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.

****

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

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
Bright Light Social Hour
Jude Vol. 1 (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Feb. 8, 2019

Texas Platters
Charlie Faye & the Fayettes
The Whole Shebang (Record Review)

Libby Webster, Feb. 8, 2019

More by Jim Caligiuri
Carrie Elkin’s Life-and-Death Folk
Carrie Elkin’s Life-and-Death Folk
Her father's death and daughter's birth upped the stakes of the singer's finest work

April 14, 2017

SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
Soft Boys, Youngbloods, Moby Grape, Brian Jones’ grandson, etc.

March 18, 2017

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Sufjan Stevens

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle