2015 Musical Advent Calendar: One More Sleep

I’ve been wanting to do this one for a while, but I hadn’t sat down to give it a chance, so you got Coldplay and Colbie instead. But no more! Today’s tiny little musical door opens up on Leona Lewis and her 2013 song “One More Sleep.”

This song is delightful. It’s immediately Christmassy (seriously, there’s a reason why I include “does it have bells” among my criteria), but it’s clearly her song. My only conscious exposure to Lewis’ work is “Bleeding Love,” a good song that suffered from unfortunate overplay back in 2007, but her distinctive style is brought to bear quite well here. That’s a balance contemporary performers seem to have trouble with, but Lewis nails it.

This song is a curative for the dead-eyed, seemingly mandatory Christmas offerings we so frequently have to suffer through. It’s well aware of its influences while still being a fresh thing – there’s clear indebtedness to Mariah (whose own song autoplayed after this on YouTube), and the refrain …

I’ve got 5 more nights of sleeping on my own
4 more days until you’re coming home
3 more dreams of you and mistletoe
2 more reasons why I love you so

… feels like a callback to “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” The video itself is all scarves and sweaters and wood paneling, and that’s as it should be. This is a song that’s well aware of classic Christmas elements – there’s a snowball fight, for God’s sake – while not being a checklist. It’s referential, not cliched, and that’s the sweet spot for this kind of thing.

Wasn’t that just great? But how does it stack up?

  1. Does it mention Christmas by name? “My baby’s coming home for Christmas … one more sleep until it’s Christmas.” It’s kind of the point.
  2. Are there bells in it? Yes. In addition to the sleigh bells, there’s this great repeated bong-bong-bong in the chorus that feels like a callback to churchier holiday music.
  3. Is it jolly? Well, truthfully it’s more “festive” than “jolly,” but that’s close enough that I’ll allow it.

Ten days in, and we’re back to good musical territory. As always, you can check out the full list here, and feel free to hit me up with your suggestions in the comments or on Twitter at @thebobthe.

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