Here are the Christmas albums you don’t want to miss!
Article published in dagen.no 6.12.2012. Text: Bjørn Olav Hammerstad, Johannes Reindal, Eivind Algrøy, Tore Hjalmar Sævik and Tarjei Gilje
Found and translated by Marianne Saietz. English revision by Katie Anderson
Here are Christmas albums for every taste. We have reviewed 7 treats, which puts you in a Christmas mood.
A keyword to the Christmas-albums of this year is nostalgia. But then, Christmas is not exactly the time for the biggest reinvention. It is a banquet of traditions, and there is a lot to choose from.
Do you like the American nostalgia of the 1950’s? Then this album is probably something for you.
Alexander Rybak’s «Christmas Tales» is a tribute to American Christmas songs, and they are performed with such nostalgia, that I begin to think of vinyl-records.
I don’t get any further than the second song, «Winter Wonderland» before I see Bing Crosby or Fred Astaire dancing and singing across the floor. Instead, it is Alexander Rybak. He lingers on the tones and puts some vibrato on his voice and voila, we are back 60 years in time.
It can easily get “cheesy” with American Christmas songs, but Rybak masters the genre. The songs are accompanied with strings and winds in addition to Rybak’s own violin.
Do you like to dance? Well, then the song «Let it snow» is a perfect choice. Drag your loved one off the couch and take a swing on the floor.
The calm songs on the album, like «The Christmas song» and «Have yourself a merry little Christmas» are performed with acoustic guitar as the lead instrument. This works well, and makes a contrast to the more playful tracks on this album, for fun and games are in abundance.
Both «Santa Claus is coming to town» and «Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reinder» contains much fun and humor, both in the dialogue and choir. «Presents» is also playful, where Rybak’s friend and ESC-contestant, Didrik Solli-Tangen, sings along. This song, Rybak has written himself, as well as the lovely Christmas-ballad «Tell me when».
To many listeners these songs will appear to be new, but Rybak performed the previously mentioned ballad back in 2006, 3 years before he won ESC with the song «Fairytale».
But, there is little Christmas-gospel on this Christmas album. «Silent Night» is the last song of the total of 12 Christmas songs, and the only one which is about the Christmas-gospel.
This is also the only song which Alexander Rybak doesn´t sing himself. Instead, he lets the violin lead, accompanied by an acoustic guitar and a choir, which is reminiscent of the sound of the sopranos in a melancholic Disney classic.
Rybak has toured this Christmas with, among others, Rune Larsen and Tor Endresen, and performed classic Norwegian Christmas psalms. Therefore, it is a bit surprising that on this album he serves entirely American Christmas songs, without any particular content from the crib in Bethlehem. But if you are looking for a light Christmas album, which creates A Disney- like mood in the living-room, this is a good alternative.