Take That star Robbie Williams has penned a Christmas song about celebrating amid the coronavirus pandemic. Can't Stop Christmas is the British singer's ode to the festive season, as the world grapples with continued global lockdowns and social distancing.
"Oh, what a miserable year," the song begins, as newspaper headline clippings fill the lyric video, flashing key words from 2020 such as "curfew", "lockdown", "virus" and "isolation".
Throughout the lyric video, there are visual nods to the year, with face masks, hand sanitiser, NHS nurses, Facetime and Zoom all referenced.
The song touches on the number of deaths from the virus with the line, "Sadly some friends disappeared," which critics have slammed for making light of the tragic deaths of the year.
Williams also alludes to the UK's lockdown rules and whether they will be lifted before the festive season, in the lyrics, "who's gonna decide / If we can do the Auld Lang Syne". The line references the Robert Burns poem set to folk music, which is traditionally sung at midnight on New Year's Eve.
There are lighter moments in the song, too. "Santa's on his sleigh / but now he's two metres away," he belts out in one particularly catchy line.
Williams, 46, manages to capture plenty of 2020's buzz-terms throughout the song. "So what are we to do / about your Facetimes and your Zooms?" he sings in the second verse. Later, he lays out his unexpectedly easy Christmas list: "If you're wondering what I'd like / Socks and sanitiser will do fine."
As the song comes to an end, a choir chimes in and sings, "Why oh why are we all waiting / The whole world anticipating / Beyond boredom past frustration / The planet's locked in what ifs and maybes," while the lyric video shows photos of a healthcare worker in PPE with animated angel wings.
Split reaction to 'Can’t Stop Christmas'
Naturally, the release has had a very divided reaction online.
"Normally love your work, but cashing in on people's misery the past year? I hope the royalties go to a worthwhile charity which helps the same affected people," wrote one commentator on Twitter. Another wrote: "People will want to forget about all what’s happened this year, we don’t need it ramming down our necks as song lyrics as well, bore off."
However, the song does have its fair share of fans.
"This makes me smile so much! 'Santa’s on his way and now he’s two metres away'. Thanks for making a clever, funny Xmas song out of this crazy year," one admirer wrote. While another kept it concise: "Brilliant song. Punchy and Christmassy!"
This is not the first time Williams has released Christmas music. In 2019, he released a two-disk festive album, The Christmas Present. The album included covers of classics, including Noddy Holder's Merry Xmas Everybody, Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), and original hits One Last Christmas, Merry Kissmas and Yeah! It's Christmas. Williams collaborated with a number of artists, including Rob Stewart, Bryan Adams and Jamie Cullum. Most curious, perhaps, is the song Bad Sharon, which features vocals from boxer, Tyson Fury.