Christmas, for most, is seen as a time of joy and celebration. We hang up our decorations as the Christmas lights sparkle, busily sorting out last-minute gifts for those that we love. However, the holiday period is a hard time for many, for varying reasons.
Loneliest Time of the Year (2019) highlights these reasons both delicately, as well as boldly, helping those who aren’t buzzing with “Christmas spirit” to feel seen and validated. The single may have been released in 2019 but its message rings true, timelessly.
Loneliest Time of Year is the Christmas release of slightly slept-on “cool” artist, Mabel. When you think of Mabel, you may remember a number of her dance floor hits such as Tiësto collab, God Is A Dancer (2019), which climbed the charts and became the soundtrack to many a club night.
Although Loneliest Time of Year never reached the same level of popularity, I believe that it’s a must-listen for everyone during the holiday season. The Christmas music scene for a large part appears to blend into homogeneity: everything is upbeat, cheerful, and often materialistic. But this track, for all the right reasons, stands out.
“Sorry I’m not so merry / but I feel like this yearly / Christmas time isn’t my vibe / brings no joy into my life”
Loneliest Time of Year starts off by addressing what appears to be Mabel’s feelings during the holiday season, singing ‘Christmas time isn’t my vibe / brings no joy into my life’. This line is accompanied in the music video by a long shot of her staring absently from her window, alone in pondering, into the dark night of snow.
After this initial reflective part in the song for the artist, lyrics diversify to represent the potential thoughts, feelings, and circumstances of anyone feeling out of place at Christmas, as well as the prominent issue of not appreciating “privilege”.
“Sleigh bells ringing, still I feel sad / it’ll have you thinking of all the things / that you don’t have”
This line is a direct slap back against the consumerism of the holidays. It addresses the contradiction between the supposed magic associated with Christmas and the sense of greed it can inherently foster.
“Can you even imagine / all the people that haven’t / got no presents, no mistletoe / some are living without a home”
These two lines beautifully articulate the idea of homelessness as being literally without a home or without somebody to call your ‘home’. Oftentimes people are so wrapped up in their own festivities that they forget to think about others facing loneliness and hardships over the holidays. They can’t ‘even imagine’ what it’s like or spare a thought to try.
“Something about the yuletide / makes me lonely inside / can’t just be me feeling like this”
Loneliest Time of Year will wrap you in deep thought and make you want to grab an empty bag to fill with donations for a local charity. It’s a powerful song sung by a powerful voice, accompanied by powerful, simplistic imagery. In the video, Mabel is surrounded by people most of the time, reminding us how one can feel alone even when in a crowded room of company.
If you feel low this Christmas, remember that you aren’t alone, and remember that your feelings are completely valid.
2) Red Cross
3) Mind (lists other helplines, too)