Monday, November 26, 2012


Christmas Music From Sufjan Stevens, Tracey Thorn

Happy Monday! Over on NPR, they're battening down for the holidays, with a stream of Sufjan Stevens' five-disc, 58-song (!) Christmas-music set Silver & Gold (three hours from start to finish, it's apparently "best doled out over the course of days"), which is available for $14.99 on iTunes, if you're interested. They're also streaming pop-folk [and former Everything But the Girl] singer Tracey Thorn's lovely Christmas album Tinsel and Lights (ditto, iTunes, $9.99), and R&B singer KEM's What Christmas Means (iTunes, $7.99).

In less-Christmassy news, cigarettes apparently rot your brain, but that doesn't seem right.

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It begins.

I am MILITANT about not listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving. Then on the way home from the airport Sunday I taught my British boyfriend all the words to Silver Bells.

Let the cheer commence.


@Hammitt Totes cosigning on MILITANT. My Friday-after-Thanksgiving tradition is pumpkin pie for breakfast, decorating the entire apartment, and ALL THE CHRISTMAS MUSIC.


Is it okay to confess I enjoyed Zooey Deschanel's Christmas album? I also have a soft spot for the terribly-named Medieval Baebes' Christmas stuff. 'The Holly and the Ivy' is gorgeous.


@feartie I didn't hate it, and I'm pretty quick to side-eye Zooey Deschanel.


@feartie I enjoy a lot of Christmas music by folks I otherwise don't care about/for. This is why I have something like eight gigs of it.

Hot Doom

@feartie OK,I love Medieval Baebes, I just never admit it because of the terrible name. It sort of just outs me as two-year Lilith Faire-goer. But yes, MB's music is absolutely lovely and yule-y.


Is it just nostalgia for my parents playing their albums all throughout my childhood that makes me think of Everything But The Girl as one of the best bands ever? So catchy and bittersweet!


Its been 17 years but 'Miss you' is starting to grow on me.


@teaandcakeordeath Forget that song! It's all about "Come On Home", "Twin Cities", "Cross My Heart" etc.

She was a retail whore

@teaandcakeordeath That song is my go-to at karaoke. Love it! There's a lovely acoustic version floating around the interwebz that is to die for.


Could the Hairpin do a post of 'Pinner-submitted photos of our Christmassy/holiday-y home decor? .. :D? Because I am really excited about my first actual attempt to decorate my own actual Christmas tree in my tiny apartment and I want to share the lovvvveee.


Allow me to be the (first) voice of dissent, then.





@pekoe Are you from the UK? Because I can understand the resentment against WHAM! and Bandaid on a loop for a month. But otherwise, no complainin'. I worked in a Christmas shop in Edinburgh. 4 months of WHAM! Four. Months.

Springtime for Voldemort

@pekoe Agreed. I have heard 30 minutes of Christmas music, and am sick of it already. Perhaps if it didn't happen every single year, things would be more tolerable. I shall have to remember to take my headphones with me everywhere now.


@Springtime for Voldemort
Agreed! And I love your user name.

Sometimes I like busting out Christmas music myself -- especially the Handel -- when I've decided to, but it feels coercive when it is foisted on you in shops and public places in order to get you to shop or feel fake-cheery even when you don't. Sufjan Stevens's album is zany enough that it feels kind of like gentle anti-Christmas music, at least in small doses...

Springtime for Voldemort

@harebell Thanks!

I enjoy some Christmas music, it just seems to be the type of Christmas music that is never played in stores.

She was a retail whore

@feartie Christmas music season in Canada was pretty fucking terrible, too. Their Thanksgiving is in October, which means that all the stupid Celine Dion Christmas warbling starts the second week of October. That's too soon!!!! The overabundance and long weeks of Christmas music definitely contributed to the depression I experienced due to the birth control I was on at the time.

baked bean

@She was a retail whore Christmas-too-early makes a Scrooge out of many.
People just need to be patient!


I bought the Sesame Street Christmas Sing-Along album last night because I have been sadly missing Bert and Ernie singing Silver Bells since I put away all my childhood cassette tapes. IT'S CHRISTMASTIIIIME IN THE CITYYYY


@anachronistique Oh I gotta get this thing, I used to love a Sesame Street Christmas special.

The Attic Wife

@anachronistique "True Blue Miracle" is, hands down, the GREATEST Christmas song ever written.


@anachronistique John Denver and the Muppets is my go-to Christmas music. An absolute must for when you're decorating. (Bittersweet family tradition.)


