Christmas Can Be Cool – “Lumberjack Christmas/No One Can Save You from Christmases Past”

6 Dec

Instead of taking on the near-impossible task of adequately writing about Sufjan Steven’s 4+ hours of Christmas music in its entirety, I’ve chosen one of my favorites from the new box set he released this year. Some dismiss Stevens as some kind of twee manchild, but “Lumberjack Christmas/No One Can Save You from Christmases Past” illustrates exactly what appeals to so many about his best Christmas music – it balances unironic yuletide joy (the “specials on the TV” lyric), a sort of desperate faux-cheeriness (the background chorus singing “ho ho ho ho ho ho”), and genuine holiday sadness (the “no one can save you” coda). While he isn’t the first to use this kind of approach, he has created his very own distinct and beautiful variation of it. The song is catchy, cheerful, and achingly poignant all at once.

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