Customer Reviews


40 Reviews
5 star:
 (26)
4 star:
 (12)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A box of delights
Arriving just in time, as the clocks go back and the temperature falls, is Tracey Thorn's Christmas album.

The clear highlight is `Joy'. Written by Tracey, it is a beautifully poetic and nuanced ballad about how as adults we see Christmas in a new light - as something fragile, a special time with family and friends that brings back memories of Christmas' past...
Published 22 months ago by Truecolours09

versus
5 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tentitive "Xmas" Theme...
Whilst I appreciate that Tracey Thorn has a great, clear voice, I think this project doesn't add value to her repertoire.

It has a very "down beat" sound and feel, and almost has an empty quality to it. It would have been lovely to hear a noise against type for once.

Sure, the lyrics are well thought out (ironically mostly not her own!), and the...
Published 21 months ago by straightnochaser


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A box of delights, 29 Oct 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Tinsel and Lights (Audio CD)
Arriving just in time, as the clocks go back and the temperature falls, is Tracey Thorn's Christmas album.

The clear highlight is `Joy'. Written by Tracey, it is a beautifully poetic and nuanced ballad about how as adults we see Christmas in a new light - as something fragile, a special time with family and friends that brings back memories of Christmas' past and raises fears for what future years may bring. "You loved it as a kid and now you need it more than you ever did" is just one line of many the strikes a chord. The piano backing slowly expands to include percussion, backing vocals and (for the first of many occasions on the album) a kind of warm 'glow'.

Tracey's only other self-penned song on this album is the title track `Tinsel and Lights', which also reflects on how Christmas changes in meaning as we get older. The lyrics are about looking back on a previous Christmas, half with happiness and half with the bittersweet realisation that it may not have been so perfect after all.

`Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas', the only traditional Christmas song on the album, is wonderfully realised. Played straight, with lush orchestral arrangement, it showcases Tracey's unique vocals. Lyrically, it's very much in keeping with the more modern songs selected for this album. By the time she gets to the "..until then, we'll have to muddle through somehow" line, it's difficult not to shed a tear or two.

The version here of Randy Newman's `Snow' is one of the best things Tracey's done - simple, desolate and achingly sad.

It is be no means an electronic album but `Taking Down The Tree' - a cover of a song by Low and now a duet with Green Gartside - successfully introduces subtle electronica elements and beats. Green's voice sounds very much as it did during his Scritti Politti days: beguiling, pure and yet now somehow like welcoming back an old friend. There's also something a little late-ABBA in the production on this track. 'Sister Winter' and 'Snow in Sun' are also have a light sprinkling of electronic elements.

There's not one bad track here. `Hard Candy Christmas' and `Maybe This Christmas', in particular, utilise Tracey's ability to tell a story to full effect.

The album cover is terrific and its use of a homely, traditionally styled Christmas decoration absolutely fits the mood.

This is a delightful album that successfully takes a slightly worn out concept (`The Christmas Album') and sprinkles it with magic. Tracey and producer Ewan Pearson have found a perfect sound that is at heart acoustic but with added warmth, rhythm and the occasional subtle beat. Loved it!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tracy Thorn - Sister Winter, 2 Nov 2012
By 
Red on Black - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Tinsel and Lights (Audio CD)
Its that time of year and for the next two months we will be inundated with a plethora of artists chancing their luck with a Christmas album. Sorting out the wheat from the chaff is not always difficult since some artists present their Turkeys ready stuffed. Bob Dylan's Christmas album for instance was so bad it was almost good. Tracey Thorn alternatively has one steady advantage over many artists, she has a rich and and poignant voice infused with a frisson of aching regret which she has used to splendid advantage with bands as diverse as Everything but the Girl and guesting with Bristol trip hop specialists Massive Attack. Some would argue that this whole production could be deemed out of character for the "Bedsit Disco Queen" and NME has harshly argued about this album that if "your planning microwaved turkey dinner for one this year, there's probably no better soundtrack". But let us cast away doubt and blow an emphatic Humbug to those indie scrooges.

