Sufjan Stevens
Songs for Christmas

Asthmatic Kitty
Reviewed by: Andrew Gaerig
Reviewed on: 2006-12-05

Posted 12/05/2006 - 06:39:23 AM by florenz6:
 It´s easy to make jokes about Christmas Songs as a nostalgic trick to let the money flow! It´s easy to predict that the usual pros and cons about Sufjan will be listed. I hope there will be at least a few pro´s, haha! Take a look at the inside of the box: the family photograph, the Christmas stickers, the fine essay from Rick Moody (great writer!)etc. The price for this box is minmal, the whole design is done with great care. And it works for me. The songs are delivered with heart and soul, simple as that. Traditional Christmas Carols, sung without deconstructing them, sung in such a soft manner, produce suspicions of being cheesy or overly saccharine. So what?! iIf you stay away from over-production, pathetic overkill and cheap tricks, you will do a good job - with every material! It is a quite courageous act from Mr. Stevens to release these songs. They have their biting and dark moments to undermine the feel-positive-we-love-each-other-flair. If I hear Diana Krall singing Christmas tunes, I will immediately run away! But here, the easy things are far more complex. Gnenerally, I like it if some of my favourite voices sing traditional songs. For example, go to the website of Jools Holland, and listen to Track No. 7 of his new album - Brian Eno singing "Dreaming my Dreams With You" (I think, Waylon Jennings has done it a long time ago.) It´s so great, utterly emotional. You can produce raw emotions without breaking them in pieces, without chasing them through distortions. As some of my more or less estimated opponents might know, Scot Walker´s THE DRIFT is my album of the year. So I´m not into the soft things. I´m even not a huge fan of Christmas (except that friends always make my favourite dish on December, 24 - Indonesian "Deng-Deng-Ragi" :) So, JessGraves, stay cool, and go back to the discussion of the "10 best-sounding-albums 97-07". You will find there a nice proposal for the two of us singing a Beatles tune, a really new-work-out!
Posted 12/05/2006 - 06:45:34 AM by florenz6:
 uups - "97-07" - always an ear in the future:)
Posted 12/05/2006 - 07:46:24 AM by terrorist:
 i used to see this pathetic upper middle class indie warrior douchebag on the subway all the time, and riding his bike. UUUGH. i hate sufjannnnasnsndfnretard. i hate it when people bother trying to pronounce his name right, too. i DON'T buy your "i'm artistic and folksy" shtick. don't even try it. and florenz, that would be a lotta soprano hon for that song.
Posted 12/05/2006 - 07:55:20 AM by terrorist:
 hahah diana krall
Posted 12/05/2006 - 08:08:53 AM by terrorist:
 admit it florenz, you just want to do him. it wouldn't matter what he sang, but i guess it helps in your case that it's some sort of simulacra of being downhome and poeticacoustic
Posted 12/05/2006 - 08:09:27 AM by terrorist:
Posted 12/05/2006 - 08:14:51 AM by florenz6:
 Well, I would like to quote one more time Grandbanks: "long history of reactionary idiocy on here!"
Posted 12/05/2006 - 09:54:05 AM by :
 Sure it's easy as American Pie to slap Sufjabberwocky in the face and pour hydroperephrine onto the sting, just to enhance that permanently embarrassed smile he wears in every press shot, but a Janfan is all too easily sold on the sweat of my handshake when it come to knowing how to kick a good little dog down. Not that I choose to do anything of the sort with you lot, you're all too dusted feathers. May as well clutch Shellyann Orphan's Humroot to your breast and play Puff the Magic Dragon on high public broadcast rotate with your name advertising the next big thing as a full page spread in the Herald. Pah, see Sufjanfan, you just been whiplashed and like all good cuts, it won't start hurting until this time tomorrow. Seven Swans, he. Seven Stumped Limbs morelike.
Posted 12/05/2006 - 10:12:18 AM by :
 I rather like Sufjan's stiltified midwesternfried charmes.
Posted 12/05/2006 - 10:33:15 AM by GlottalPlosive:
 It's a shame this wasn't better--I thought Sufjan Stevens had a good chance of becoming the Mannheim Steamroller of indie rock.
Posted 12/05/2006 - 10:35:59 AM by terrorist:
Posted 12/05/2006 - 11:34:30 AM by florenz6:
 Merry Christmas!
Posted 12/05/2006 - 11:42:12 AM by terrorist:
 Frohe Weihnachten, Florenzkopffernerrinnen. Schleppe ueber hier mit the Gluehwein und the thallium, bitte.
