Daryl Braithwaite’s The Horses Is A Christmas Carol, If You Really Want It To Be

Christmas is a wonderful time of year. Fuck off you Scrooges, it really is. Everyone is just bursting with too much cheer, and as someone who has too much cheer 24/7, it’s a great time where no one tells me I’m “too much” or “need to lay off the champers”.

One of the best parts of Christmas aside from driving around to see what batshit disasters people have turned their houses into c/o of Christmas lights and drinking egg nog, the worst drink in the world and yet so delicious only during the festive season, is CAROLS. And when I say carols I don’t just mean your ‘Good King Wenceslas‘ and ‘Silent Night‘. They’re great, the Jesus songs – good. But I’m also talking all those tunes that simply mention Christmas, or vaguely allude to some sort of Christmas event but are in fact about other shit. Like ‘Driving Home For Christmas‘, ‘Last Christmas‘ and ‘How To Make Gravy‘.

And now, Daryl Braithwaite‘s Aussie classic, ‘The Horses‘.

I can feel the patronising energy of you rolling your eyes in disgust at me for even suggesting this, but hear me out. I realise I must convince you of this claim, and to do so I’ve turned to the beauty of analysis. Together we will go through the three main categories that are requires to make a not-really-carol into a Carol, OK?


Let’s start with the lyrics. You can’t just have some song like ‘Thank U, Next‘ and decide it’s a carol, OK? You can’t just do that. The song has to have some sort of Christmassy lyric going on otherwise you’re just playing silly buggers and that’s fun sometimes, but also you’re annoying and then people don’t like you.

‘The Horses’ has the lyrics. Look at the first fucking line:

We will fly, way up high

Where the cold wind blows.

GUYS. YOU KNOW WHAT FLIES WAY UP HIGH WHERE IT’S COLD. FUCKING REINDEER. And everyone knows reindeer aren’t real animals (shut up lalalalala can’t hear you telling me they are) but just horses with horns stuck on their faces. Fact. So you could just substitute reindeer for horses in this song and get the actual vibe of the thing, OK. Which is that Old Mate Daryl was really meaning reindeer when he said horses. In every chorus. I totally asked him and by that I mean I definitely didn’t pls don’t sue me Daryl.

Moving along.

Christmas is also a time when sad people are happy. Not ALL sad people. But maybe just… people who have routinely set their life on fire all year with terrible decisions. I mean me. I am sad, but I am happy at Christmas because it’s like blah blah, end of the year, let’s just push all those questionable texts and poor life choices under the proverbial rug and start fresh. Daryl, he recognises this. Kind of.

I hear all the people of the world 

In one bird’s lonely cry 

See them trying every way they know how 

To make their spirit fly.

And then it’s back to the horses and riding them yeah, yeah into the sky. LIKE SANTA DOES. LIKE WE DO SPIRITUALLY AT CHRISTMAS.

Ok I think we are done on the lyrics front.


Every not-actually-Christmas-carol has to have nostalgia factor. HAS TO. Think about all those fake carol songs. Like ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You‘. It has the feel-good mems vibes, it basically CREATES memories with each listen.

To get nostalgia factor is hard. I like to think, as a total music journalist with decades of experience (not) that it has to do with having the kind of chorus you can scream unintelligibly after 40 beers and have the whole bar/pub/bowlo join in. ‘Last Christmas’ has this. And who could forget *deep breath* GIVE MY LOVE TO ANGUSSSSSSSS!!!!!

If any of you don’t understand how ‘The Horses’ has nostalgia factor then I can’t help you and you may as well disconnect your internet and live life as one of those Doomsday Preppers people.


Carols have to – HAVE TO – be simple enough in tune and key to be sung by any local choir at the town Christmas carol evening and not be a total fuck-up. Otherwise it just won’t catch on, OK? Because everyone knows the way to get people en masse to embrace a new carol is to have a bunch of irritating tone-deaf children, or some 450-year-old nanas from the Catholic parish, sing-screech the song at the local carols event.

‘The Horses’ works perfectly for this. For one, the chorus is repeated about 700 times so you don’t have to learn too many words. It’s also not too high, not too low. Perfect. They’ll still fuck it up but at least it won’t end in tears or someone throwing the microphone into the crowd out of frustration.

So there you have it. To finish I will say this – YES I am fully aware ‘The Horses’ isn’t really a carol. But my point is – don’t you want it to be? Let’s just embrace these very poor at best reasons I have pulled out of my ass here and call it a carol, yeah?