New George Michael song released ahead of ‘Last Christmas’ film

Last Christmas the film inspired by the Wham! hit is in cinemas today, and it’s packed full of songs written by George Michael.

Over the closing credits of the film is a brand new song from the late singer. This Is How (We Want You To Get High) is the first new music from the George Michael since 2012.

Co-written and co-produced by George Michael and collaborator James Jackman, work on the track began in early 2012. The track was subsequently developed and recorded in sessions at Air Studios in London, before the finishing touches were added in late 2015 during George’s final recording sessions.

Last Christmas, the new film from Bridesmaids director Paul Feig, has been deswcribed as a love letter to George Michael. The film was inspired by the eponymous Wham! hit, and has a soundtrack featuring three Wham! tracks and twelve songs from George Michael’s solo career.

The film was co-scripted by Academy Award®winner Emma Thompson, who stars alongside Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) and Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians).

Thompson visited George at his North London home in the Spring of 2013 to talk through her ideas for the screenplay. George loved what she had to say and gave his blessing. The actress and screenwriter then developed various versions of the script before George’s sudden passing on Christmas Day 2016.

In the Spring of 2018, after discussions over which songs would be in the film, Emma Thompson was given an exclusive preview of four new, finished and unreleased George Michael tracks. She instantly fell in love with This Is How (We Want You To Get High), remarking how the lyrics resonated with the film’s central themes.

Take a listen to the track below

Is Last Christmas going to be your new favourite Christmas film?

A few years ago my partner and I escaped to New York for a few weeks. It was a second trip to the Big Apple, and like our first trip we went in winter when the city was covered in snow and turned into a true winter wonderland.

The great thing about visiting New York during winter is there are few tourists, no crowds, and things are really cheap. You can get seats in great restaurants and discounted tickets to Broadway shows.

We caught a performance of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, it takes a brave actor to step into the role of Holly Golightly – without doubt Audrey Hepburn’s most iconic role. Emilia Clarke was delightful to watch on stage playing a character far removed from her part at Daenerys Targaryen on Game of Thrones.

In Last Christmas Clarke is the film’s life and soul. It’s wonderful to see her being awkward, loveable and funny, free from dragons and conquests. She is a joy to watch on screen and a lot of fun is this somewhat ridiculous Christmas movie.

Clarke plays Kate, Katerina to her immigrant parents, a woman who works in a Christmas shop in London’s Coventry Garden. The shop operates all year round, because it’s owner Santa – played by Michelle Yeoh – just loves Christmas that much. Kate is a giant George Michael fan who would rather be making her West End debut than selling tree ornaments.

Kate’s life in an ongoing series of disasters, as she avoids her overbearing mother, played Emma Thompson, by couch surfing from one friends home to another.

Things begin to look up for Kate when she meets a charming and elusive young man Tom, played by Crazy Rich Asians star Henry Golding. His good influence helps her begin to find her place in the world and as we head towards December 25th, relationships are mended, bridges are built and love blossoms.

The film’s ending is so obvious, I’ll be surprised if you don’t work it all about before the end of the first act – but maybe it doesn’t matter. Last Christmas is an emotional feel-good Christmas film, which serenades you with a soundtrack of George Michael hits.

It’s got a stack of funny moments, and Michelle Yeoh is particularly hilarious. If you grew up listening to Wham! and George Michael, each time his voice fills the cinema it triggers your own memories of times gone by.

The film has a stack of cameo appearances scattered throughout it, including a blink and you’ll miss it appearance from Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley.

You might question if a love story involving two male characters might have been a tribute more inline with George Michael’s life and legacy, but the film does have some queer references, but the music featured skips over the singers most overtly sexual tracks – I Want Your Sex, Freak, Fast Love and Easier Affair are not on the playlist.

It’s unlikely Last Christmas is going to bump Love Actually from its perch of most played Christmas movie on Australian TV, but it’s got it’s charms, laughs and a few moments which will bring you to tears.

Graeme Watson

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