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Low Audio CD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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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 (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 85,603 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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Like Christmas - All year round 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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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's Christmas time... 11 Dec 2002
By Jason Parkes #1 HALL OF FAME
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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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not quite a silent night 22 Nov 2001
By A Customer
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Would've been nice
As the title says.... but the CD never arrived from the seller Rexnixon. Had originally placed order on Amazon knowing would be told when in stock. Read more
Published on 17 April 2012 by AJC
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Christmas album
I bought this album on the strength of "Just Like Christmas" and I was not disappointed. Every track is a winner - originals and covers alike. Read more
Published on 23 Dec 2011 by crsm
2.0 out of 5 stars Dismal
Firstly, I actually like this band - I have only recently been instroduced to them but have quickly got to love their style and the quality of the music they produce. Read more
Published on 12 May 2011 by Barry Gilchrist
5.0 out of 5 stars Such a wonderful Christmas album...
This album is so beautiful that I find it hard not to listen to it all year round. If you get sick of hearing all the regular Christmas songs then this is the perfect antidote,... Read more
Published on 15 Feb 2011 by little_em
4.0 out of 5 stars Who said Christmas had to be merry?
Nobody does downbeat quite like Low. Little Drummer Boy sounds like you're listening to it from the depths of a ketamine-induced trance, while the drawn-out glassy vocals of Blue... Read more
Published on 11 Jan 2011 by Winged Monkey
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!
Just when you think you've heard everything Christmas music has to offer! Hauntingly beautiful and a complete change from the usual seasonal fare. Brilliant.
Published on 23 Dec 2010 by J. Pauley
4.0 out of 5 stars I'll suspend judgement......
As this is a Christmas CD and it is still only September, I have not played it!

I am sure having listened to the preview tracks and read the great reviews it will be... Read more
Published on 25 Sep 2010 by Colin Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars For Christmas Past Present and Future
Christmas again - what better time to review Low's superb festive album which portrays a more common Christmas experience for many than the forced jollity of your Slade or Wizzard... Read more
Published on 24 Dec 2007 by D. Newton
5.0 out of 5 stars Too beautiful to stay awake too
Even my mum was bowled over by the beauty of the tracks on this albumn - it has been the back drop to some of the most wonderful Christmas days we have ever had. Read more
Published on 15 Nov 2006 by Katy Red
4.0 out of 5 stars Christmas without the Commercial
If you don't wish it could be Christmas everyday, then this is the album for you. Although the standout track has to be "Just like Christmas" strong support is offered by... Read more
Published on 7 Dec 2001
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