Laura D. from MUSKEGON, MI Reviewed on 3/10/2010...
If you love Sarah McLachlan you will not be disappointed.
She delivers once again. Her style is still all her own on our Christmas classics and her original work is also just the same stunning music she always gives us.
Christine C. (bolinbabe) from BRANFORD, CT Reviewed on 1/29/2007...
Beautiful songs, both covers and originals, from a gorgeous artist with the voice of an angel.
Much more than "just another Christmas album"
Izak Loftus | Carson City, MI | 10/18/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Yes, yes, I know what you're thinking: "Oh, it's just another Christmas album". Many of you are also probably complaining that Sarah isn't releasing a new studio album of original material. I know this because I was just the same way until I first heard River on Sarah's Myspace page. Then I was like "wow...maybe this Christmas album will be different". And it certainly is. The album is a mix of traditional (yet not overly ubiquitous) Christmas songs and some more modern holiday hits (such as John Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War is Over)" and Joni Mitchell's "River"). It makes for a very interesting listen. Usually I am extremely bored by popular artists doing Christmas albums and I generally hate them, but I just couldn't say no to this one. With Sarah's voice adding new nuances and a breath of fresh air to these familiar tunes, this album is more than worth the price of admission.
I think the most gorgeous part of the album is the beginning of The First Noel/Mary Mary where Sarah busts out her beautifully trained voice, Touch-style (if you know what I mean). Her voice is as silky, smooth, and stunning on this album as it always has been. She has certainly lost none of her vocal range over the years, which is amazing. The selection of the songs is very Sarah-like and thankfully none of the "happy happy joy joy" type of Christmas carols such as Deck the Halls or Joy to the World are to be found here. All of the songs have a sort of longing and melancholy to them that Sarah is known for. The songs have been specifically chosen to really show the silent, almost bittersweet side of Christmas. The melodies of the songs chosen also reflect this sort of sad quality that fits Sarah's voice so well. The production by her longtime producer Pierre Marchand is a bit experimental, heavy, and very reminiscent of Sarah's original material, so it still feels very "Sarah".
I'd have to say that the standout tracks for me were River, Wintersong (the new title song that Sarah McLachlan penned herself, which brims over with simplicity and beautiful emotion), and Song For a Winter's Night which had actually been previously available on her Rarities, B-sides, and Other Stuff album. I was really touched by this album as a whole and it got me into the Christmas spirit way earlier than usual. I'll definitely be playing this album while drinking some hot cocoa on Christmas Eve. It's definitely an album that breaks the mold of the typical "Christmas album" and I would encourage everyone to go buy this if you're sick of being disappointed by other artists' attempts at covering holiday songs. If you're already a fan of Sarah's, then this is a no-brainer. This is a Christmas album done right."
Stunning, Absolutely Stunning.
Rod Reynolds | Los Angeles, CA United States | 11/19/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sarah McLachlan's Christmas album, "Wintersong."
I usually try to hold Christmas at bay until Thanksgiving is over, because I love Christmas and don't like to have it shoved down my throat months before its time. But this year since I'm DJ-ing at a Christmas party on the 9th, I have to have my playlist ready. I have a couple hundred Christmas cds; there are a few that I like, mainly by the artists that I like (ie Holly Cole, Alan Jackson, Kenny & Dolly, the Muppets, the Judds, Manhattan Transfer, and the soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas) and I actually have those on my iPod during the season. But the other ones I just sort of put on and don't really pay close attention to, at least not close enough that when I'm playing live at a party I can use my instinct to know what to play next. So I've been listening to Christmas cds prematurely.
I got the Sarah McLachlan last week, and honestly, I can't stop listening to it. It's so unbelievable incredible. It's absolutely stunning. Her version of Joni Mitchell's "River" (been covered many times by people such as Holly Cole, Heart, Vonda Shepard) is outstanding. The original song, which I love, is musically very simple, there's not much to it, it's all about the incredible lyrics. Playing it on the piano it just lies there, there's only four chords in the whole song, and the song is basically a riff that repeats itself several times. Sarah has re-constructed the song in a whole new way; she's made it her own. I don't often say this, but her cover version may be actually better than the original.
She's also taken the pretty (but tired) old Christmas carol, "What Child Is This? (Greensleeves)" and totally made it her own; it's a fascinating, evocative and hauntingly gorgeous version.
