Bright Eyes: A Christmas Album – review

(Saddle Creek)

Eleven years ago, Conor Oberst made a Christmas album. Fans of bangs, MySpace and Dunlop trainers rejoiced in delicate, dishevelled versions of Away in a Manger, Silent Night and White Christmas – a cool substitute for all that major label tripe. But that was the early noughties; this reissue of the 11-song album – featuring a host of his indie friends such as Rilo Kiley and Tilly and the Wall – emerges in a very different climate, one in which misery pop reigns. It's impossible to sit through even an episode of Stacey Dooley Investigates without a meek acoustic cover of a classic song chloroforming your ears during the ad break. And so Oberst's whimsy now just sounds trite: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas is about as appealing as a depressed party blower, and the slo-mo First Noel is infuriatingly fragile. Bright Eyes, mate – it's 2013. Everyone's miserable. Everyone's alternative. Now stick on some Wham! and enjoy yourself.

Contributor

Harriet Gibsone

The GuardianTramp

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