Did anybody else grow up listening to Amy Grant's Christmas album every night in December? I don't personally own the album and am not religious, but I still get nostalgic and teary-eyed every time I hear "Breath of Heaven" or "Grown-Up Christmas List."

oh! valencia

@Gussie My mom sang "Breath of Heaven" at our Christmas Eve service one year, and EVERYONE was crying. It's a pretty emotionally manipulative song.


ok, I caved and pulled my holiday music into iTunes yesterday.

And Sufjan's "Did I Make You Cry on Christmas? (Well You Deserved It!)" is the best Christmas carol ever.


As a Detroiter, I have to put in a good word for KEM here. A former homeless person himself, he's remarkably committed to Detroit's massive homeless population, constantly doing concerts & fundraisers & often doing hands-on service work just because. I used to see him all the time in my old neighborhood (the infamous 48208 zip code - the country's poorest). If anyone deserves some smooth jazz Christmas album support, it's him, so buy his album if you're inclined!!

The Attic Wife

Annie Lennox Christmas Album for the win!

the roughest toughest frail

@The Attic Wife Yes! Her version of "The Coventry Carol" is so haunting.

Hot Doom

Has anyone listened to the bizarrely epic 'Christmas Unicorn' by Sufjan Stevens yet? It's 12 minutes of jangly, Stevensy madness which I didn't like at first, but by the end of the 12 minutes, I was hooked. It's free to download on his website. Join me in my Stockholm Syndrome.

Tuna Surprise

@Hot Doom
Listening to it right now. Love it!


@Hot Doom So I was super-cranky when I got to work today, but I think if I just listen to that on repeat, everything will be okay. Which means, of course, that I will probably end up buying this collection, which will bring my collection of Sufjan Stevens xmas music up to NINE albums, totaling FIVE hours. Oh Sufjan.

Hot Doom

@SarcasticFringehead, Tuna Surprise, I was skeptical! I do, however, LOVE 'That was the worst Christmas ever' from a few years back. I usually start the Xmas music on December 1st, but since there is an extra week after Thanksgiving this year, I'll just start now.


Woooo Christmas music! I love it all.


May I recommend: "Fuck You If You Don't Like Christmas," by this hilarious guy called Crudbump. It is tragically not on spotify, but it IS on iTunes... and the youtube video features a flipbook, so.



A few years back, I camped out in the freezing fucking cold with some buddies to get tickets to see Sufjan at the Kennedy Center (all the drunk, college-age kids running around playing football and shotgunning Bud Light really seemed to confuse all the older, nicely dressed people leaving that night's show). Anyway, his backing band was the motherfucking NSO and it was the BEST THING EVER. Ok, back to my annual Sufjan Christmastime Binge.

Maggie McCube

@katiemcgillicuddy Hey, I camped out for that, too! High five, sister. That show ruled.


@Maggie McCube Ha, apparently Irish girls love them some Sufjan! I remember it was the first time I'd heard "Majesty Snowbird" and I was so freaking blown away, definitely listened to it on repeat for weeks after that.


@katiemcgillicuddy Hurray! Rabid Sufjan fans are my people!

Mad as a Hatter!

I could go either way on Christmas music, but in a couple weeks I'm going on a double date to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra! Fingers crossed it will be a jolly time!


@Mad as a Hatter! Ooh, that would be amazing. Christmas music with electric guitars is my favorite Christmas music.

She was a retail whore

@Mad as a Hatter! The ex bf and I went to see them one time, but it wasn't our cup of tea. The couple next to us (strangers) got the giggles and passed them to us. We all made it through two songs, and then gave up. Still, a fun memory.

I think we lost it for good when they gave a solo to a dude with a double guitar.

Mad as a Hatter!

@She was a retail whore Oh goodness I hope it doesn't turn out like that, these tickets were outrageous! It was my friend's idea, both the bf and I are a bit hesitant on it. Bah I'll just dress up and go. I'll get liquored up at dinner first as a precaution!

She was a retail whore

Ask me how I know that Tracey Thorn's Christmas album is available for $5.99 from Amazon MP3.

many things do not fly

I like Sufjan's new Xmas album, but I prefer the older compilation since I'm more an Old Sufjan person (is that a thing?). "Did I make you cry..." and "Sister Winter" are two of my favorite Xmas songs, period.

HOWEVER, I went to see him on Friday in Philly and I was so disappointed. It was like the band hadn't practiced at all. It was so bad that there were apologies made and I felt bad for Sufjan (who has such a beautiful voice!) because he seemed disappointed. It was as though the whole kitschy holiday tour thing had seemed like a good idea in his head but wasn't working out in execution. The night was elevated by the group of people standing next to me who all dressed up as Christmas Unicorns and the sing-along that occurred during the encore of "...for the widows of Ypsilanti."

Ok, that was a lot babbling, but I was so excited about this show that I went by myself and then it just turned out to be...so underwhelming.

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