Certainly it would be a safe option to record a "standard" Xmas fare but thankfully this is not a Michael Buble style Sinatra inspired cover fest. Indeed the only real "standard" on "Tinsel and Lights" is her cover of "Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas. She is up against stiff competition here since James Taylor did a lovely cool jazzy version of this a while back and Tori Amos produced a lush escalating piano ballad. Thorn's versions ranks all these, she may "be muddling through somehow" but she is doing an excellent job of it accompanied by a rich orchestral arrangements you can almost hear the snow falling. Her own opening composition "Joy" is a tender ballad and in a fair world would become a Christmas classic, her voice is as pure and tender as ever on this track. In the same vein her sparkling version of Dolly Parton's "Hard Candy Christmas" an often overlooked gem is simply scintillating and enough to melt the ice of the coldest heart. It is a brave attempt to spruce up Jack White's "Cold Cold Night" as a festive classic but its the one song her that slightly sours the mulled wine. Never-mind she quickly makes amends with a heartfelt version of Randy Newman's brilliant "Snow" and also a lovely version of Joni Mitchell's "River". Its safe to say that no one will ever top the original of this no matter how many try (K.D. Lang, James Taylor, Sarah McLachlan et al). Yet Thorn does a very good version with a nice brass band accompaniment in the background adding to the yuletide ambience. Perhaps the best cover on "Tinsel and Lights" comes from the pen of that Christmas specialist and the the most interesting American musician on the planet Sufjan Stevens. The great man is due to release yet another mammoth Christmas set in the form of the 4 volume "Silver and Gold" but of his previous recorded Christmas output the gentle grower "Sister Winter" is one of the absolute best and Thorn does a brilliant version. All this and duet with Scritti Politti's resident Gramsci inspired Marxist Green Gartside on a cover of Low's "Taking down the tree" (if you dont have it seek out Low's Christmas album); what more could you ask for? There will be Christmas albums aplenty in due course but its nice to start with one that raises the bar higher than the norm.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classy distinctly different cool festive album, 1 Nov 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Tinsel and Lights (Audio CD)
Halloween is over, miserable November is beginning,and here to brighten things up is an early festive album offering. In general Christmas themed albums can be pretty dire, with artists trotting out their own versions of standard seasonal classics that we have all heard hundreds of times before and adding little extra value, often being sentimental with far too many sleigh bells in the mix.
This album takes a different route, with 2 classy original compositions by Tracey Thorn;the album opener,Joy,looks at Christmas's past as a time of reflection,and is a fantastic new song up there with the best;while title track Tinsel and Lights is an affectionate reflection on a New York Christmas and gets a topical reference in on climate change " The winters got warmer then last year's got colder" and the final line "I fell in love with Christmas again" could be the tag line for this whole album.
The other 10 tracks are classy covers very carefully selected, many are relatively obscure, coming from a wide range of backgrounds. 2 songs have a lush orchestral arrangement, with the only real standard , Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, and a very tasteful version of Joni Mitchell's River is a particular highlight and favourite of mine. Elsewhere source material varies widely from Randy Newman's Snow, through Jack White's In the Cold Cold Night, to Sufjan Stevens Sister Winter. Tracey's vocals are clear, strong , and well to the fore, and the production is generally simple and straightforward, well done without too much embelishment.
Green Gartside (ex Scritti Politti) contributes one good song, Snow in the Sun,and features on special guest vocals on Taking Down the Tree to good effect, and is continuing his productive collaborative parterships after recently contributing to the Nick Drake tribute concerts.
This is definitely up there as one of the best seasonal albums of the last 5 years, along with Thea Gilmore's Strange Communion. Still plenty of shopping days left before Christmas, so if you are looking for a new quality seasonal album that has something a bit different to offer then this should be the one to go for.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Low key and mellow., 18 Jan 2013
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Tinsel and Lights (Audio CD)
This album just fitted the bill for me this Christmas. Having suffered a bereavement in December and several other things going on in my life Christmas was going to be difficult.
This album is low key and beautiful. Tracey's voice is mellow and controlled and I love the choice of songs.
I really appreciated it and I'm sure I'll continue to do so.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not the obvious Christmas songs, 5 Nov 2012
By 
Peter Durward Harris "Pete the music fan" (Leicester England) - See all my reviews
(No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Tinsel and Lights (Audio CD)
Tracey has a long and distinguished career, not only solo but also with Everything But The Girl, although this is only the second album of her music that I've ever bought after Idlewild. (I must put that right someday.) I was surprised to learn about this album, but I expected it would be good, especially once I saw the track listing, which includes just one obvious classic, that being Have yourself a merry little Christmas. On the evidence of that track, if Tracey had filled the entire album, it would still have been a brilliant album (which I might have bought anyway), but I'm glad that she didn't do that. I love those classic songs, but I have plenty of versions of them already,

