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Songs For Christmas Box set

4.9 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (19 Nov. 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 5
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Rough Trade Records
  • ASIN: B000K9L3IO
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 148,899 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Silent Night
  2. O Come O Come Emmanuel
  3. We’re Goin’ To the Country! *
  4. Lo How A Rose E’er Blooming
  5. It’s Christmas! Let’s Be Glad! *
  6. Holy Holy, etc.
  7. Amazing Grace

Disc: 2

  1. Angels We Have Heard on High
  2. Put the Lights on the Tree *
  3. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
  4. I Saw Three Ships
  5. Only at Christmas Time *
  6. Once in Royal David’s City
  7. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!
  8. What Child Is This Anyway?
  9. Bring A Torch, Jeanette, Isabella

Disc: 3

  1. O Come, O Come Emmanuel
  2. Come on! Let’s Boogey to the Elf Dance! *
  3. We Three Kings
  4. O Holy Night
  5. That Was the Worst Christmas Ever! *
  6. Ding! Dong! *
  7. All the King’s Horns *
  8. The Friendly Beasts

Disc: 4

  1. The Little Drummer Boy
  2. Away In A Manger
  3. Hey Guys! It’s Christmas Time! *
  4. The First Noel
  5. Did I Make You Cry On Christmas Day? (Well, You Deserved It!) *
  6. The Incarnation *
  7. Joy To The World

Disc: 5

  1. Once in Royal David’s City
  2. Get Behind Me, Santa! *
  3. Jingle Bells
  4. Christmas in July *
  5. Lo! How A Rose E’er Blooming
  6. Jupiter Winter *
  7. Sister Winter *
  8. O Come O Come Emmanuel
  9. Star of Wonder *
  10. Holy, Holy, Holy
  11. The Winter Solstice *

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 10 Feb. 2007
Format: Audio CD
For some years now, Sufjan Stevens has been recording little EPs of Christmas songs for people he knew, to "make himself appreciate Christmas more."

Now thankfully he's sharing these songs with his eager listeners, in a five-disc collection that includes his folky reinterpretations of classic carols -- and then the festive ones he made himself. This is not the treacly garbage they put on the radio or in malls -- this is enchanting, festive, fresh music for the holidays.

The first EP -- recorded in 2001 -- is very much old-school Sufjan. Much folkier and banjoey, especially in the lo-fi "O Come O Come Emmanuel," folksy little songs about going to the country, and "Amazing Grace." But there are exceptions -- a shimmering reinterpration of an old hymn, and some bouncy sleigh bell pop.

But the collection blossoms with the sparkling "Angels We Have Heard on High," which is the lead-in to his more polished style. In the four EPs that follow, Sufjan flourishes out into synthy pop, xylophone tunes, dancey holiday music, mellow folk, and exquisite piano balladry. There's the occasional banjo tune, but they grow rarer as time goes on.

And as the collection moves forward, Stevens' music becomes more accomplished with each passing year. His music becomes more complex and more enchanting, right up to the rather pensive and downbeat fifth disc -- which is album-length -- with the shimmering piano of "Winter Solstice" and the offbeat synthpop of "Jupiter Winter."

Sufjan does repeat himself occasionally -- there are multiple versions of "O Come O Come Emmanual," "Lo! A Rose E'er Blooming," and "Once in Royal David's City." Fortunately each time he records the same song, it's radically reimagined.
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Format: Audio CD
You'd think that having created 2005's instant classic Illinois Sufjan would be over-protective and angst ridden about his growing reputation. Instead, in 2006 we got 75 minutes of Illinois 'outtakes and extras', and now this, a collection of his informal Christmas songs he recorded as gifts for family and friends each December since 2001. Rather than compile and cherry pick from these he has presented them in their original form, giving us 5 short CDs with a running time of 2 hours. Additionally, the box has all the lyrics, complete with chords and tongue-in-cheek advice, stories, pictures and stickers making this a very festive package, at a price that is a gift in itself.

And so to the music - each CD features a range of traditional Christmas tunes, some more familiar than others, interspersed with Sufjan's quirky compositions. The usual collaborators and friends are found here. Matt Morgan (the guy providing the excellent duet on Illinois's Decatur) features prominently on Disk 1, and later come Vito Aiuto, Shara Worden, Denison Witmer et al. Highlights and lowpoints may well depend on the listener's own associations with these well-known songs, although some of these interpretations are a delight. The track that seems to epitomise this whole project is The Friendly Beasts - which is both rustic and sophisticated at the same time, and may bring a tear to your eye when Shara Worden sings her wispy lines.

Disk 5 (Peace) recorded in July 2006 stands apart because (unlike the others) it was recorded with this release in mind. Thus, it is more polished and much like a typical Sufjan CD, if there can be such a thing. Sister Winter is a top drawer Sufjan song, its portentous opening chords blossoming into something beautiful. Star of Wonder is a miniature symphony.
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Format: Audio CD
As if there wasn't enough cheesy Christmas music already, Sufjan churns out another 5 EP's (which makes that now 12 records in 8 years) of Christmas covers and completely original Christmas-themed songs composed by Sufjan over the past 5 years. Not quite as serious/purposeful as his focal projects (Illinois, Michigan, Seven Swans), but he must love it. I do...

Being an avid fan of Sufjan Stevens (and I ♥ Christmas music), I couldn't ask for a more appropriate Christmas present off the back of buying `The Avalanche' for my birthday in July, and I have to refrain myself from foaming at the mouth from the amount of BREATHTAKING new material he manages to keep producing in such a short space of time (NB. these EP's are the result of mini recordings over various winter breaks in between his main records). Despite having heard the whole box set already from a sincerely generous stream on the website of Sufjan's label Asthmatic Kitty, one must surely look forward to the "suf-goodies" included in the box set: an essay by Rick Moody, a music video and a comic book by Tom Eaton, extensive liner notes and short stories by Sufjan Stevens, a "Christmas Songbook with lyric sheets and chord charts," stickers, and last but not least, the "Official Original Christmas Family Portrait of Santa Sufjan painted by Jacques Bredy!" It's going to be a good Christmas.

Onto the music, and as noted, the 5 EP's are made up of a mix of covers and original compositions. They show the progression of the Sufjan 'sound', and the technical/production quality of the songs (particularly in the last two EP's) delineate how he has become one of the great modern songwriters of our generation.
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