“Just Like Xmas (Love Is War)” is the new holiday track from Tom Tikka & The Missing Hubcaps. Filled with hope and a charming music bed, this new song is a stroll through emotions and like a lot of holidays for folks, it’s a roller coaster of highs and lows that make up that journey. Tikka fills the song with keen lyrics and an equally emotive music bed. Like a wistful night, “Just Like Xmas (Love Is War)” caters to the listeners searching for meaning during the holidays. It’s also a wildly enjoyable escape.
Perhaps you will remember love letters in the sand, perhaps you will remember that I’m your man, a modest singing Tikka reveals in the lyrics. His voice shows semblances of heartache, and loneliness. He creates additional textures, and even a December mood with the symphonic changes. The song has a lively electronic keys bed. His voice is stoic above the music, but that doesn’t mean he’s not flexible. I think there’s a lot of candor in his voice, the life of a man reflecting during the holidays. Just like Christmas he repeats, just like Christmas. The tones are very sixties (think Donovan, and even some of Chad and Jeremy, The Zombies – think before psychedelic). A shimmering horn section, a resonating drum – these all start to emerge in the song, as if Tikka had strung all the Christmas lights and synced them to start at different times. There is a mechanism to it all and the movement of the backing music seems to echo is mood.
He perks up and the messaging seems clear by the song’s completion that this is a time for joy – one only has to look at the children to see the real meaning of Christmas. The church bells ring, the children sing, Tikka sings. I wish that Christmas could be on the whole year round, he sings. He’s had this time for wallowing and the murky music bed reflects this, but the song really ends on a bright note. I was quite fascinated how he accomplished so many feelings in one song. The symphonic touches – the horns and the percussion – made the song feel very grand, larger than life in many ways. The cadence in his voice, a steady beat and rhythm all the while.
I think one of the main reasons listeners should add “Just Like Xmas (Love Is War)” to their holiday playlists is the story. Tikka is a gifted songwriter and his enamoring storyline has a start and an ending. He puts all of the elements together. I definitely found myself humming this song hours later and really became quite fond of Tikka’s folksy vocal delivery. He has a modest hush to his voice that makes you think of George Harrison. He really shines in a very quiet demeanor approach. He creates so much emotion with very little effort – that is truly the remarkable feat of a fantastic artist. “Just Like Xmas (Love Is War)” is a holiday best bet.
by Bethany Page