Sufjan Stevens

Complete catalogs trump career overviews

Boxing Day

Sufjan Stevens

Silver & Gold (Asthmatic Kitty)

Sufjan Stevens doesn't simply love Christmas. It's one of his most fruitful muses. Succeeding 2006 minibox Songs For Christmas, the Detroit native's second 5-CD set, Silver & Gold, collects an abundance of ephemera: DIY tree ornament, a large and rather frightening poster, stickers, temporary tattoos, and an 84-page booklet with liner notes, lyrics, and chord charts. Someone also let loose with clip art, from the fonts to the psychedelic cut-and-paste renderings throughout. The entire project looks like an Archie McPhee catalog gone haywire. Musically, it's equally kaleidoscopic. Fitting neatly next to Stevens' most recent album, 2010's The Age of Adz, there's lots of electronic bleeps, some utterly gorgeous choral pieces that epitomize the Christmas spirit, an unlikely mash-up of "Good King Wenceslas" and Prince's "Alphabet St.," and some uncommon re-imaginings of "The Midnight Clear," "I'll Be Home for Christmas," and "Jingle Bells." Original tunes with preposterous titles ("Ding-A-Ling-A-Ring-A-Ling") are equalized by the beauty of the title track and a version of "Sleigh Ride" that would make Devo proud. With more than two-and-a-half hours of music and enough extras to keep children of all ages occupied deep into the long winter's night, Stevens once again pulls off a wondrously wide-eyed antidote to the boring Christmas album.

****

READ MORE
More Sufjan Stevens
Divya Srinivasan Is Living<br>the Dream of Art
Divya Srinivasan Is Living
the Dream of Art
The multimedia creator's work wakes a world's imagination

Wayne Alan Brenner, Jan. 18, 2013

For Your Life
For Your Life
The album, dead? Define dead.

Raoul Hernandez, Jan. 5, 2007

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
My Jerusalem
A Little Death (Record Review)

Jim Caligiuri, July 15, 2016

Texas Platters
The Echocentrics
Echo Hotel (Record Review)

Thomas Fawcett, June 24, 2016

More by Jim Caligiuri
Texas Platters
Hard Proof
Public Hi-Fi Sessions 03 (Record Review)

July 15, 2016

Texas Platters
Sarah Jarosz
Undercurrent (Record Review)

June 24, 2016

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Sufjan Stevens

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)