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Boomkat Product Review:
It's that time of year again isn't it, and although we don't seem to get snow anymore in England (damn you global warming!) we are still just about capable of celebrating the birth of...err... who was it again? I think it was some old guy in a red suit wasn't it? The guy who invented Coca Cola? Yep it seems the shops are in overdrive this year, I saw them racking out the local Marks and Sparks in late September with festive treats, encouraging the more pragmatic amongst us to avoid the 'rush' and price-hiking and buy early. No surprise then that there are plenty of Christmas musical treats in store to tempt buyers out of musical apathy, the pinnacle of those being this rather lavish box set from everyone's favourite singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens. Those of you who follow the man's more than substantial output will already know a number of these tracks as they've trickled out of the blogosphere each year to huge acclaim, and why not? Frankly it's quite nice to hear some festive tunes made by someone who doesn't think that the best thing about the time of year is hearing Noddy Holder shouting at the top of his voice. Instead, Stevens takes some of the classic traditional sounds of the season and places them next to compositions of his own to create something genuinely heart-warming and enjoyable without ever becoming cheesy or overwrought. Starting in 2001 and going all the way to 2006 these songs have been pieced together with love by Stevens and his friends year after year, and that's what makes them so effective - his version of 'We Three Kings' might be heartbreaking, but his own composition 'That was the Worst Christmas Ever' is one of the most crushing pieces Stevens has ever put his name to, perfectly summing up the hopes and dreams of the season. I can't say enough good things about this box really, not only do you get five cds and over 40 exclusive tracks but there are also stickers, a book of liner notes, chords and lyrics so you can sing/play along and a poster - it really doesn't get much better than this. Treat yourself to the best Christmas present of the year - utterly essential and likely soon to be rare as hen's teeth.