Next stop on my Christmas music bonanza is Sarah McLachlan, who I had a proper musical thing for about 10 years ago. I loved “Adia” and after a time I got “Mirrorball” which I still love to bits. A whole Sarah studio album that I’ve loved has been elusive though, and I’m not sure I’m quite there with Sarah. “Surfacing” might be my best shot so far.
But how will she fare with a Christmas album? I do love her voice, and I expected her to be somewhere between twee Jewel and left-of-centre Aimee. I wasn’t far off really.
Happy Xmas (War is over): Love this, the song is OK but it’s one of those songs you can never get away from at this time of year. A fresh voice singing it is just what I needed, and it really works for me, a few sleigh bells in there too and it just hits all my festive buttons. HO HO HO
What child is this: Mmm not so sure about this, the tone is more hymny and religious and frankly it just bores the socks off me. It just sort of drifts along without too much incident. I like her voice but that’s about it. Zzzz
River: Now I had this track for a year or so, and I never really think of it much as a Christmas song for some reason. Gorgeous, feels like pretty typical Sarah fare and not as sappy as many of these songs threaten to be. Back in snuggly big jumpers and festive cheer now, gorgeous.
Wintersong: The title track now, very minimal with a lovely piano centerpiece. I love her voice on shit like this, her tone is just like an aural HUG. A bit depressing all things said, but still lovely. I hate how she pronounces Murrrrning though.
I’ll be home for Christmas: Lovely but it’s just a bit of a drag, all things said and done. Blahhhh
O little town of Bethlehem: Back to the carols now, with a rather odd sparse intro. Again I’m not THAT interested but it’s a nice enough rendition.
The First Noel/Mary Mary: Noeeeelllll!! I love when she goes all operatic, and that’s a pretty killer start. I think this is one of the more intriguing-sounding songs on the album, “mmm yes pretty little baby”. The “glory be to the new born KING” bits are oddly sinister, like when there’s a proper YAY song in a Disney movie and the baddie is repeating the last line from the shadows as if to say “enjoy this, i’ll slit your throat soon enough” … maybe I’m reading too much into it. But anyway LOVE IT.
Silent Night: Did we need another version of this? Well whatever, it sounds PRECISELY like you would except. I can’t even laugh at the word VIRGIN like I did at school *sigh*. Competent rendition, but so what?
Song for a winter’s night. Bit of a weird vocoder Sparky’s Magic Piano thing going on here, a little creepy. It’s quite a sweet song though, sounds like a regular Sarah song, which isn’t normally be a bad thing, and it isn’t here.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas: LOVE THIS SONG in all its forms, and happily I’ve been treated to it in many guises. It’s a gorgeous song and her voice is lovely as ever so how can it go wrong? My yuletide is certainly a bit gayer as a result of this song.
In the bleak midwinter: Not sure I recognise this one, but it seems alright. A bit ploddy, but tuneful enough. Zzzz
Christmas time is here (with Diana Krall): Is this a duet? Where is Diana, on piano? What’s the POINT? Loads of people can play the piano! Seems like a rubbish excuse for some dreary jazz-tinged boredom… bit of a boring finish.
Well there we have it, I think this just about has the edge on the other two, but I’m beginning to think I just don’t SUIT Christmas albums. I’m almost relieved that my musical quest is nearly over now, but who is left?…. only old Torn Anus herself! Wish me luck.