Sufjan Stevens – Silver & Gold: Songs for Christmas, Volumes 6 – 10

December 2nd, 2012
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‘Tis the Season

With a season upon us that is inundated with holiday music, it’s hard to distinguish between another holiday album and a genuine blend of holiday cheer. This year, Sufjan Stevens has kept the holiday tradition of finding good music alive with his release of Silver & Gold: Songs for Christmas, Volumes 6 – 10. The box set is not only comprised of music but Stevens has wrapped up his joyful jubilee with temporary tattoos, Christmas stickers, self-assembly paper ornament, Christmas songbook and with many more surprises included; an element that is pure Sufjan Stevens.

The set also gifts listeners with collaborations from a few other familiar friends; Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry, The National’s Aaron and Bryce Dessner, Cat Marino and a fine frenzy of musical friends rounding out the 58-track album.

“Silent Night” opens this holiday gift with a rustic and whimsical twist on this timeless song.  Each song on the album either takes on a refreshing Stevens-spin from the classic from holiday’s past or seems to be typically Stevens leaving a slightly confused take on the holidays. “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” is a 39 second enchanting flute instrumental and there’s “The Child With the Star on His Head,” a slow-paced song dusted lightly with horns but, transitioning over the course of the fifteen minutes into a more psychedelic rock holiday. “Jingle Bells” seems to take flowery hippy tone, while “I Am Santa’s Helper” slightly misses the musical mark only adding a layer of confusion in between the a capella “Ah Holy Jesus,” and the piano solo of “Moaz Tzur (Rock of Ages).”

This isn’t the traditional Christmas album but then that’s what makes – Silver & Gold: Songs for Christmas, Volumes 6 – 10 so unique. Stevens doesn’t put the holidays into the classic mold, but forms a sense of wonder and exploration. Hopefully we won’t have to wait so long for the next set of volumes.

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By Emily Provansal Posted in Reviews

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