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Wintersong CD

4.6 out of 5 stars 340 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Sarah McLachlan 3-time Grammy and 8-time Juno Award-winning multi-platinum McLachlan, who has sold over 30 million records around the world, usher in the spirit of the season with the release of her first holiday album, Winstersong recorded in her home studio in Vancouver, Sarah McLachlan presents these classic songs on Winstersong with a unique twist, making them her own and translating them into her repertoire. These recordings are not simply traditional holiday fare. Instead, Winstersong could be considered the soundtrack to a blustery winter day. The album opens with her version of John Lennon's timeless declaration of peace from 1971, "Happy Xmas (War is Over)." John and Yoko and the Plastic Ono Band originally recorded the song with the Harlem Community Choir, and Sarah is also joined by a choral group -- a children's choir of students from the music school she personally funds and oversees in her hometown of Vancouver. Another highlight of the new album is Sarah's version of "River" from Joni Mitchell's 1971 Blue album ("It's coming on Christmas, they're cutting down trees..."). The title track Wintersong was written by Sarah specifically for this album. On this recording, she also pays homage to Gordon Lightfoot with his 1975 "Song For A Winter's Night." From the American standard songbook, Sarah has chosen "I'll Be Home For Christmas" and "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas." The program is rounded out with the traditional "What Child Is This (Greensleeves)," "O Little Town of Bethlehem," "Silent Night," the classically flavored "In A Bleak Mid Winter," and a medley of "The First Noel/ Mary Mary." In addition, Wintersong features guest appearances from Diana Krall on piano on "Christmas Time Is Here" from the 1965 Charlie Brown Christmas cartoon and fellow Canadian Jim Creegan of Barenaked Ladies guests on double bass throughout the album.

An album like this could cement Sarah McLachlan as a middle-of-the-road crooner ready for the Andy Williams Christmas Show, but there's more beneath the surface of Wintersong than just Christmas chestnuts, over-roasting on an open fire. Longtime McLachlan producer Pierre Marchand blurs the borders with ambient sound effects, distorted guitars, and subtle echoes. He adds a Mark Isham-esque muted trumpet solo emerging out of reverse echoes on "I'll Be Home for Christmas" as if viewing the song through a distorted mirror. Violins that sound like they're being blown through a Leslie speaker combine unpredictably with a banjo on "O Little Town of Bethlehem." And on the seventh song, McLachlan finally kicks the album into another gear, turning "The First Noël" into a storming entreaty backed by tribal drums and surging low strings. Her voice is like the serene angel amidst the raging storm. I wish McLachlan had taken more chances like this, instead of the subtle framing she employs around melodies that remain true to form. Surprisingly, the more contemporary songs by John Lennon, Joni Mitchell, and Gordon Lightfoot are the least inventive. Her reading of Mitchell's incandescently wistful "River" is overly faithful to the original, and Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" sounds like karaoke, right down to the Spector-esque production and children's choir. But given that Lennon's prayer for peace still remains unanswered, that fidelity could be intentional. Regardless, this is familiar Christmas fare delivered in an intimate and ethereal fashion that will satisfy those who believe in the nostalgic spirit of the season. --John Diliberto

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 17, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Arista
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (340 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,530 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
If you're looking for a feast this holiday season that's not just for your stomach but for your ears as well, Sarah McLachlan is certain to steal your heart and satisfy your appetite with her new Christmas album, Wintersong. From the opening track, the John Lennon/Yoko Ono peace anthem "Happy Xmas/War Is Over," which is complete with The Sarah McLachlan Outreach Children's Choir and Youth Choir, this rendition ranks closely to Lennon and Ono's original 1971 musical masterpiece. McLachlan also offers up a few traditional songs such as "What Child Is This? (Greensleeves)," "Silent Night" and "In The Bleak Mid-Winter" with such clarity and beauty, that it may make you want to play this disc well after you've taken down your tree and stored your ornaments for next season. If ever there were any reservations that Sarah McLachlan was a Joni Mitchell fan, those doubts are erased with her splendid interpretation of the 1971 evergreen "River," which sprouted from the famous Blue album. This song is sung so exquisitely, Mitchell herself has to be beaming that one of her treasures is touched upon with such reverence. The title track is the only original song written by McLachlan that's included, and slips in as seamlessly as the tried and true, like a hand to a winter's glove. It's as inviting as the classics that were written decades before, and gives even more warmth to an album that's as cozy as the fire you've built on the eve before Christmas. The holidays are full of delicious treats, and many of them are the contemporary selections such as the wartime tour de force "I'll Be Home For Christmas," which has always resonated with many as a tribute to a family member or loved one that's been away and is sorely missed.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
Sarah McLachlan's Christmas album, "Wintersong."

