Scientists have just engineered the perfect Christmas song
You'll hate how much you love it
While many of us maintain that Mariah Carey's 'All I Want For Christmas Is You' is the ultimate Christmas song, musicologists have just informed the public that we are wrong—it actually contains 0.34 too few mentions of snow. What about something a bit more classic like The Pogues' 'Fairytale Of New York'? Unfortunately its average BPM is far too low. Okay, Slade's 'Merry Xmas Everybody,' has a higher BPM and it mentions snow, but it doesn't reference peace, love or home!
If your world—or your Christmas playlist—is crumbling around you, there's science to help break the fall. According to NME, musicologist Dr Joe Bennett from the Boston Conservatory at Berkley, USA, analysed 200 Christmas songs for tempo, lyrics, vocals and key and determined a scientific recipe of sounds that are sure to imbue humans with the holly jolly spirit. The requirements are a major key, a tempo of 115 BPM, mentions of snow, home, peace, love, and Santa and sleigh bells in the chorus. You also need exactly 21 mentions of the word ‘Christmas.'
To test the data out, Bennett asked songwriters Harriet Green and Steve Anderson, along with the London Community Gospel Choir, to create the "happiest Christmas song" possible. The result is 'Love's Not Just For Christmas,' which sounds like a million songs you've heard before, and yet it's completely new.
Bennett admits that "There is no simple formula for a successful song," and that songs are always crafted from personal experience, preference, and skill, but he is confident that, through analyzing recordings, it's possible to find out people's favorite song characteristics and recreate them.
It's hard to deny, and only slightly infuriating, that the composers and choir have done such a fantastic job at crafting a very happy and festive song that mixes the old with the new. Could it be a fresh classic that we'll be singing years from now?
What's more worrying is that the formula is out in the world, meaning there's a good chance we'll be hearing a lot more holiday songs with exactly 21 mentions of Christmas.