A&E

Christmas Album Reviews

I think because of the impending anxiety of being a senior at Eastern I’ve fully embraced the holiday season in all its snowy, light-filled glory. For those who know me, I would generally categorize my music preferences as “hipster”, so many friends are shocked to find how much I enjoy Christmas music. Christmas music is usually categorized as “cheesy” and “consumeristic” by those who are opposed. But friends, there is hope this holiday season for you to enjoy music without your soul quietly dying as “Last Christmas” plays on the radio. Here are some holiday albums that I highly recommend:

 “Songs for Christmas” by Sufjan Stevens

Years ago Sufjan started a Christmas tradition in which he decided to create Christmas music covers and release them every year to his friends. Eventually he collected all of these songs into one collection for the rest of the world to enjoy. Sufjan’s talent and creativity is apparent in this Christmas collection, but it definitely has a homemade feel. This folk album will put you in the mood for reflecting on the meaning of Christmas. There are a variety of songs- some classic carols, some hymns, some instrumental-only songs, and some originals by Sufjan and his friends. Some favorite songs from this collection include “Lo! How A Rose E’er Blooming”, “Holy, Holy, Holy”, and Sufjan’s original “Sister Winter”.

“Songs for Christmas” by Branches

Branches started in 2010 in the suburbs of Los Angeles, California. They classify themselves as indie-folk-rock and they sound like The Lumineers, Mumford and Sons and The Head and the Heart. Their refreshing take on old Christmas hymns adds a special zest to your Christmas carol repertoire. My favorite song from this album is “Silent Night”. Even better, this album can be found for free on Noisetrade!

“Christmas Collection 2014” by Sleeping at Last

Ryan O’Neal, the solo artist of Sleeping at Last, brings lush songs of Christmas to your listening ears. His music is classified as indie rock or alternative rock. All the songs are covers, with a mix of classic hymns and some newer carols. Since any song with a ukulele makes my heart smile, one of my favorites includes “Happy Xmas (War is Over)”. Another favorite is “I Heard the Bells”. If you want to chill in the Christmas spirit, then this album is the one for you. This album is also available for free on Noisetrade.

Cheers to you, Christmas listeners!

Sources: www.noisetrade.com, www.soundslikebranches.bandcamp.com, www.sleepingatlast.com, www.music.sufjan.com

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