*Note – original review for Forge Fuse*
Over the past few years, the release of the John Lewis Christmas advert has become an annual event. From Monty the Penguin to those adventurous snowmen, we’re always treated to a cinematic story accompanied by a stripped-down version of a popular song. This year’s song sees Oasis classic ‘Half The World Away’ covered by 19 year old Norwegian Aurora.
The advert tells the story of a little girl who sends a telescope – presumably from John Lewis – to a lonely man on the moon, and it has made everyone very emotional. The song choice feels too obvious, though, bordering on cheesy. It feels like John Lewis made up a pretty rubbish story based on the song title.
Oasis are just the latest big name to get the ‘John Lewis’ treatment. John Lennon’s ‘Real Love’ was covered by Tom Odell, whilst Ellie Goulding took on Elton John’s classic ‘Your Song’. Slow Moving Millie covered The Smiths in 2011 and Gabriella Aplin was praised for her version of Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s ‘The Power Of Love’ in 2012. So generally, John Lewis covers are well received.
This year seems to have split opinion more than previous offerings, though – not many people seemed affected by Lily Allen’s cover of ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ by Keane, for example. Oasis fans on Twitter claim the cover has ‘ruined Christmas’, with one user, @danbeasley1, even claiming that Aurora should be ‘sent to the moon as punishment’ for butchering ‘Half The World Away’. On the other hand, though, there is a lot of praise for the ‘beautiful’ choice of song.
Maybe the difference between ‘Half The World Away’ and other John Lewis songs, is that it’s hard to strip back a song that’s loved for it’s stripped-back nature. The advert itself is not one of John Lewis’ best, and it just feels like Aurora is trying to copy Noel Gallagher, which will rarely end in success.