Posted 12/05/2006 - 11:49:56 AM by GlottalPlosive:
 According to Google Translator, terrorist just said "Glad Christmas, Florenzkopffernerrinnen. Schleppe over here with the glow wine and the thallium, asks."
Posted 12/05/2006 - 11:59:17 AM by terrorist:
 Google's translation equations are primitive. I said "Merry Christmas, Florenzheaderwomen, schlep over here with the Gluehwein (traditional Christmas beverage) and the thallium, please."
Posted 12/05/2006 - 01:25:21 PM by diggles:
 I hate Sufjan more than ANYONE, I hated his Austin City Limits appearance SOoo much, and the way that bitch in the band would gaze lovingly at him because they're probably fucking married or whatever. And if I would have seen him on the subway I probably would have thumped him good out of principle along ... THAT BEING SAID, this EP thoroughly melted my heart. So beautiful, so moving; granted x-mas songs are beautiful and moving to begin with, but most of these interpretations are haunting and spot-on. Listen to this before you lump it. Plus it's 19.95 or so for five goddamned CDs and great packaging. How the F can you complain?
Posted 12/05/2006 - 01:49:23 PM by roadrunner:
 I guess it's hip now to say that you think Sufjan is a conceited asshole, so I'm gonna strike while the pan is hot & say he's become one of my favorite artists. This collection is wonderful, & it preaches to the customer with how much it packages for the price it costs. The man knows what he's doing, to say the least. "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" is easily one of the most wonderful folk songs made in the last decade.
Posted 12/05/2006 - 02:05:41 PM by terrorist:
 i'm going to have to throw Florenz a bone on the Eno Jennings cover, it's fab
Posted 12/05/2006 - 02:07:12 PM by terrorist:
 diggles i would rather give my $20 to a dominican. maybe i'll steal it from the hipsters who live upstairs or something, just for you.
Posted 12/05/2006 - 02:45:01 PM by Utica5:
 this bloated songwriting of suffjy's, these overtracked undercomposed "epics", have been the scourge of his catalog since his earlies work (i'm thinking of "a sun came"). every third song on "michigan" was like this, and "illinois" was full of overstimulated grandeur. maybe in this release (i haven't heard it) you can recognize a downward trend. but i think his problem has always been a stubborn and arrogant inabity to recognize his talents (read: limitations).
Posted 12/05/2006 - 02:57:33 PM by Hone_Heke:
 My google ads are being invaded by y'alls bad taste:Christmas music Browse a huge selection now. Find exactly what you want today. Free Christmas Downloads Download Your Favorite Christmas Songs. 100% Free! So like Sufjan you do? Organs, guitars, lonesome vocals from the NC woods - Day Action Band Plugged In Shining A Light On Entertainment. Movie Reviews You Can Count On. Christmas Sheet Music Looking for Christmas sheet music? See our sheet music guide.
Posted 12/05/2006 - 03:04:01 PM by cumpny23:
 i cant believe ppl exist who listen to this, it doesnt rock at all. wtf????!
Posted 12/05/2006 - 03:35:51 PM by florenz6:
 :) :) :) This "permanently embarassing smile" is dedicated for Mr. or Mrs. JessGraves who in fact puts a lot of energy in producing fantasies about someone whom she doesn´t know at all. Ego-tripping, AssGroove?! While doing my homework, I´ve been returning to this page from time to time as a kind of recreation routine (and it made me laugh again and again). At first, I felt - for the first time in my life - like the actor Arnold Schwarzenegger (hurgh!) in "Kindergarden Cop". But now, in a rare alliance with Roadrunner, i´m in the mood to sing "You never walk alone". Got it, Jessfreak? P.S. the mentioning of this Austrian/American Republican doens´t mean I´m downplaying his political actions. I do hate his politics, his death penalty routines, all that shit! Just to make it clear.
Posted 12/05/2006 - 04:02:35 PM by diggles:
 haha, you can plant a bomb in my apartment anytime, terrorist
Posted 12/05/2006 - 04:02:54 PM by diggles:
 PS -- that wasn't some kind of sexual metaphor
Posted 12/05/2006 - 04:08:42 PM by cumpny23:
 wulda been funnier if it wuz
Posted 12/05/2006 - 04:22:31 PM by terrorist:
 i'm sure that could be arranged, diggles. when i go home for christmas i'm going to play through kabalevsky's solo works for piano on my upright. word.
