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Passing through my third-life crisis peacefully in South London, finding out new stuff, and then getting cross and excited about it.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

The 7 Greatest Christmas Songs You've Never Heard - #5

#5 - The First Noel by Bright Eyes


When we got engaged, I bought my wife a beautiful ring with an unusual marquise cut diamond. She bought me a pair of trousers and Cassadaga by Bright Eyes.

While they were a bloody nice pair of trousers, it was the album which made me think I’d got the best end of the deal. There have been a spate of “Best album of the decade” polls recently, and I’ve yet to see Cassadaga appear in any of them, but for my money it’s very very close to being top of any list. 

So, you can imagine my delight when I found out Bright Eyes had recorded a charity Christmas album back in 2002. It’s a sparse, haunting affair on the whole, without the lush, sweeping songscapes you find on Cassadaga. I’m particularly fond of God Rest You Merry Gentlemen, which you don’t hear recorded very often, and Blue Christmas, which is a very simple and quite sweet affair but still manages to capture song’s bitterness.

However, I’ve gone for The First Noel, partly because it’s another one you don’t hear so often, but also because it is the best display of the album’s virtues. I think there’s a slight delay on the female vocal, which gives me the creeps, and there is precious little instrumentation. It’s just lovely.

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