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Tinsel and Lights

4.5 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 30, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

Following her acclaimed 2010 album, Love and Its Opposite Tracey Thorn presents a Christmas album, Tinsel and Lights, featuring ten seasonal cover versions, two new original tracks, and "Green" from Scritti Politti.

Produced by Ewan Pearson, Tinsel and Lights features Tracey s famously rich vocals and contributions on guitar and piano. Her longtime partner, Ben Watt guests on guitar and piano on several tracks. Leo Taylor (Adele, Hot Chip) plays drums, Steve Pearce - who played on Everything But The Girl's feted album, Idlewild - is on bass, while Pearson adds signature synths and electronics. Three tracks include orchestral arrangements by Nick Ingman.

Tracey says, "I ve always wanted to make a Christmas record. Every year, when the Christmas albums start appearing in November, I get jealous and wish I had one coming out. Last year, I made a resolution to get recording in January to be ready for the following Christmas. And so that s just what I did. They re not all strictly Christmas songs, but if they mentioned winter or snow or even just being cold, that was good enough for me."

Tinsel and Lights is available on CD, LP and digital through Merge Records in North America and Strange Feeling in the UK/EU. The LP version will include Tracey's rendition of "25th December," originally written and sung by Ben Watt on Everything But The Girl's 1994 album Amplified Heart.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 30, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Merge Records
  • ASIN: B008UFUOH6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,924 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Peter Durward Harris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on November 5, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Tracey has a long and distinguished career, not only solo but also with Everything but the girl, although this is only the second album of her music that I've ever bought after Idlewild. (I must put that right someday.) I was surprised to learn about this album, but I expected it would be good, especially once I saw the track listing, which includes just one obvious classic, that being Have yourself a merry little Christmas. On the evidence of that track, if Tracey had filled the entire album, it would still have been a brilliant album (which I might have bought anyway), but I'm glad that she didn't do that. I love those classic songs, but I have plenty of versions of them already,

Apart from Have yourself a merry little Christmas, two of the other songs are very familiar to me, although neither was originally meant to be a Christmas song. Hard candy Christmas, written by Carol Hall for Dolly Parton to sing in The Best Little Chickenhouse in Texas. The song title is metaphorical; the song is not about Christmas, but that word being in the title is enough for it to be regarded as a Christmas song. Tracey's version is mellower than Dolly's version, and the slower tempo works well. Joni Mitchell's River is about a broken relationship around Christmas time. It's really about the feeling of loss rather than Christmas, but the song seems to be well on the way to becoming a Christmas standard.

The other tracks feature songs written by people who you might recognize, depending on what music you're into.
Read more ›
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By Michael on October 31, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It's finaly here, and I am so happy that she did it. Tracy has the most heavenly and underrated voices from the last few decades. Heartfelt and just the music to get you in the mood for the season. C'mon, she is even singing a Dolly Parton song, amazing.
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And it hasn't changed! I have enjoyed how her music has evolved over the years and this album is a very refreshing collection of holiday songs. Not only does it have the traditional warm and fuzzy bits, it's got covers of Joni Mitchell and Dolly Parton! Kinda heartbreaking but nevertheless beautiful!
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I was not familiar with Tracey Thorn. I bought this album on a whim. It was a good whim.

This record is the perfect antidote when you are going crazy from hyperactive, twinkly, jingly Christmas music. It's like taking a short vacation to a quiet place. Tracey's voice is warm and soothing, the arrangements are understated and perfect. I particularly like the instrumentation on River. Someone decided a few years ago that this was a Christmas song, and now everyone has it on their holiday album. It's not an easy song to sing, and some artists fail to connect with the emotion of the song. Thorn hits just the right note of ruefulness, and the simple French horns in the background are poignant.

The song choices are uniformly excellent. Most of the songs are not well known, although they have been recorded by other artists. The two original compositions, Joy and the title track, are little gems. Really, I am so thrilled with this album and so excited to discover Tracey Thorn's other music. Highly recommended.
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If you are interested in the music of Tracey Thorn, then I am preaching to the choir. She has an instantly recognizable voice not unlike that of Karen Carpenter's. Both share an evocative mood which conjures up a certain sadness which suits their material so well. Some of the tracks involve her longtime partner Ben Watt and reminds me of some of EBTG's finest works, notably "Idlewild" which remains my favorite album by the group. The closest example is "Hard Candy Christmas" which I had never remember hearing but my wife reminded me that the song is from the musical "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas". This album is not a typical XMAS album and if you want that, then there are plenty of artists who have done the traditional Holiday album thing.
What you have here is a peerless vocalist with a fine choice of disparate songs arranged expertly with long term collaborators bringing back the early EBTG sound. If you liked Sarah McLachlan's XMAS album, "Wintersong" from a few years ago, then you know what kind of mood this album evokes. In short, you won't be disappointed.
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Tracey says...I'll run and you follow me. (smile)
This is not so much Christmas songs but songs that speak to emotions that may come and find us at Christmas time. Let's be honest...do you remember that first Christmas you stayed alone in your apartment and didn't go home? Maybe you were on campus. Maybe working, or too broke to make the flight. What about the year that the Christmas feeling never found it's way into your heart and you staggered through the holiday like something precious had left you forever. ummm...maybe breaking up two weeks before the 25th and you sit staring at that bracelet you bought for the one you thought would always be in your life. Tracey...God she's sooooo on point, I cried on "Sister Winter" half way through when those jaggling guitars took me back to a snowy college town December 25 years ago. But it's Christmas time, a hopeful time. I summon the strength to push back the years like Mrs. Thorn recommends and in the face on darkness find a way to throw out JOY.
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