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Amazon's Low Store


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“While driving though Chicago, on tour, we stopped finally to visit Wilco at their studio, The Loft. They had invited us to come check it out several times over the years, but this would finally be the day. It’s a great place—a sea of instruments in a relaxed, open working environment. It’s cool, but what really converted us was hearing the new Mavis Staples tracks ... Read more in Amazon's Low Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (29 Nov 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rough Trade Records
  • ASIN: B00002R0SK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 40,293 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Just Like Christmas
2. Long Way Around The Sea
3. Little Drummer Boy
4. If You Were Born Today
5. Blue Christmas
6. Silent Night
7. Taking Down The Tree
8. One Special Gift

Product Description


To the casual observer, the holidays are the happiest, jolliest time of the year: the blinking lights, the merry carols, the parties, the good cheer on every street corner and in every shop. However, the statistics tell us that, for many, the holidays are the time of year when depression reaches its annual peak. It is for these people, then, that American slow-core three-piece Low have released Christmas, their collection of heartbreakingly downbeat holiday songs. The eight songs on this mini album are a mix of new compositions--"If You Were Born Today", the sparkling "Just Like Christmas"--and traditional favourites--"Silent Night" and their sublime take on "Little Drummer Boy". Their version of Elvis Presley's "Blue Christmas" is particularly gorgeous: Mimi Parker's vocals drawing out the pain of holiday loneliness over the sparsest of arrangements, the whole thing sounding like Mazzy Star on tranquilisers. This is not an album for festive gatherings; rather, it's the perfect escape from the mania of the season. Quietly compelling, touching and, above all, perhaps the most moving and sincere Christmas album you're likely to hear. --Robert Burrow

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By "ianjgoodchild" on 24 Sep 2004
Format: Audio CD
Oh, the pain of christmas - you can't help thinking that the music perenially droning in the shops and incessantly on Radio and TV helps to explain why Christmas is the season of the year with the highest rate of suicide.
Low's 'Christmas', on the other hand, like Spector's 'Christmas Album' is music to warm your soul instead - an absurdly cheap mini-CD which is one of Low's most pure, self-contained and poignant efforts. Their original compositions here are all full of such emptional depth and a haunting, childlike innocence and honesty - no other band on this planet could produce a jaunty, sleigh-bell driven singalong like 'Just Like Christmas' without being laughed off the face of the earth.
The traditionals are just beautiful: 'Little Drummer Boy', with it's slowed down wall of distorted guitar and thumping drum set against perfectly levelled vocals is an absolute gem and 'Silent Night'- a simple vocal (Alan and Mimi in total intuitive harmony) and acoustic version of this tired standard, is turned into a thing of pure majesty. Likewise, their drastic revision of "Elvis's" 'Blue Christmas' retains the spirit (not the schmaltz)of the original, but takes on a whole other dimension with the minimalistic instrumentation and Mimi's almost sultry vocals. There's more - but you should really hear it yourself.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jason Parkes #1 HALL OF FAME on 11 Dec 2002
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I first heard Just Like Christmas on Marc&Lard's Radio 1 show in the late 1990's- this lead me to this divine e.p. (and albums like Secret Name, which features such mindblowing songs as Two Step & Immune). This is the album to play after Phil Spector's collection, Jesus Christ by Big Star, Last Dance by The Cure & Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley (feel I've forgotten an American Music Club song...)- a reminder that Xmas can be a heartbreaking time: how it never measures up to the memory of those that have passed, how it is set in the darkest winter, how the seasonal affects, how people come together over the barcode rather than out of common decency,how archaic notions such as faith appear somewhat absurd in a world where people are going to be turned to mincemeat in the New Year over oil , how many people commit suicide etc (god, I'm sounding like Ingmar Bergman after listening to the Joy Division boxset). Well, this is the ideal music for all that (and more...)
Low compose half this release- the gorgeous Just Like Christmas (Sunday Morning meets the Carpenters in heaven); Long Way Around the Sea (as sparse as Starfire); Alan stays on vocals for If You Were Born Today with its heartfelt "Joy to the world" & the final track One Special Gift (a sense of foreboding when this one ends). The remaining songs are well known Xmas songs- the version of Little Drummer Boy recalls My Bloody Valentine's Glider, while the cover of Elvis's Blue Christmas is as great as Cowboy Junkies Blue Moon Revisted (on the classic Trinity Sessions album). Silent Night recalls the sparse acoustics of Nick Drake and Robert Wyatt, Mimi & Alan's voices coming together (recall The Smiths's Asleep- an ode to suicide ends with this tune also).
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By "mrgavinlewiswright" on 8 Oct 2003
Format: Audio CD
You know, do you ever feel at Christmas times, that you are deeply unhappy with how things are, and you long for a nostalgic glimpse at when Christmas meant something to people?
Please buy this record - it has got me through the last three Christmasses, and I can foresee my reliance on it continuing for the next ten (until appocalypse).
It'll make you sad, though...
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 Nov 2001
Format: Audio CD
The concept of a Low Christmas album seems ludicrous, when you consider the Minnesota three's down-beat approach and usually dismal subject matter. Almost the complete antithesis of the accepted notion of 'Christmas spirit'. But it is precisely this factor that makes Christmas work.
The majority of non-traditional Christmas albums are released by saccharine-coated pop acts. The result is usually a combination of the sickly sweet pop style with a few jingle bells thrown in to add that wintery feel. Low take the same approach to combining styles, but their own is so quiet - almost hymnal - that when embellished by the jingles and chimes of some seasonal bells, the end result is not so much fusion as traditional. Little Drummer Boy has a choral arrangement combined with fuzz guitars to offer something completely familiar, yet strangely unique. Long Way Around the Sea, a Low composition, has their stamp all over it, yet is as beautiful and traditional-sounding a carol as Silent Night.
Tongue in cheek? Perhaps - but Low manage to evoke a truer sense of Christmas spirit than James Brown, Mariah Carey, Phil Spector or any other 'pop' act ever seems to have. Now surely that's worth a sixpence in their stocking.
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