Saturday, December 19, 2009

Boogie to the Elf Dance!

So its that time of year when the only acceptable music to be played at gatherings is of the yuletide nature- and yes most of it is rather painful. But not to worry, there is more to Christmas music than Manheim Steamroller and Johnny Mathis. For five years running up until its public release in 2006, Sufjan Stevens was secretly recording little collections of Christmas classics and originals for family and friends. Three years ago they were released together as the 2 hour long, 5 disc set "Songs For Christmas". Despite being a pretty avid Stevens fan, I foolishly ignored the collection until now. Stevens has a knack for diving wholeheartedly into the spirit of whatever his musical inspiration at a given time is (ie. the BQE?) and this pays off here. In fairness, some of the originals come off as slightly overemphatic, but what Stevens album doesn't? It is the reinterpretations of Christmas classics which are most rewarding here, often coming across in breathtaking 'Casimir Pulaski' style beauty. This makes sense as much of his body of work carries spiritual undertones regardless. Check out a sample cover and original from the set below. You have a new Christmas party playlist.

'Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing', 2006

'Sister Winter', 2006

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