One of my favorite Christmas albums is a little EP that Low released back in 1999. It collected eight Christmas traditionals and classics and rendered them in the trio’s inimitable style: hushed, solemn, and reverent. For example:
Now, seventeen years later, Low have released a new Christmas song titled “Some Hearts (at Christmas Time)” with this message:
To friends who have moved away and friends who have passed on this year. To one and all, especially those who are alone, we wish you a Merry Christmas and new hope for the new year. May we all find ways to lift each other.
As is Low’s wont, “Some Hearts (at Christmas Time)” is a soft, hushed affair full of plucked guitars and swirling, ambient sounds. Mimi Parker takes the lead here, and her voice has rarely been lovelier as she sings “Some hearts will break at Christmas time/Our hearts are made to hope, to find.”
As is the case with many of Low’s songs, the lyrics are cryptic and open to interpretation. A rejection of what Christmas has come to represent? A simple acknowledgement of the loneliness many feel during the holidays? Yes and yes, probably, and more.
On a related note, Low is currently doing a series of Christmas concerts throughout the UK and Ireland, where they’ll likely perform “Some Hearts (at Christmas Time)” alongside some of their earlier Yuletide compositions.