Monday, December 21, 2009

Music Monday: "Put the Lights on the Tree" by Sufjan Stevens

Today's Music Monday will take a Christmasy twist. I posted this one last year, and I'm going to do so again. I can't say enough about the multi-talented Sufjan Stevens, so I'll just post the video and let you enjoy it:

This song is from the album Songs for Christmas. The five-disc compilation actually started as a series of Christmas presents to friends and family. Each year from 2001-2006 (except 2004 for some reason), Sufjan and company sequestered themselves wherever they could and self-recorded a Christmas EP. They performed holiday-themed originals as well as renditions of old classics, all with Sufjan's quirky-but-brilliant instrumentation. They then mailed out the results as Christmas cards. Fortunately, some ne'er-do-well leaked the results and the ensuing web phenomenon prompted a commercial release of the whole set. Here's a link to the buying emporium known as Asthmatic Kitty Records. It's well worth purchasing the physical product rather than buying on iTunes--you'll get some awesome stickers, a songbook and a swell comic book illustrating the story of Sister Winter! Standouts on this record are too numerous to mention, but a handful are "Sister Winter," "Christmas in July," "I Saw Three Ships," and "That Was the Worst Christmas Ever!"

Sufjan Stevens is also known for his ambitious quest to record a concept album for every state in the Union. So far he's gotten through Michigan and Illinois (or as he calls it, Come on! Feel the Illinoise!--critically acclaimed and often called the best album of 2005). I really believe this guy is one of the most talented and innovative musicians around today, and I highly recommend you check out his work.

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