George Michael & Wham!: Last Christmas – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Posted December 24, 2019 by in Pop



3.5/ 5


Genre: Pop
Producer: George Michael, James Jackman
Label: Sony Music Entertainment
Format: Digital, compact disc, streaming
Time: 71:56
Release Date: 8 November 2019
Spin This: "Praying for Time," "This Is How (We Want to Get You High"), "Last Christmas"


You can play this year round, since it serves as a mini greatest hits collection, plus rarities


All the hits aren't there, of course. And it's quite impossible to toss into a single disc anyway. Plus, much of the music isn't exactly holiday-esque. "December Song" didn't even make the list

A holiday film gets whammed with the music of George Michael

by J Matthew Cobb
Full Article

A holiday film gets whammed with the music of George Michael

george-michael-02You honestly can’t go wrong with a soundtrack full of George Michael music.

The late pop legend gets the royal treatment thanks to a David Livingstone-produced film that bears the name of one of his iconic evergreens — the Wham!-era “Last Christmas.” And yes, this is one of those Hallmark-esque holiday melodramas that somehow squeezed its way to the big screen.

But we’re not reviewing the film, folks. Especially since our Curious George has no real control over how it was engineered. And actually, he had no control over this musical assembly, which combines Wham, solo works, and even a few surprises. But it’s only fair to look at this offering for what it is: 1) a motion picture soundtrack 2) a greatest hits collection.

As the latter, especially since the music of Michael hasn’t been packaged into a single disc affair, it is definitely missing a good chunk of the good stuff. But in the arena of mood music for this holiday film and avoiding the sociopolitical ferocity and naughty bedroom lust, it walks a thin line to nab the accessible, the feelgood moments of Michael’s career. Songs like the sentimentally charged “Waiting for That Day,” the karaoke cheese of “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” the acclaimed pop of “Freedom! ‘90” and the easy rock ‘n gospel of “Faith” are all aboard, so is “Praying for Time,” which fits well lyrically with the holiday hustle and bustle (“These are the days of the empty hand/Oh you hold on to what you can/And charity is a coat you wear twice a year”). The disc also unloads a moving live version of this from Michael’s MTV Unplugged session.

The compilation does play with some of Michael’s cheeky sides. An edit of the silky ‘80’s soul of “Everything She Wants” and the funky urban sounds of “Fastlove” highlights the second half, while “Too Funky” — infamously remembered by its concept video bearing supermodel royalty — stirs up the early minutes of the disc. And hearing “One More Try,” Michael’s modern-day attempt at making Aretha’s “Ain’t No Way,” always is a good idea, possibly his greatest vocal performance on record. Still, the curious ear will be seeking out “This Is How (We Want You to Get High),” a previously unreleased track recorded in 2013. It’s a good voiced Michael, echoing emotions with an Enrique Iglesias sex appeal. And despite some of the darker content (critiquing imperfect parents, singing about trying “to get my shit together”), he’s warmly bundled inside the infectious acoustic guitar and mild funk percussion. It’s not a total knockout, but a sweet addition anyhow.

But don’t make a mistake about it; this isn’t a holiday album. Yes, “Last Christmas” opens the set and “Move On” bears a rhythmic hustle reminiscent of Vince Guaraldi’s Charlie Brown work, but Wham nor Michael did holiday music regularly. And even Michael’s alluring “December Song (I Dreamed of Christmas)” or its B-side “Jingle (A Musical Interlude)” didn’t make the list. So if you’re unraveling the plastic from this disc with the hopes for a little jingle bell rock from the “I Want Your Sex” icon, you’re not gonna get it.


About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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