‘Fairytale of Philadelphia’ lyrics: How to listen to Jason and Travis Kelce’s Christmas song
The classic, yet somewhat depressing, Christmas song by the Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl has had a Philly Specials NFL update.
When Jason and Travis Kelce - you know, the NFL brothers, one of which is making some headlines over his relationship with that up-and-coming singer Taylor Swift - win Spotify’s number one podcast award for their in-depth sports chat, few are going to raise an eyebrow. They are elite starts in that arena, after all, and know their sporting stuff.
But when they also get together to release a song that hits number one in the Billboard music charts, well, that’s certainly more intriguing. So, we thought it was worth a deeper look.
Kelce Bros make Billboard fairytale
You obviously know the classic track ‘Fairytale of New York’ by The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl (tragically killed aged 41 while saving her teenage son from a multimillionaire’s powerboat in Mexico). Well, that’s the one chosen by the NFL pair and it would appear to have been an instant classic.
The New York element has been changed for Philadelphia and there are some other related tweaks made, but much remains the same. And the lads (almost) manage to drop the necessary octaves to hit Shane MacGowan’s levels. Here are the lyrics:
The original lyrics are here:
Fairytales of Philadelphia and New York compared
Jason & Travis Kelce vs The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl. What a battle! Well, they’re not really competing, are they? It’s more of a massive compliment that the NFL brothers have done their own version of the Christmas classic. But have you spotted the subtle differences between the two sets of lyrics? I magnified the text and picked out what I found, adding some of my own context to the variations.
Obviously both songs share a similar structure and theme as they both tell a story set during Christmas Eve in a somewhat unconventional and gritty setting. The locations in the title, of course, give a hint to the amendments made, the characters involved, and the overall tone.
Setting “Fairytale of Philadelphia” is set in Philadelphia, specifically mentioning Broad Street. “Fairytale of New York” is set in New York City, with references to Broadway and the boys of the NYPD choir.
Characters In “Fairytale of Philadelphia,” there are references to an old man in the drunk tank, a brother, and the King of South Philly. The focus is on personal relationships and experiences in Philadelphia. “Fairytale of New York” features an old man in the drunk tank, the protagonist’s partner (referred to as “baby” and “babe”), the Queen of New York City, and the boys of the NYPD choir. The interactions are more confrontational, with insults exchanged between the characters.
Tone “Fairytale of Philadelphia” has a mix of nostalgia, love, and humor. It expresses a sense of brotherhood and dreams for a better future despite the rough environment. “Fairytale of New York” has a more confrontational and bitter tone, especially in the exchange of insults between the characters. The song addresses hardships and shattered dreams.
Imagery Both songs use vivid imagery to describe the Christmas scene. “Fairytale of Philadelphia” mentions cars big as bars, rivers of gold, and the sound of The Silver Ages choir singing Galway Bay. “Fairytale of New York” describes cars big as bars, rivers of gold, Broadway, and the boys of the NYPD choir singing Galway Bay.
Insults “Fairytale of Philadelphia” includes light-hearted insults like “lush,” “crumb bum,” and “lousy jabroni,” with a wish for a happy Christmas despite the teasing. “Fairytale of New York” contains more harsh insults, including “scumbag,” “maggot,” and “cheap lousy faggot,” with a prayer for the last Christmas together.
Conclusion “Fairytale of Philadelphia” concludes on a more positive note, expressing a sense of unity and hope. “Fairytale of New York” ends on a more somber and reflective tone, acknowledging lost dreams and the need for companionship.
How to listen to “Fairytale of Philadelphia”
As well as the YouTube link above, you can access the new song on all good streaming platforms including Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music. It’ll also be played quite a lot on your radio box in the coming weeks, especially if you’re in the Philly area. Let’s see if Taylor gets them on stage to perform in her Eras Tour.
Unconfirmed, and completely made up, reports are coming in that The Pogues that are still with us are lining up a small sided game of gridiron against their new, and unexpected, competition. I’ll buy the popcorn.