Apart from Have yourself a merry little Christmas, two of the other songs are very familiar to me, although neither was originally meant to be a Christmas song. Hard candy Christmas, written by Carol Hall for Dolly Parton to sing in The Best Little Chickenhouse in Texas. The song title is metaphorical; the song is not about Christmas, but that word being in the title is enough for it to be regarded as a Christmas song. Tracey's version is mellower than Dolly's version, and the slower tempo works well. Joni Mitchell's River is about a broken relationship around Christmas time. It's really about the feeling of loss rather than Christmas, but the song seems to be well on the way to becoming a Christmas standard.

The other tracks feature songs written by people who you might recognize, depending on what music you're into. Randy Newman is the most famous of them; he wrote Snow, which I might have heard somewhere. Among the other writers are Ron Sexsmith (Maybe this Christmas), Jack White (In the cold, cold night) and Sufjan Stevens (Sister Winter).

Tracey wrote two new songs, these being Joy (the opening track) and Tinsel and lights (the title track). The booklet provides the lyrics for these two, but not for the other songs. The title track is an uplifting song about a New York Christmas. At the time Tracey recorded the album in 2012, none of us could have imagined what misfortune would hit New York later that year, so this song has an unintended poignancy

For those who enjoy mellow Christmas music avoiding most of the obvious songs, this may be just what you`re looking for.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soundtrack to Christmas 2012, 10 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Tinsel and Lights (Audio CD)
Tracey Thorn doing what she does best, lovely album that grows and grows on you,don't know how long into spring I will listen to it ,but it's been the soundtrack for Christmas 2012 and I will look forward to listening to it as soon as next Christmas approaches.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Christmas album that avoids Christmas kistch, 9 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Tinsel and Lights (Audio CD)
I was dubious but doubts have been proved unfounded... some surprisingly deep tones, a range of musical sounds including fab use of northern brass, plus Tracey Thorn's usual grounded insights into the rituals and ties that bind us - or don't, as the case may be. I remain a long-term fan.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Christmas music, 4 Jan 2013
This review is from: Tinsel and Lights (Audio CD)
Tracey Thorn is one of my favourite vocalists and this is a rare Christmas record which is reflective but not sentimental or schmaltzy. My favourite track is 'River' which speaks about feelings of dislocation from home at Chistmas. The inclusion of guest vocalist Green Gartside on the next track put me in hog heaven!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some great songs, 7 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Tinsel and Lights (Audio CD)
Tinsel and Lights and Joy stand out as terrific new Christmas songs, and Hard Candy Christmas is covered beautifully. I had this CD on several times during the holiday and it was a good, if rather downbeat, backing track to Christmas
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely, 3 Jan 2013
By 
Rough Diamond (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Tinsel and Lights (Audio CD)
.. and not just for Christmas. Tracey Thorn's warm, expressive voice wraps itself around this astutely-chosen selection of alternative festive favourites as cosily as a favourite sweater. The mellow and understated arrangements provide comforting midwinter listening, and they showcase Tracey's vocals perfectly. Her two originals, 'Joy' and the title track, are possibly the standouts, but it's a strong set pretty much all the way through, and at 37 minutes it doesn't outstay its welcome. Other treats here are a spot-on 'Hard Candy Christmas', a really fine reading of Sufjan Stevens' excellent 'Sister Winter' and a surprise appearance of Green Gartside on 'Taking Down the Tree'. For me, the album's only dud track is an anaemic cover of the White Stripes' song 'In the Cold Cold Night', which is doubly pointless in that it adds nothing to Meg White's original and it isn't really a Christmas song in the first place. But don't let that put you off. This is a quiet but powerful record that will give pleasure for many Christmases to come.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Tinsel and Lights
Tinsel and Lights by Tracey Thorn (Audio CD - 2012)
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews