Sufjan Stevens

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Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing
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Silent Night
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O Holy Night (Cantique De Noel)
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We're Goin' To The Country!
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Lo, How A Rose E'er Blooming
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Star Of Wonder
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Come On! Let's Boogey To The Elf Dance!
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That Was The Worst Christmas Ever!
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Angels We Have Heard On High
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Once In Royal David's City
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Did I Make You Cry On Christmas Day? (Well, You Deserved It!)
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Sister Winter
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Amazing Grace
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Joy! Joy! Joy!
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We Three Kings
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The Winter Solstice
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Eternal Happiness Or Woe
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The Friendly Beasts
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The Little Drummer Boy
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Away In A Manger
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The Incarnation
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Christmas In July
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Happy Karma Christmas
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Jupiter Winter
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Holy, Holy, Holy
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Only At Christmas Time
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Put The Lights On The Tree
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It's Christmas! Let's Be Glad!
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Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
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Joy To The World
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Hey Guys! It's Christmas Time!
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Get Behind Me, Santa
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Jingle Bells
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A Holly Jolly Christmas
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Ah Holy Jesus
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Ah Holy Jesus (A Capella)
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Ah Holy Jesus (With Reed Organ)
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All The Kings Horns
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Alphabet St.
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Auld Lang Syne
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Ave Maria
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Barcarola (You Must Be A Christmas Tree)
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Behold The Birth Of Man, The Face Of Glory
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Break Forth O Beauteous Heavenly Light
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Bring A Torch, Jeanette, Isabella
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Carol Of St. Benjamin The Bearded One
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Christ The Lord Is Born
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Christmas Face
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Christmas In The Room
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Christmas Unicorn
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Christmas Woman
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Coventry Carol
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Ding! Dong!
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Ding-A-Ling-A-Ring-A-Ling
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Do You Hear What I Hear?
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Even The Earth Will Perish And The Universe Give Way
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Go Nightly Cares
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Good King Wenceslas
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Happy Family Christmas
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Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
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Holy, Holy, Etc.
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How Shall I Fitly Meet Thee?
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I Am Santa's Helper
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I Saw Three Ships
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Idumea (Sacred Harp)
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I'll Be Home For Christmas
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It Came Upon The Midnight Clear
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Justice Delivers Its Death
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Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
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Lift Up Your Heads Ye Mighty Gates
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Lumberjack Christmas / No One Can Save You From Christmases Past
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Make Haste To See The Baby
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Maoz Tzur (Rock Of Ages
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Morning (Sacred Harp)
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Mr. Frosty Man
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Mysteries Of The Christmas Mist
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Particle Physics
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Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
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Sleigh Ride
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The Child With The Star On His Head
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The Midnight Clear
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The Sleigh In The Moon
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Up On The Housetop
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We Need A Little Christmas
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We Wish You A Merry Christmas
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What Child Is This Anyway?
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X-Mas Spirit Catcher
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Christmas Music Playlists with Sufjan Stevens Songs

All That Glitters Is Silver & Gold

Factfile - Sufjan Stevens
  • Songs for Christmas, Vols. 1-5 was released in 2006. Containing 42 songs, it compiled 5 EP’s from the previous 5 years.
  • Silver & Gold: Songs for Christmas, Vols. 6-10 was released in 2012; it contained 58 songs.
  • Stevens has said he undertook the project initially as an exercise to make himself "appreciate Christmas more".
  • Both box-sets open with Silent Night.
  • To support the 2012 release, Stevens went on a tour of 24 US cities: "The Sirfjam Stephanapolous Christmas Sing-A-Long Seasonal Affective Disorder Spectacular Music Pageant Variety Show Disaster". He also released a festive hip-hop mixtape called Chopped and Scrooged.

Detroit singer Sufjan Stevens is an artist with grand ambitions. While his project to write an album for every one of the 50 States in America might never be attainable it says much about Steven’s prolific nature that he would even consider it. As well as the myriad of releases that he puts out during the year Stevens is also a fervent admirer of the Christmas season and has a giant catalogue of seasonal numbers to his name that appears to grow each year. Many of the tunes are religious in tone whether they be elaborate reworking’s of old carols or brand new originals that he has written himself.

The bulk of Stevens Christmas songs have been compiled in a pair of boxsets, ‘Songs for Christmas’ and ‘Silver and Gold: Songs for Christmas, Vols. 6-10’ that were released in 2006 and 2012. The original ‘Songs For Christmas’ came out in 2006 and compiled 5 EP’s Stevens had released over the previous 5 years. Over 42 tracks Stevens ran through a list of well-known Christmas standards (‘Little Drummer Boy’, ‘Away In A Manger’, ‘The First Noel’) offering a mostly restrained take on the songs that have become synonymous with the season. Each of the 5 volumes have much to recommend and Vol. 1 opens in wonderfully simple mode with an abridged version of ‘Silent Night’. Stevens doesn’t always rely on the work of others as ‘Song of Christmas’ is scattered with originals that easily hold their own amongst the classics. The first to appear is ‘We’re Goin’ To The Country!’ which is pieced together by Stevens frail vocals, a soft banjo and a dash of sleigh bells. Another original ‘It’s Christmas! Let’s Be Bad!’ (my, how he likes punctuation!) is a decidedly madcap adventure given the solemnity of the previous tracks and marks itself as a standout.

Though you might think it Stevens is not above inserting lots of humour into his compositions. ‘That Was The Worst Christmas Ever’ has become a live favourite and describes the believable events of a Christmas that does not go according to plan. On ‘Did I Make You Cry on Christmas? (Well, You Deserved It!)’ Stevens drops the choirboy attitude for a minute with funny results. The crowning glory of the albums fun times come on the 70’s sounding ‘Get Behind Me, Santa!’ with the leash being well and truly cast off from a frothing Stevens.

While ‘Songs For Christmas’ has a generally quiet demeanour Stevens does occasionally let rip. ‘I Saw Three Ships’ might not have been the one you’d have expected this to happen on but his version is a light limbered joy full of jaunty percussion and foraging recorders. ‘Once In Royal David’s City’ could never have been described as an up-tempo number but in Stevens hands it is frequently suffused with energy. The albums centrepiece is undeniably the Stevens penned ‘Come On! Let’s Boogey To The Elf Dance!’ which is perhaps his greatest contribution to the canon of modern Christmas classics. It is a family treat that for once ditches the religious for the secular and Santa and his Elves take centre stage. The singalong chorus is something for big and small members of your family. Of the other originals on ‘Songs For Christmas’, ‘Put The Lights On The Tree’ offers a sprightly musical backdrop to the frequent angst involved in that annual ordeal. ‘Hey Guys! It's Christmas Time!’ is at the kernel of Sufjan’s love of the season and offers a rock n’ roll dimension to the album. ‘Christmas In July’ offers hope to those of us unable to contemplate the fact that Christmas is still half a year away.

Quite incredibly and in similar circumstances (the compilation was preceded by several years’ worth of festive EP’s) ‘Silver and Gold: Songs for Christmas, Vols. 6-10’ was released in December 2012. This time there were even more tracks (58 in all, that make up over 3 hours of music) and the whole thing was again kick-started by ‘Silent Night’ which had more legs this time and was delivered in a typically reverential style. Like its predecessor this compilation has plenty of highlights throughout each of the 5 volumes but there some genuine standouts. ‘Lumberjack Christmas / No One Can Save You From Christmases Past’ appears early and marks itself out as an original that could one day become a classic with its cast of dozens offering a renewed take on Santa’s famous calling card.

Almost half of the album is written or co-written (some with Bryce and Aaron Dessner of the National) by Stevens which indicates his fervour for December’s events don’t appear to be waning. And with such an exhaustive track listing isn’t it something that tracks at 7-minutes-plus like ‘Barcarola (You Must Be A Christmas Tree)’ still get a look in. The song proves that Sufjan can singlehandedly provide an alternative to the dozen or so songs that are played to death each year. A retreat of sorts, quiet and reflective like on ‘How Shall I Fitly Meet Thee?’ or his remarkable rendition of 'Angels We Have Heard On High'. At the other end of the spectrum is the radically danceable Dooresque sounding ‘Christmas Woman’. He again pushes the boat out with ‘Mr Frosty Man’ which sounds a bit like the Troggs ‘Wild Thing’. The song was promoted with an appropriately weird and wonderful clay motion video. Also in the mad as a box of frogs category is ‘I Am Santa’s Helper’ which wouldn’t have sounded out of place on the original Star Trek’s Christmas Special (if something like that had ever happened).

With so many songs to choose from ‘Silver and Gold: Songs for Christmas, Vols. 6-10’ can be overwhelming at times but only if you fail to realise that you have a month out of each year to get through it all (that is unless Stevens releases another mega boxset in the meantime!). The compilation came complete with an 80 page booklet with essays from Stevens and others about all manner of Christmas subjects, not all of them complimentary of the season but certainly on-topic. With reading and listening in one package this second Christmas boxset from Sufjan Stevens is an indispensable companion for the season.

There is far greater joy...
in giving than receiving... the will of humankind... contains this boundless capacity for immeasurable generosity and love.
Sufjan Stevens
Author:

Sufjan Stevens Christmas Album & Single Covers

Sufjan Stevens Silver And Gold
Sufjan Stevens Songs For Christmas
Sufjan Stevens Vol 1 Noel
Sufjan Stevens Vol 10 Christmas Unicorn
Sufjan Stevens Vol 2 Hark
Sufjan Stevens Vol 3 Ding Dong
Sufjan Stevens Vol 4 Joy
Sufjan Stevens Vol 5 Peace
Sufjan Stevens Vol 6 Gloria
Sufjan Stevens Vol 7 I Am Santas Helper
Sufjan Stevens Vol 8 Christmas Infinity Voyage
Sufjan Stevens Vol 9 Let It Snow
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