Ernest Noah’s cover of “Last Christmas” is a continuation of his tribute to Wham, initiated by the solo album debut “Gold” earlier this year. The pristine vocal harmonies of Noah’s interpretation provide it with a warm 60s power-pop atmosphere, with an introduction you can’t help but associate with the style of The Beach Boys’ choral-like ensembles.
With a production approach that focuses on the essentials to leave room for the splendor of the vocal arrangement, this version of “Last Christmas” evokes a more intimate listening experience than its predecessor debut album.
The dramatic 80s arrangement of the original has been stripped down to a rather discreet rhythm section, a modest piano accompaniment, and the occasional chimes to elicit the indispensable seasonal feeling.
The combination of lush vocal harmonies and a sober arrangement in Ernest Noah’s cover of “Last Christmas” results in an emotional expression that departs from its inspiration source. It’s still retro, still 80s ballad (not to mention the guitar solo at the end), but it leans rather towards the melancholic/romantic than a glittery or bombastic sound.
In this sense, Noah’s version has more in common with the aesthetics of Motown artists that were in the charts during the same year as the original, such as Stevie Wonder or Lionel Richie.