The Best Christmas Song Ever*

A text message chain this morning spurned the great annual question of: What’s the Greatest Christmas Song Ever? Neil Diamond is ok, and Mariah is a close second, but I think I have found it.  I realize that claiming I have crowned The Best Christmas Song Ever* will probably incite the masses, but here goes:

Five Reasons Why Sufjan Steven's Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas is The Best Christmas Song Ever*


*not including all other awesome Christmas songs
1. It’s a Remake Worth Making - Most Christmas music is derivative of itself and sounds pretty similar.  So why mess with the original? This song in particular has an incredible original, sung by an incredible voice (Judy Garland), in an incredible movie (Meet Me in St. Louis), with an incredible story of how it took off in popular culture (the song became a favorite of American soldiers abroad, longing for Christmas at home.) Normally I’d say that if you’re not a doe-eyed Judy Garland, trying to cheer up your crying sister, you better not even try to sing this song. But Suf manages to pull it off in a way that is uniquely Sufjan and yet I can still picture him as JG, staring out the window as the snow falls.

2. The Very Beginning Gets You Pumped For Christmas and Neon-colored Family Time - The into sounds a tad like the beginning of a 90s tv sitcom ala Full House or Family Matters  and that fact alone allows it to be in my top-five. 

3. It’s Perfectly Sufjan - This goes back to my first point, but I think that if you’re going to make a Christmas album, there better be something totally different about it to separate it from the massive amounts of other Christmas music on the market. And here, he manages to incorporate just enough of his trademark Sufjan eccentricities that you never once doubt you’re listening to Mr. Stevens– the trill flutes, the haunting chorus, the transition into electronic pulsating funk, the slow folk hum of the guitar under his sultry, dulcet tones…  

4. It’s One of the Best Things I’ve Seen Performed Live - A couple of years ago, SS came to Athens for his Surfjohn Stevens Xmas Sing-A-Long Seasonal Affective Disorder Yuletide Disaster Pageant On Ice show and it was, hands down, one of the best shows I’ve ever been to in my life. I’ll just leave you with the title of the show and you can extrapolate from there on the weirdness/amazingness. 

5. It’s A New Classic - Say what you will about Sufjan, but for all his quirks and bizarre costumes, the man is a musical genius. He’s the only person I can think of who can pull off the beauty of this song’s complexity and depth (Am I sitting in my car, stuck in traffic on my way home for Christmas, in a snowstorm? Am I sipping peppermint hot chocolate around the fire with a dog on my lap, kids running around putting lights on the tree?) and be followed up on the album with a song called Sleigh Ride?! It’s 2014! Santa Drives a Prius!*
*not an actual Sufjan song, but could be.