Sufjan Stevens: Songs for Christmas

I've never been a big Christmas music fan. I have a major problem with carols being played on the radio the day after Halloween. Come on! Give Thanksgiving a chance at least! I do not listen to Christmas music unless there are others in the car with me.

What is it about Christmas classics that make you sing along? As much as I resist the temptation, I just can't deny singing along with the little drummer boy. (bu rump pa pa pum!) And as much as I cannot stand Mariah Carey, I just can't refuse to croon "All I want for Christmas is you." It must be something to do with my brainwashed childhood.

Speaking of addicting music, what is the deal with Manheim Steamroller? First of all, where do they get their name? Secondly, are they robots who know how to perfectly sequence synthesizers to make perfect melodies? I'm saying yes. I'm gonna go check iTunes to see if they play anything other than fantastic christmas renditions. I would buy a Manheim Steamroller 4th of July cd in a second.

Sufjan Stevens released his Christmas cd, Songs for Christmas, in 2006. It consists of 5 discs with about 8 songs on each disc.

Sufjan (pronounced soof-yan, go figure) is an eclectic folk rocker with brains. He has released two cd's dedicated to the states, Michigan and Illinois, and is rumored to have a quest to record a cd for all 50 states. A boy can dream can't he? So it goes right along with his repertoire that he releases a Christmas cd covering classics and also filled with original sufjan songs.

It is a very welcome addition to my music library especially for Christmas because I'll listen to anything as long as it's not Christina Aguilachupacabra belting out her annoying version of Santa Baby. Sufjan's voice is easy to listen to and puts his own little twist to old songs and makes the whole experience cozy because it sounds like he has gathered the family around the piano for carols followed by wassail. (everyone's favorite)

The highlights of the song collection are his version of "Come thou fount of every blessing" "Oh holy night" "Away in a manger" and "Holy, holy, holy." Though it is his original songs that stick out and add to good holiday listening. The standout is on disc 5, it's called "Sister Winter." It's a haunting song that can be played repeatedly and is the perfect soundtrack for snowy nights. "Star of Wonder" is also quite good. He adds his own brand of bluegrass humor to songs like "Come on, Let's boogie to the elf dance!" and my personal favorite title "Get Behind Me, Santa!"

The downside of the cd's as with much of sufjans albums is that there is filler songs, i.e. bells playing for a minute, that are unnecessary and you wish he would sing the songs instead of keeping them instrumental. But all is forgiven once you hear his honey voice. Wow, you'd think I had a crush on him. I don't, if anything it's a non-sexual man crush. We could be like best friends or something.

Merry Christmas!

I give Songs for Christmas 4 Stars of Bethlehem.


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