You may or may not have heard of him, but Sufjan Stevens has a very complicated relationship with Christmas. Much like Charlie Brown (and most of us probably), we’re left wondering what makes this time of year all that special. We’ve got the commercialism, we’ve got the media-frenzied war on holidays, and things just seem to be more stressful and chaotic (and, as Charlie Brown showed us, things were pretty much the same back in the ’60s – this isn’t a new phenomenon).
Isn’t this supposed to be the “most wonderful time of the year?”
In his brilliant (although at times a little too odd) Christmas music set, Sufjan Stevens addresses this frequently. He does so best of all on the final track in his five volume set (yes, you heard correctly — Stevens released 5 volumes of Christmas music — six through ten, making up nearly 70 songs), the 13-minute “Christmas Unicorn.”
You may have tuned out just then. I know it’s a strange name. But you’ll get it once you listen to the tune. This songs reflects on and somewhat celebrates the cognitive dissonance that is Christmas and the Christmas season. The dark with the light, the cold temperatures and the warm cheer. The joy to the world, lonely nights, peace on earth, estranged relationships.
I hope you enjoy the tune — believe me, it’s worth every minute. And I really hope you have an incredible holiday season.
Tim is a husband, father, nomad, and International Media Producer, currently residing in Atlanta. When he’s not spending time with his family or friends, you can usually find him behind a camera or listening to music or podcasts (and lately, trying to write and re-write this pesky bio). Check back here each Wednesday for more Tunes for the Road. And check out his personal blog here.