Posted 12/05/2006 - 07:35:39 PM by diggles:
 HA! Oh, and it's hip to rip on certain artists for a reason ...
Posted 12/05/2006 - 11:13:49 PM by terrorist:
 it is? it must be if i do it
Posted 12/06/2006 - 12:06:56 AM by :
 Brilliant. In recent weeks I`ve just sat back, thrown a technicoloured ninja star at the computer screen and wham, it explodes into terrorist, diggles, cumpny23, florenz6, utica5, Hone_Heke, the disexists, meatbreak, raskolnikov, crackyard betty and cokeanncowgirl all swords out and hacking the guts and blooded intestines of each other`s dreamy conundrum, sticking 14 inch needles into the other`s eyes and laugh, choke, gurgling as the blood pulps from the other`s neck, all over what? A barrel of monkeys. Christ`s birthday people, I thought it was pretty obviously an everyday mindfuck I was rounderer than outerer your can`t see me go all behind electric chair happiness inside you, thread and through, and pull the wires tighter around and slowly slowly slowly just sit back and dream. Merry Xmas!
Posted 12/06/2006 - 12:16:30 AM by CokeAnnCowgirl:
 wtf? yeah whatever, like Andrew Gaerig writes a perfectly good review of this pretty, but unnecessary collection of songs from the insidiously talented Stevens. I loved his Silent Night on here, it crackles with firebells. I think perhaps there is a whole world of kids out there who are going to grow up with these songs as their definitive versions and Stevens is going to be one very rich man. Let`s hope he pours his heart and soul into every future release.
Posted 12/06/2006 - 12:24:56 AM by Hone_Heke:
 Sounds like CokeAnn didn't take her medicine again today.
Posted 12/06/2006 - 12:29:54 AM by crackyardbetty:
 "Mayhaps"?? why? maybe and perhaps fuzed together? i woulda preferred "Perbe" just becoz itz such a bad idea that ya may as well make it worser. but why? what purpose does it serve to write mayhaps? its not a joke, altho it may be jokey, its an idiosyncratic pointless quirk. mayhaps. why not Meybeps or Payhebs, Peybres, Papbes? a quirk just for quirks sake is a hideous caricature of self-consciousness
Posted 12/06/2006 - 12:35:38 AM by CokeAnnCowgirl:
 that because Pharmacist Hone_Heke wouldnt renew my prescription
Posted 12/06/2006 - 12:57:12 AM by terrorist:
 *birdcall* i know people girl watchoo need? watchoo want? story for crackyard--once when i was in thompkins square park i overheard this exchange between a black homeless man and a seedy looking hippie kinda guy: hippie says "anyone need trees?" and the homeless man says disgusted "i don wannt any of yo DAAM weed. I smoke crack. Couldn't help but crack up.
Posted 12/06/2006 - 02:43:48 AM by florenz6:
 Merry Christmas (coda): As the days grew longer, and big snow drops fell endlessly from a perfect and merciless sky, Christmas finally arrived. And Santa Claus had something special for JessGraves, a ticket for a ride to the moon - and an old Moody Blues record! She didn´t know what to say, because she didn´t believe in Santa Claus, but there he was, with a long beard, singing "Across The Universe" strangely mixed up with "Silent Night". Little Jess had to face the facts. She said: thank you, Santa Claus! Then she fell silent for a while. (If anybondy would have been around, everybody would have enjoyed this part of the true story!) Then silence came to an end, and she asked: "Santa Claus, will you accompany me?" "No, no", said Santa Claus, "I do have some other things to do. You will be all alone in your rocket sharing company with these Moody Blues songs! It´s a bit of hippie kitsch, but it will be fine, a good friend on your special trip." "From where do I leave this planet, Santa Claus?" "Well, I´ll show you. Come on, Baby, drive my car!"
Posted 12/06/2006 - 09:36:14 AM by terrorist:
 Florenz has a santa fetish.
Posted 12/06/2006 - 01:43:52 PM by diggles:
 such important, MUSIC-related discussions such as this are the reason I find review comments to be so consistently enthralling (?)
Posted 12/06/2006 - 04:34:36 PM by :
 same here :)
Posted 12/07/2006 - 04:40:24 AM by florenz6:
 It´s him who´s saying this, that´s pure fun - the small master of lateral drifting and pseudo-deep-sense-mumblings. Hey, my Christmas story was a musical one, by the way - lost your antennas?!