There's also a couple original songs; normally 'new" Christmas songs sound like cheap imitations, but her song, "Wintersong" is particularly beautiful. She plays the piano with such grace, something to which I can only aspire. She also bravely covers John Lennon's "Happy Christmas" and Gordon Lightfoot's "Song for a Winter's Night" which was previously released, but is absolutely ethereal (and evocative of Jane Siberry).
This album may actually cause some sorrow come January, when Christmas is over and I have to retire the seasonal music.
Rod Reynolds Los Angeles CA USA"
McLachlan's "Wintersong" Is Absolutely Gorgeous
Steven Housman | West Hollywood, CA & Miami, FL | 12/02/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you're looking for a feast this holiday season that's not just for your stomach but for your ears as well, Sarah McLachlan is certain to steal your heart and satisfy your appetite with her new Christmas album, Wintersong. From the opening track, the John Lennon/Yoko Ono peace anthem "Happy Xmas/War Is Over," which is complete with The Sarah McLachlan Outreach Children's Choir and Youth Choir, this rendition ranks closely to Lennon and Ono's original 1971 musical masterpiece. McLachlan also offers up a few traditional songs such as "What Child Is This? (Greensleeves)," "Silent Night" and "In The Bleak Mid-Winter" with such clarity and beauty, that it may make you want to play this disc well after you've taken down your tree and stored your ornaments for next season. If ever there were any reservations that Sarah McLachlan was a Joni Mitchell fan, those doubts are erased with her splendid interpretation of the 1971 evergreen "River," which sprouted from the famous Blue album. This song is sung so exquisitely, Mitchell herself has to be beaming that one of her treasures is touched upon with such reverence. The title track is the only original song written by McLachlan that's included, and slips in as seamlessly as the tried and true, like a hand to a winter's glove. It's as inviting as the classics that were written decades before, and gives even more warmth to an album that's as cozy as the fire you've built on the eve before Christmas. The holidays are full of delicious treats, and many of them are the contemporary selections such as the wartime tour de force "I'll Be Home For Christmas," which has always resonated with many as a tribute to a family member or loved one that's been away and is sorely missed. It's a lovely but lonely chestnut, and Sarah never loses sight with her sense of hope and longing. It's truly a highlight among highlights. "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" is a song that will always be identified with the late, great Judy Garland and Sarah presents us with a special serving that makes it her own without straying away from the original sentiment. It's clear that Sarah has an affinity for her fellow Canuck's, as she sang so beautifully on the aforementioned Joni Mitchell sonata and she does on Gordon Lightfoot's 70's classic "Songs For A Winter Night," which is sung with such delicate perfection it's almost as if she was auditioning for the veteran songwriter himself. Out of the dozen tracks, number twelve is worth the price of this album alone - "Christmas Time Is Here," which was made famous in 1965 as it was introduced to an international audience in A Charlie Brown Christmas, is hands down one of my very favorite Christmas songs of all-time. This song, and Sarah's rendition, brought chills to my body and tears to my eyes. McLachlan is gorgeously accompanied on piano by her friend, the fabulously talented Diana Krall. The sentiment that runs throughout the final cut is "Beauty Everywhere." That's an understatement that could sum up this entire album."
A Voice Winter-Suited
Slayer Fanboy | Florida, USA | 10/19/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Too long have I waited for a Christmas album from this glorious artist. Her voice and the production of her music is well suited for this kind of sound.
One thing great about Sarah's music is that I often find myself so anxious for the entire thing that sitting through one track is nearly unbareable. And not because the track is unbareable at all, but because I'm just so yearning for more no matter what. Her music is simply beautiful in every sense of the word. And I feel that Mrs. McLachlan captures the spirit of the season better than anyone since the days of the Rat Pack.
Some may argue that this album is too sad for the Christmas season, but if you dig deeper, the music is not about the sadness but the comfort. These songs are very comforting during a season that to some is depressing. I recently lost my grandmother. She was an amazing woman who loved her family and Christmas as well. In fact, we had a Christmas tradition where she would come to our house on Christmas Eve and my sister and I would open our gifts. And this will be my first Christmas without that and I am fearful of it. But this album is making it easier for me, to get rid of the anxiety now and to find the comfort in the season.
My favorite songs are "River," "Song For A Winter's Night," "In the Bleak Mid-Winter," and "I'll Be Home For Christmas." Each song is wonderful, though. And each person will undoubtedly find their own favorite that will easily relate to their comfort. I would have loved a cover of "Somewhere In My Memory," but we can't always get what we want.
Concluding, if you're a fan of Sarah McLachlan, Christmas music or just beautiful music period, make sure this album is in your collection. The only negative is that at the end you'll be begging for more."