Sufjan Stevens
Silver & Gold


4.2
excellent

Review

by Keelan H. EMERITUS
January 24th, 2013 | 72 replies | 5,357 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Love will tear us apart....DING-DONG-DING-DONG

Look, the thing about Silver & Gold is that it quite clearly deserves a 4.2 on the ol’ Sputnik Richter-scale. I mean, it is neither definitively a 4, nor a 4.5, and it certainly is not a perfect 5. In fact this is far from what Sufjan Stevens even wants us to do with his music. One of the worst things I can imagine doing for Silver & Gold is to actually be super-duper serious about it. For God’s sake the last song refrains “I am the Christmas Unicorn.” From the long booklet-essays from Pastor Vito and Sufjan alike, full of apocalyptic imagery and laments of the loss of imagination and tradition, to the amount of craft (and crafts) put into this thing, it would be equally easy to take up two such super-duper serious positions: a) Sufjan Stevens has SAVED CHRISTMAS, or b) What is this hipster/indie/stupid crap? I guess, to be honest, at first I was in the former group (naturally), but I quickly realized that both of these positions miss the point entirely. He wants us to be sad, to smile, to do all sorts of things, but mostly he wants us to enjoy it for what it is.

Sufjan doesn’t save Christmas and I don’t think he even wants to. What is clear from the eccentric nature of this box-set, from the swinging, lilting, beautiful “Barcarola” to the head-scratching, masturbatory “Do You See What I See?”, is that Sufjan is not concerned with making huge statements, he’s creating a world, or reflecting a world, which he has seemingly given-up on--not in the mumbling, shut-in, depressed way, but rather it is in the joyous way of realizing I’m here, and we might as well boogie. Which is exactly why, as has become a trademark of Stevens’ work, the album exists on this plane where introspection meets with group sing-a-longs, depression meets with joyous outbursts, traditional meets with left-field kookiness. M’yes it is quiet the existential malaise of the postmodern, post-human conundrum of post-traditional spheres of anxiety. No, shut-up. This album is a thing, that Sufjan created, to give to us, for money, and while it is true this is a referential world (“Joy to the World” takes cues from two different Age of Adz tracks), it is not so much an identity-crisis the way his last proper album was so much as a dumping ground of hey guys wouldn’t this be great?! That’s why the second disc of five is mostly a bunch of throwaway crap.

I mean all you need to do is take the last two songs of the collection, perhaps also the two best, as a microcosm for this world. Even in the deepest doldrums of thought, where “Justice delivers its kiss,” in the end it doesn’t even matter because “you’re the Christmas Unicorn, too.” So let’s end on “Christmas Unicorn,” which has become my all-time favourite Christmas song. It’s a ridiculous song, but it indicates just exactly what makes Silver & Gold so great; it is not a song that is empty of meaning, and it is a song that questions the way the world has commodified traditions in very strange ways resulting in some very real anxiety, but in the end the idea just seemed to be a shrug of the shoulders and lift-off! The end of the “Christmas Unicorn” makes Joy Division sound like Christmas. That’s all you need to know. Just enjoy it, because you know what? It’s all right, I love you.



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user ratings (44)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
Thompson D. Gerhart STAFF (5)
Sufjan Stevens creates the modern Christmas masterpiece our generation has been waiting for....


Comments:Add a Comment 
thebhoy
Emeritus
January 24th 2013



4459 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Oh hey remember me. Fuck you black diamonds, peace bitches.

Ponton
Emeritus
January 24th 2013



5775 Comments


andrew bird is awesome agreed

Digging: Mimicking Birds - Mimicking Birds

robin
Emeritus
January 24th 2013



4221 Comments


hahahahaha i love you henry james sir

ILJ
January 24th 2013



6542 Comments


4.2

these new increments are throwing me off

Digging: The Hotelier - Home, Like NoPlace Is There

Ignimbrite
January 24th 2013



5228 Comments


well, the bar graphs are fucked

demigod!
January 24th 2013



40970 Comments


as much as I love Sufjan I dunno if I can stomach a full album (especially one with that many tracks, holy) of Christmas songs.

CK
January 24th 2013



4532 Comments


I bet you came back just for the staff thing

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
January 24th 2013



18612 Comments


Interesting review


Digging: Somos - Temple of Plenty

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
January 24th 2013



18612 Comments


i mean is this a joke?

thebhoy
Emeritus
January 24th 2013



4459 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

yes

thebhoy
Emeritus
January 24th 2013



4459 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

you missed the entire point didn't you

thebhoy
Emeritus
January 24th 2013



4459 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

The point is when I say super-duper serious twice in subsequent sentences

thebhoy
Emeritus
January 24th 2013



4459 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Taking a lot of time to review this in all of its different aspects would be like asking Timmy to stop
playing with his brand new T-Rex toy on Christmas day to analyse all of the possible meanings implied
by what he received.

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 24th 2013



10000 Comments


wow look change the ratings and see who comes crawling back

ColdGobra
January 24th 2013



57 Comments


4.2!
not 4, 4.1, 4.3 or I don't know, 4.5
it's 4.2!
awesome and precise

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
January 24th 2013



18612 Comments


my bad wasn't sure if it was a joke review or if you were just trying to be funny/sarcastic.

i wish i was staff and could write a joke review

thebhoy
Emeritus
January 24th 2013



4459 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

It's not a joke review, I mean it is in some ways, but the first paragraph explains exactly why the review is the way it is.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
January 24th 2013



18612 Comments


well i can't take this review seriously at all and i love christmas music.

"to the head-scratching, masturbatory"

really? lol

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
January 24th 2013



9470 Comments


Sweet review, even if those first three sentences are pretty damned cringeworthy...

Digging: Koan Sound - Dynasty

Oceanus
January 24th 2013



877 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

4.2? We can do that now? Shit, get with the times Jared.

Also, ace review. Just as off-kilter as I like.



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