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Showing 1-10 of 45 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 59 reviews
on December 6, 2013
Having previously listened to Songs for Christmas, much of Silver & Gold has a familiar sound. The one exception is the widespread use of synths as Stevens experimented with in The Age of Adz. Some songs, like "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear" are almost all synth, while others, like "Angels We Have Heard On High", make more subtle use.

Much like my first time with Songs for Christmas, I tended to jump around to the more familiar Christmas songs. But I eventually realized that the real jewels on the album are the original songs and the seldom heard hymns.

Songs for Christmas introduced me to personally unfamiliar b-side hymns like "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming" and "Once in Royal David's City". Silver & Gold continues that tradition with even more obscure songs like "Break Forth O Beauteous Heavenly Light" and "Lift Up Your Heads Ye Might Gates". At times the renditions seem tongue-in-cheek, as if Stevens is poking fun at the laboriousness of the lyrics. But other times he seems more serious.

There are plenty of original songs. Most are catchy, like "Lumberjack Christmas" and on par with my favorite originals from Songs for Christmas, like "Get Behind Me, Santa". Others are fairly silly but still insanely catchy, like "Ding-a-ling-a-ring-a-ling".

Some of the renditions of familiar Christmas songs, like "Angels We Have Heard On High" and "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" are among my favorite versions ever. He has a knack for capturing the emotions of the standard version of each song and exaggerating them such that it's almost a caricature of itself.

The album concludes with the 12-minute long "Christmas Unicorn". I can only compare this to a long electronica track that repeats the same phrase over and over, building and ebbing just enough to make it interesting. It incorporates the traditional Sufjan sound of fluty instruments and drums with a layer of synths.

The album deserves 5 stars even though I don't like it quite as much as Songs for Christmas. It's lacking original songs in the style of "Sister Winter", and seems to favor electronic instruments too much over the banjo I've become accustomed too. I was also hoping for a few songs that I wouldn't mind keeping in rotation at any time of the year, like "Come Thou Fount". But of course it's a must-own for any Sufjan fan.
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on April 30, 2016
I loved the I-V collection, but this collection is far superior in my opinion. The musical maturity, the lyrical maturity, the essays and additional content in the box ... all a notch above the first box.

Though, at the end of the day, I recommend both. If you want an alt-hipster December to counterbalance the hell of top 40 radio Christmas music, you want this 5 CD set and the older 5 CD set.
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on November 20, 2012
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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on November 30, 2013
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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on December 13, 2012
Sufjan Stevens is a terrific musician, and this new Christmas box set by him shows this. A lot of people may wonder why, if they are not a die hard Sufjan fan, or do not usually buy CDs anymore, they would want to buy this box set? Well, the answer is simply because of all the great little goodies that are packed inside. Temporary tattoos, a poster, and all around amazing art work. This is a CD box set that is worth much more than just the great music inside, and it worth considering if you are looking for a stocking stuffer this holiday season.
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on January 18, 2013
I love that Sufjan Stevens loves Christmas. I now have both his Christmas albums downloaded, and I enjoy his quirky take on the standards, as well as his very different from the norm original tunes. However, I must confess that I cannot listen to either album in its entirety at one sitting. Perhaps I am showing my age (I'm certain I'm not in the usual Sufjan Stevens demographic), but I can get overloaded on too much Sufjan. Not a problem, though, since I typically listen to Christmas music on shuffle!
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on December 19, 2012
I'm a pretty big Sufjan fan, and this Christmas album has a lot of good stuff on it. Especially the Sufjan originals on here. I'm not a huge fan of the direction that sufjan is going (like the electronic, futuristic style on Age of Adz and Enjoy Your Rabbit), and there are quite a few songs on this album with that sound. I don't care much for that (especially in "Do You Hear What I Hear?"). Overall though, once you sort through it a bit, I'd say its a great album!
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on June 23, 2013
I have to say that this is the best Christmas CD I have ever heard! Most well known musicians will slap together some Bulls#!% Christmas album and everyone will love it because they know the tunes or because it's Mariah Carey. Not Sufjan! He has obviously put a lot of thought and care into this album. He’s managed to take music that has been way overplayed and he’s made it sound new again without loosing the fun and flavor of Christmas music.
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on January 24, 2013
We enjoyed Sufjan's previous 5 disc Christmas music, so thought we would get some new music to play during the season. My wife and I enjoy the mix of original and traditional Christmas music. A nice addition to our seasonal music collection.
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on July 19, 2013
You've got a little bit of everything here. There are some goofy songs like Christmas Unicorn, some heartbreaking dark stuff (Justice Delivers Its Death), and some of that weird electronic stuff that we loved in Age of Adz. If you're a fan of Sufjan, Christmas, or good music, it's worth listening to. Especially since you can stream the entire album for free on bandcamp.
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