I’ve been following Sheffield’s Early Cartographers‘ Christmas single creation on Facebook for a while now, awaiting its debut. From tweets that I’ve seen, I knew it was going to be a bit of tearjerker. Indeed, “What Will You Open? (An Invitation to Christmas),” walks amongst those songs that ponder the meaning of it all… let them explain:
This song is an invitation to Christmas. It was written by a notorious grinch and attempts to take into consideration those who find Christmas a difficult time to stomach, whether that be due to apathy, unhappy memories, poverty, disillusionment or social anxiety.
I know that St. Etienne has recently sparked a discussion amongst my fellow indie Christmas brothers and sisters with their suggestion that Christmas songs must be “pro-Christmas.” I think that is far too simplistic an approach for what can be a very complicated time of year. If any of you have seen the excellent documentary Jingle Bell Rocks!, you’ll see that Mitchell’s love of Christmas music was forged by hearing a song that wasn’t all jingle bells and tinsel, Nat King Cole’s “The Boy the Santa Claus Forgot.” In that song, he discovered that he wasn’t alone with his conflicted feelings toward Christmas, and through that relationship, has embraced the holiday for everything that it truly is, not simply the “joy.”
“What Will You Open” is one of those songs that spark contemplation, and I appreciate this. I don’t want every song to be Christmas-party appropriate; Some songs need to tug and poke at your emotions to bring balance to the season. I think it’s all too appropriate that such a song would also be benefiting HARC (Homeless and Rootless at Christmas). Christmas isn’t Christmas for everyone, but throw a few bucks toward a great Christmas song and a worthy cause, and you’ll be a bit closer to making this Christmas a little brighter.
Bottom Line: Gorgeous instrumentation, thoughtful sentiment and a worthy cause make this Early Cartographers track well worth the wait.