Another year, another John Christmas advert. When the festive period hits, the British public waits in anticipation to see just what the department store will do next. In the past, we’ve been treated to animals waking up from hibernation in time for Christmas, a lonely man on the moon, even a long lost snowman couple, all set to a festive cover from the likes of Tom Odell, Lily Allen, Gabrielle Aplin, to name but a few. This year sees the turn of electronica trio, VAULTS.
The band have released a cover of Randy Crawford’s ‘One Day I’ll Fly Away’, which many will also associate with Nicole Kidman’s portrayal of Satine in Moulin Rouge. The beauty of a John Lewis advert is that the song in question is never actually a Christmas song, rather a ‘normal’ yet highly emotive track which usually helps tell the advert’s story. VAULTS pull off their cover beautifully and do more than many in the past have done for their John Lewis cover: they truly make the song their own. Compared to past efforts, the track sounds like their own, original number. Blythe Pepino’s ethereal vocals are highly affecting, and combined with the orchestral elements of the track, ‘One Day’ is a sumptuous, festive gift.
‘One Day I’ll Fly Away’ is pretty apt a choice, not only for Buster the Boxer, the star of the advert, but also for the entire year. 2016 has been a very long year filled with atrocities, political scandal, even the loss of The Great British Bake Off from the BBC (I’m still in mourning). Therefore I’m sure I speak for many when I say that the urge to fly away and have a break from 2016 would do us all some good. Well, a break from Donald Trump and Brexit, at the very least. After last year’s use of Oasis’ ‘Half the World Away’ to soundtrack the lonely man on the moon’s advert, it seems John Lewis felt the need to make their campaign a bit more happy and care-free. I’m not so sure the British public agreed, many expressing sadness that the advert did not make them cry like usual, a typically British complaint. However, coupling this melancholic track with such a happy, bouncing dog seems a little odd.
As a separate entity, VAULTS’ single is one of the best covers John Lewis has commissioned for its Christmas campaign in a long time, especially in comparison to Tom Odell’s saccharine rendition of John Lennon’s ‘Real Love’ soundtracking Monty the Penguin’s love story back in 2014. The trio have really done a fine job of making Crawford’s track into something so festive, and their fine execution of it really brings to the fore the idea of escaping reality and ‘[leaving] all this to yesterday’. Perhaps Christmas day is the day we all fly away for a while? Put this song on repeat, pass the mulled wine and chocolates, and I certainly will.
[Originally written for Redbrick]
Image credit: The Independent