Last week I had a quick chat with Malcolm Middleton for The Skinny magazine. The former Arab Strap man lamented the demise of the Christmas single, and explained why he has chosen to revitalise the tradition with the strangely upbeat We’re All Going to Die. Here’s what he had to say…
“We’re All Going to Die is my favourite song off A Brighter Beat [Malcolm’s third solo album, released earlier this year] and I’d always really planned it to be the first song to come off it but that didn’t really happen. And then I wanted it to come out now but it got tied up with people at the record label saying it should be a Christmas song. To me it was a bit confusing at first but then I thought, ‘why the Hell not?’ It’s as good a time as any to think about mortality.
“I’m not sure if the Christmas single has lost its relevance or if it’s just nostalgia but I remember in the 80s I was always really excited about what songs were gonna get released at this time of year, and you always knew Slade were gonna release their song. But the last couple of years especially it’s just become an X-Factor thing and you
don’t look forward to the Christmas single anymore, and now Top of the Pops is dead too.
“Everyone knows how bad Christmas has become commercially, it’s beyond saturation. But there are still nice elements, like walking down the city centre in late December and seeing the decorations.
“The whole thing’s humourous. I’m not trying to release a song that’s too serious. The message is to forget the small stuff and don’t let it get on top of you, and remember what’s important.
“At the moment I’m in Mercury, the rehearsing studios in Glasgow, so there are like bands playing all over the place. We’re rehearsing for the Radio 1 thing now, just trying to think of ideas for an alternative Christmas session. It’s good they’re doing something a bit more leftfield instead of the usual blandness.
“It was 1000/1 [the longest ever odds for a Christmas single] and then someone called today and said it’s 500/1, as if that’s gonna make any difference. I’ve never been to a betting office before so I wouldn’t know what to do but I might try putting a bet on.
“To have the longest ever odds for the Christmas number one is good and bad: it’s good that it’s something that hasn’t happened before, but then I thought, ‘wait a minute, why is it the longest odds?’ It’s not your ordinary Christmas single but yeah it’s funny.
“I don’t see it making the chart at all but it’s all about having an option there for people and making a bit of an effort.”
We’re All Going to Die is released on 17 Dec. Malcolm Middleton will play an alternative Christmas session on the Colin Murray show on Radio 1 on the same day.
You can listen to the song on Malcolm’s myspace.