The annual get so and so to Christmas Number One, has become almost as big a tradition as turkey or drunk argumentative relatives. Ever since the Rage Against the Machine campaign knocked Cowell and co off of the top spot, it has become somewhat fashionable to push an alternative band towards the top of the charts. This year the always wonderful Iron Maiden are the chosen band. Now quite frankly, I would love Iron Maiden to get only their second UK number one single, they damn well deserve it, but do we really need to care about Christmas Number One?
There was maybe a time where being Christmas Number One meant something. If you look back through the number ones throughout the years, people like The Beatles, Queen, Michael Jackson and Pink Floyd have held the top spot over the Christmas period. However, around about 1996 everything changes. The Spice Girls come in and since then, Rage Against the Machine and a couple of charity singles aside, the top spot has been taken a hold of by a collection of some of the worst music known to man. If anyone some day wishes to torture me, it’s a playlist that might do a decent job. But do I care? No.
Now there was a good article on Team Rock talking about why we should care, you can find it here. I want to put that there to show the other sign of the fence, to show that there maybe is a reason to do these campaigns. However, I just can’t get behind them. It’s the same reason I don’t care that prizes like the Mercury Award routinely ignoring metal bands, it is not our world. Do I wish heavy metal was mainstream? Sometimes, usually when I’ve been dragged along to a shitty club pumping out crap music that I really don’t want to listen to. Around about 1 in the morning I truly wish that the world listened to heavy metal. The rest of the time, I am happy that it just belongs to me and other people like me. Because here’s the thing. If heavy metal becomes the mainstream, all those twats you see in these clubs. All those bellends that go and see Calvin Harris or whoever else is big at the moment, will turn up at the metal concerts. They’ll follow the trend and suddenly that wonderful world we have created is under jeopardy.
Now I’m not saying getting to Christmas Number One would make that happen, of course it wouldn’t. What I am saying is that the world of heavy metal does not need to be praised by the mainstream. It doesn’t need to prove a point to the mainstream. It can continue on by itself and quite frankly be better off for it. If people want to listen to the X Factor over Christmas then so be it, it’s them I feel sorry for. I still have my Iron Maiden records and I don’t need much more than that.
The flip side is of course that it is making a stand. That by getting this band to Christmas Number One we are telling X Factor and the likes that we don’t care about their music. But it’s not really is it? It’s telling them on one week of the year we will make a stand. The rest of the year, well then we don’t care. Do you think anything but Simon Cowell’s ego is effected by the Christmas Number One charts? Of course not. Because for the rest of the year if he wants to create a number one hit he can. You want to really piss him off? Go out and buy the bands albums you love every week of the year, not just on Christmas. The way you make a change in the music industry is by supporting up and coming bands, as much as I love Maiden and I’m sure their next album will be great, they’re not the future. What’s more exciting is bands like Avenged Sevenfold getting number ones. Even someone like Royal Blood, who I personally don’t particularly get, doing so, because that points towards a change in the wider public’s listening habits, not just a Facebook groups.
If Iron Maiden get to Christmas Number One then I will probably be happy about it. In fact scrap that, I will definitely be happy about it. I love Maiden and nothing I say in this article changes that. However, it won’t change anything. Simon Cowell will still be filthy rich and the X Factor will be back next year to piss us all off. If we really want to make metal cool again, which I have kind of argued we shouldn’t, we have to do this every week, every year, not just at Christmas.