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Tinsel and Lights

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iTunes Review

In a wonderful twist, Tracey Thorn has recorded a Christmas album that includes only one standard, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." The remainder of the album features songs by modern songwriters such as Scritti Politti's Green Gartside, Stephin Merritt, Joni Mitchell, Randy Newman, and Jack White, plus two Thorn originals. This refreshing approach expands the holiday menu with emotionally resonant tunes that deserve their status as new standards. Mitchell's "River" is practically there, having been covered many times. Thorn sings it with her usual class and understatement, reaching angelic highs for emphasis. Ron Sexsmith's "Maybe This Christmas" follows a familiar Sexsmith path, playing as a well-rounded and thoughtful pop song in little over two minutes. The White Stripes' "In the Cold, Cold Night" vamps like a dirty blues, or as "dirty" as Thorn is likely to get. Randy Newman's "Snow" sits her down at the piano for a wistful moment, while Gartside's "Snow in Sun" lets Thorn put a bounce in her step.

Customer Reviews


I have been waiting for this album for what feels like an eternity. It is even better than expected. It works on levels beyond "Christmas Album" and it will be perfect once the season really gets going. I love how she arranged it. Melancholy but hopeful. I can't rave enough (but must go to bed) Enjoy!

Less an Xmas record, more like a Winter record

'Sister Winter' has been a fave since it was a b-side. I think Tracey has done a bang-on job of finding the right collection of songs to make this album a success. The opening track, 'Joy', has quickly become a favorite and I think this will be a record that will stay in heavy rotation during the colder winter months in Chicago for years to come!

I have loved Tracey's voice for 27 years!

And it hasn't changed! I love how her music has evolved with EBTG, her collaborations and as a solo artist. I truly enjoy the emotions she tries to evoke with the collection. She gives us the warm and fuzzies as well as the kinda heartbreaking but nevertheless beautiful like the Dolly Parton cover Hard Candy Christmas. And I'm very pleased with how she treated Joni Mitchell's River. Someone finally covered it without trying to be Joni Mitchell. Enjoy everybody! Happy Holidays!


Genre: Alternative

One of the most enduring English singer/songwriters, Tracey Thorn began making music with Stern Bops and then, more notably, Marine Girls, a minimalist pop group that released a pair of albums inspired by Young Marble Giants and the Raincoats. While Marine Girls were active, Thorn released A Distant Shore, a relatively moody, if similarly skeletal solo album, on Cherry Red in 1982. Around that time, she met Ben Watt -- who was also signed to Cherry Red -- and formed a partnership as Everything But...
Full Bio
Tinsel and Lights, Tracey Thorn
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Customer Ratings