As Christmas albums go, they’re generally like the bubble n squeak of Boxing Day – nothing spectacular no matter how you zhuzh it up.
Still, earworms of white christmas’, mistletoe, warm fuzzy feelings and family are what we crave, so Magne Furuholmen turns that upside down with his pensive ‘White Xmas Lies’.
Here Magne focus’ on loneliness, empty relationships, false promises and lack of hope.
For saying the church bells sing and jingle bells ring in ‘The Light We Lost’, never once do you hear Magne utter the words Merry Christmas or Happy New Year, in fact not throughout the entire album!
It’s as though White Xmas Lies was made for a Dickensian era – grey, dank, moody and quite frankly we ask ‘Does he know it’s Christmas’?
But, there’s method in the ‘Mag-ness’, and this is where the genius mind sets in. Let’s pause for conceptual thought here – for every couple in celebratory mood at Christmas, somewhere, a couple are just going through the motions of the day, as told in ‘A Wintry Silence’ and ‘Snow is Falling’. For everyone in a loving relationship, someone, somewhere is feeling lost and lonely but accepting that things are over – ‘There Goes Another Year’ and ‘The Light We Lost’.
We find comedic value in ‘Punch-Up On Boxing Day’ as Magne sings “…the in-laws have come to stay, it’s a punch-up on boxing day…when all the games are over…none of us are sober, then boxing day has come…” you just can’t help but smile at the true fact, there is usually an argument or two at Christmas. The same truth is found in title song ‘White Xmas Lies’ in which we hear how everyone makes false promises on keeping in touch with family and friends, “…we sing cheesy songs and pretend that we all belong…we lie and pretend that nothing will come between us…white xmas lie…” – just how many of us are guilty?
But while the album on a whole is somber, we find nuggets like ‘Caprice des dieux’ and while there’s nothing cheesy about this song, you’ll find, through poetic licence, it’s a call to faith, baptism and hope; “…a clarion call from up above to sink below the waterline, and save another lover of the drowning kind…” the theme of faith re-occurring in ‘Differences’.
So White Xmas Lies isn’t the sort of album to play while having a festive knees-up, No, it’s more for contemplation at any time of year, when you need a moment to reflect on your circumstances and to perhaps give thanks as well as charity and compassion to others.
White Xmas Lies by Magne Furuholmen is out today.