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Silver & Gold

November 13, 2012 | Format: MP3

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Popularity Prime  
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Disc 2
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1:49
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1:49
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1:22
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2:27
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Disc 3
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1:36
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Disc 4
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1:44
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2:27
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2:08
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3:31
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2:17
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2:26
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0:40
Disc 5
30
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3:41
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4:21
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0:52
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2:02
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3:35
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0:52
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3:15
30
9
12:28
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Customer Reviews

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By Jack Tripper VINE VOICE on November 13, 2012
Format: MP3 Music
'Silver and Gold: Songs for Christmas, Vols. 6-10,' the sequel to 2006's 'Songs for Christmas,' features nearly three hours of holiday cheer from the inimitable Sufjan Stevens. There are 58 tracks here, with about a third of them being entirely original compositions from what I can tell. Not to mention a rather odd cover of Prince's 'Alphabet Street' that still somehow fits the overall tone of the set, though it also would have fit perfectly on 'Age of Adz.'

Sufjan has the uncanny ability to be both depressing and uplifting at the same time, which comes through very well here. The mood of these tracks ranges from silly and cute to powerful and moving, with song styles that cover an extremely wide spectrum--shifting from chamber-folk to post-rock to electro/dance--with more experimentation and use of electronics compared to the rather low-key, mostly acoustic first volume, providing a nice change of pace that keeps things fresh throughout the five discs, ensuring that it never gets old.

"Joy to the World" is a great example, starting out very subdued and beautifully sung, slowly building with more and more effects until an all-out techno track busts out, turning the Christmas classic into a dancefloor number. The two epics here, "The Child With The Star On His Head" and "Christmas Unicorn," both written by Sufjan, are extremely tripped-out, and make for perfect late-night headphone journeys. While not every song here worked for me, those that didn't were few and far between.

I may not be the religious sort, but for the hour or so per sitting I spend listening to Sufjan's rather faith-based music--'Silver and Gold' included--I feel moved to the point where, for that short time, I'm into it and believe wholeheartedly.
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Comment 39 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
Sufjan Stevens is a man who likes to push boundaries, experiment and come up with truly different music. This is a man who decided to turn his music into a 50 states project with a different album for each US state. Then he decided to abandon this after two albums. Did he ever intend all 50 states? Who knows. He also wrote an entire album and was involved in a film dedicated to the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. He also came up with some of the most beautiful music ever. And he also recorded 5 ep's of old and original Christmas music and released that. He is now following it up with another 5 ep's in a box set. All Christmas music. Some old and some new. The question is does it sound like Age of Adz with its electronic noises or Michigan with its banjo, acoustics and hushed tones. The answer is both.

The box set is impressive. Its expensive as well. So what do you get? Well 5 ep's with a total of 58 tracks to start with. Each in a different cardboard case with different artwork. You also get an extensive booklet with 3 different essays on Christmas, lots of pictures and lyrics. A poster which is pencil art and quite nice and surreal. A make it yourself Christmas star complete with instructions. And finally some tattoo's and stickers.
However, this is all just a sideshow compared to the music. It sounds like it was recorded on a shoestring and includes Silent Night, Hark The Herald Angels and many other hymns that you will recognise. And then there are some classic american Christmas songs, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas is an example of one that doesn't quite work. It has electronic squelches in the background and a trilling whistle accompanying the track. It sounds a mess and really isn't. But it doesn't quite pull it off. But that's the idea.
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I LOVED the first box set of Christmas music and I assumed I would equally like this one. There are some great songs on this set too. I appreciate his effort in doing things different and attempting new stuff which can be extremely hard with Christmas music which has been done over and over. I don't really love synthesizer, so needless to say there was a good portion of this set that didn't really do much for me. I would STRONGLY suggest previewing the songs before purchasing the album to see if you will enjoy the direction this set goes.
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Sufjan did, in my mind, did the impossible by taking his last Christmas album and making it better and even more magical. Silver and Gold is very much like his last Christmas album, but way more crisp and musically impressive. It draws from the musical elements he used from the Age of Adz albums, but stills has the "bedroom" production feel to it. You also want to do yourself a favor and purchase the physical box set rather than the mp3's. Like the last album, it's such a treat to flip through all the contents. I highly recommend this album to just play on repeat through your house. It will put you in the Christmas mood so well.
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I like that Mr. Stevens takes us on a new journey for some holiday music. There are some songs in this group that I really like. However, there are others that feel like half-completed experiments that were thrown in for filler. With the sheer volume of songs, I wonder what would have happened if it had been pared down to just the top batch of songs.
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