02 Dec 2006, 21:11

Maybe the internet isn’t the answer to everything

Having gotten used to the convenience of getting almost all of my music straight from eMusic, its good to remember every now and then that there’s definitely a price to pay for the ease of getting albums as intangible collections of bits. Some albums that go beyond the typical jewel-case and minimal two page liner just aren’t done justice by being purchased as files alone, even if I’ll only end up listening to them that way and not from the physical media. Take Sufjan Stevens’ recently released “Songs for Christmas” boxed set. This compilation of 5 previously officially unreleased (though mostly already distributed by fans online) holiday themed EPs, recorded yearly since 2001 just became available on eMusic recently. Just as I was about to download it, I noticed a review that commented on how many extra bonuses were included in the actual physical boxed set. The set includes: a songbook with chord charts for 29 of the 42 songs, a collection of Christmas stories and essays, a comic, stickers, a Christmas photo of Sufjan and family, and album art for each of the individual discs. Sure, none of that stuff is essential and for anything other than a Christmas album would probably be kind of cheesy, but together make for a charming addition to the music and reflect the personal nature of the project (the discs were originally a yearly Christmas gift for friends and family). After seeing that I hopped over to Amazon (where it’s currently in the top 30 albums) and ordered the album there instead. It was a good call. All the extras are just a bonus on top of an excellent holiday album (and I am not a “holiday album” person by any stretch of the imagination), something right up there with Vince Guaraldi’s classic score for A Charlie Brown Christmas in terms of listenable Christmas music. This is a good thing, as its become a yearly tradition requested by Jolayne to listen to Christmas music on our drive out to Ohio for the holidays. Having another album that we both like never hurts.