Monday, November 12, 2012

Sufjan Stevens- "Silver & Gold"

For all of its crass-commercialism, Christmas still sits atop the calendar as the most wonderful time of year for one reason: intimacy. It's a time where families, friends, and lovers huddle around an idyllic fireplace tightly tucked in warm winter coats. Amidst all the sales and last-second shopping sprees there still radiates a certain geniality, a feeling of "good cheer" that like the Christmas tree will never die but spring anew every year. And only a select few musicians channel the earnestness of Christmas as well as Sufjan Stevens. 

On first listen "Silver & Gold" serves as an inversion of that aforementioned earnestness. The quivering guitar and muted piano-playing convey an uneasiness, a fear of the coming "cold winter" of one's life. "Oh I'm getting old," Stevens sings in an affective coo. "Everyone wishes for youth" is the only follow-up he can muster, before coming to the question of "how have I wasted my life?" It's a question an individual in their darkest days is likely to ask, an open-ended question with no right or wrong answer. Instead, Stevens projects his own pain onto the world, chalking it up to an unceasing search for "silver and gold." 

In the midst of all this despair, Stevens prays for fire to drive away the cold. As the last embers of his own life begin to flicker and fall by the wayside, he's accompanied by everyone else "waiting for death." In this way, everyone is again joined together, akin to that fireplace scene Sufjan so desperately longs for. The track takes on a "hushed admiration" for death, for the cold of winter, and for Christmas. It is here that "Silver & Gold" becomes cherubic. The reverence Stevens has for death then is not far off from the quiet contemplation keeping a child up in the middle of the night, wondering when Santa will arrive.  

Note: Sufjan Stevens' Silver & Gold  Christmas boxset is out in stores and available online now. Check back here for a review in the coming week. Also posted below are dates for Sufjan's Christmas tour, tickets are still available on select dates.

11-23 Philadelphia, PA - 
Union Transfer
11-24 Washington, DC - 
9:30 Club
11-25 Saxapahaw, NC - 
The Haw River Ballroom
11-26 Athens, GA - 
The Georgia Theatre
11-27 Chattanooga, TN - 
Track 29
11-28 Oxford, MS - 
The Lyric Oxford
11-30 Dallas, TX - 
Granada Theater
12-01 Austin, TX - 
Emo’s East
12-03 Tucson, AZ - 
Rialto Theatre
12-04 Los Angeles, CA - 
The Fonda Theatre (formerly The Music Box)
12-05 San Francisco, CA - 
Great American Music Hall
12-06 Portland, OR - 
Aladdin Theater
12-08 Seattle, WA - 
Neptune Theatre
12-09 Missoula, MT - 
Wilma Theatre
12-12 Minneapolis, MN - 
Mill City Nights (Formerly The Brick)
12-13 Milwaukee, WI - 
Turner Hall
12-14 Indianapolis, IN - 
Deluxe @ Old National Centre
12-15 Chicago, IL - 
12-16 Cleveland, OH - 
Beachland Ballroom *
12-18 Buffalo, NY - 
Asbury Hall @ Babeville
12-19 Providence, RI - 
12-20 Boston, MA - 
12-21 New York, NY - 
Bowery Ballroom
12-22 New York, NY - 
Bowery Ballroom

"Silver & Gold"

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