Oh, the anticipation of Christmas morning, unwrapping presents that mysteriously appear under the tree, gifts from that weird, omnicscient fat guy Americans refer to as Santa Claus. That’s what Christmas is like for the children who celebrate it, at least until they learn that their jolly toy-bestowing benefactor is not real. It’s hard to imagine (cough) that that type of innocence can still be maintained in this age of overwhelming media, but somehow, it is. “Santa God” is slight in nature, but surprisingly touching in its simplicity. In some ways, “Now we’re grown and so complex / In a world that can’t relax / Even though he was a lie / We all were satisfied”, tells more effective truth than the band’s more “serious” songs. And the parallels between the innocence of believing in Santa Claus and in the mysteries of rock and roll fandom are not insubstantial.
On the eve of the release of Backspacer, there are those fans still desperately clinging to that old-fashioned, pre-mp3 leak time of unwrapping a shrink-wrapped CD or vinyl album on the day of its official release. And there are those who can’t wait, who raid the parents’ closet early to get the toys, which are no less fun to play with, but who also are left with the feeling that something was lost. But still, there are few bands left today who still inspire that nostalgic feeling of anticipation conjured on “Santa God”, where every new song feels like a gift wrapped in a bow.