmas lights out,” 33-year-old musician David Schembri explained to Lovin Malta.
And in effect, Christmas time also signifies the end of the year, he continued, as if the lights are saying “Game Over” for the year in question.
So once again, Christmas comes with cues for festive joy, but also a yearly reminder of unkept promises and plans.
“Around the onset of yet another Christmas season, four to five years prior, the line “Oh shit it’s Christmas time again” came to me because it was really what I felt,” Schembri continued.
However, he postponed recording the haunting lyrics, because it always felt wrong to sing about Christmas time when it wasn’t the season to.
This November, in light of the turbulent year, he felt it was finally time.
The result is a tune akin to any festive song at first listen: the guitars reminiscent of childhood Christmas carols, layered with folky synth line, a soft Tamborine and echoing harmonic vocals.
Schembri’s simple yet punchy lyrics are what makes it a perfect ode to the year gone by.
Oh shit, it’s Christmastime again!
What have I done for the past year?
Twelve more months gone by,
And I’m still wasting time.
So can we put those Christmas lights away?
How is it Christmastime again?
Lost seconds fly and turn to days.
Our lives slip away
If we don’t do today
The things we love, and live our lives with love.
As the musician sums up nicely, it’s a “heartwarming Christmas song about mortality.”
“It is not so much that I have a problem with Christmas – it’s always been very dear to me – but rather with time itself. One of the healthiest things a person can do is to remember that they’re going to die one day, and that increases the urgency to live our lives the best we can.”
A Christmas Lament (Oh Shit It’s Christmastime Again) was written, performed and produced by David Schembri. It was mixed and mastered by Berlin-based producer Jim Hickey.
Buy it for your existential friends this Christmas on Bandcamp here.
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