I usually try to hold Christmas at bay until Thanksgiving is over, because I love Christmas and don't like to have it shoved down my throat months before its time. But this year since I'm DJ-ing at a Christmas party on the 9th, I have to have my playlist ready. I have a couple hundred Christmas cds; there are a few that I like, mainly by the artists that I like (ie Holly Cole, Alan Jackson, Kenny & Dolly, the Muppets, the Judds, Manhattan Transfer, and the soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas) and I actually have those on my iPod during the season. But the other ones I just sort of put on and don't really pay close attention to, at least not close enough that when I'm playing live at a party I can use my instinct to know what to play next. So I've been listening to Christmas cds prematurely.

I got the Sarah McLachlan last week, and honestly, I can't stop listening to it. It's so unbelievable incredible. It's absolutely stunning. Her version of Joni Mitchell's "River" (been covered many times by people such as Holly Cole, Heart, Vonda Shepard) is outstanding. The original song, which I love, is musically very simple, there's not much to it, it's all about the incredible lyrics. Playing it on the piano it just lies there, there's only four chords in the whole song, and the song is basically a riff that repeats itself several times. Sarah has re-constructed the song in a whole new way; she's made it her own. I don't often say this, but her cover version may be actually better than the original.

She's also taken the pretty (but tired) old Christmas carol, "What Child Is This? (Greensleeves)" and totally made it her own; it's a fascinating, evocative and hauntingly gorgeous version.
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Format: Audio CD
The great thing about this album is that being a Christmas/winter album, it feels authentic, and not like some lame way to cash in on a holiday. This is mainly because it was released in October, which makes it stand out, and also just because the music is so good. "Wintersong" is full of great, wintery tunes. Heck, the cover of Joni Mitchell's "River" is worth the purchase alone, but the whole thing is great.

So, be sure and put this on when the snow is falling, and the chestnuts are roasting, and all that good stuff. It'll make the bitter cold feel that much warmer.
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Format: Audio CD
Too long have I waited for a Christmas album from this glorious artist. Her voice and the production of her music is well suited for this kind of sound.

One thing great about Sarah's music is that I often find myself so anxious for the entire thing that sitting through one track is nearly unbareable. And not because the track is unbareable at all, but because I'm just so yearning for more no matter what. Her music is simply beautiful in every sense of the word. And I feel that Mrs. McLachlan captures the spirit of the season better than anyone since the days of the Rat Pack.

Some may argue that this album is too sad for the Christmas season, but if you dig deeper, the music is not about the sadness but the comfort. These songs are very comforting during a season that to some is depressing. I recently lost my grandmother. She was an amazing woman who loved her family and Christmas as well. In fact, we had a Christmas tradition where she would come to our house on Christmas Eve and my sister and I would open our gifts. And this will be my first Christmas without that and I am fearful of it. But this album is making it easier for me, to get rid of the anxiety now and to find the comfort in the season.

My favorite songs are "River," "Song For A Winter's Night," "In the Bleak Mid-Winter," and "I'll Be Home For Christmas." Each song is wonderful, though. And each person will undoubtedly find their own favorite that will easily relate to their comfort. I would have loved a cover of "Somewhere In My Memory," but we can't always get what we want.

Concluding, if you're a fan of Sarah McLachlan, Christmas music or just beautiful music period, make sure this album is in your collection. The only negative is that at the end you'll be begging for more.
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Guys this is about music
And I like how everyone's dogging her music. Um, she's still got a voice that's 1000 times better than most others out there, let alone that her songs seem to have so much more meaning & lyrical content. And I love the album picture, too. I dare the dummies out there to criticize her to write... Read More
Oct 6, 2006 by Smalls |  See all 4 posts
River is heartfelt
Agreed. I won't say that Ms McLachlan's version is better, but it's very, very good. Her decision to stay close to the original was wise - the Amazon reviewer's opinion is noted and dismissed. In tout case the song itself is the star. A little masterpiece, beautiful and yearning. There is... Read More
Dec 13, 2008 by como_vicente |  See all 2 posts
Sarah has NEVER ever written anything about how there is no God. If you are talking about "Dear God", the song is not hers, she just covered it. =)
Oct 17, 2006 by msoto85 |  See all 9 posts
'Wintersong' Tracklist
It's Sarah...We love her no matter what she wears. It's about her wonderful music.
Sep 15, 2006 by BookWorm81 |  See all 7 posts
Is this available in store?
It's available. I bought mine at Best Buy.
Oct 22, 2006 by Jacob Last |  See all 5 posts
the cover looks great Be the first to reply
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