If you’re facing Christmas with a vague sense of doom, LABARA has the holiday song for you with “Toys on Xmas Day (What Ever Happened To).” This self-styled “radioactive bedroom pop” delivers an Elvis Costello vibe that puts familiar holiday tropes through a blender of psychedelic distortion.
Listen here. Right now. But keep reading.
The arc of the song turns out surprisingly cheerful because it demands little and delivers much. On the one hand, your brain’s getting all the aural sparkle of traditional holiday songs. On the other hand, everything else about the song sympathizes with being tired, wired, and uninspired.
The key line—”what ever happened to toys on Xmas Day?”—turns out to be an interesting question to ponder. Very little in grown-up Christmas is geared toward being surprised with something delightful that’s intended for pure imaginative play. We’ve got cooking to do, work hours to fill, parties to put on for other people, practical gifts on the list. What would be your “toys” on a perfect Christmas Day?
After you put down your dollar for this ditty on Bandcamp, check out LABARA’s video for “Talking to Ghosts (Who Don’t Believe in Me).”
My family’s tradition was a small creative gift on Christmas Eve, so this year, Santa (via the USPS) is bringing me an entry-level fountain pen. Oh, and some new (vintage) friends for my working-class 1:24 houses.