Breeds of Misery: Lovelorn revery, clinical depression, seasonal affective disorder

Best/Worst Verse: "All my friends, I've returned to sister winter. All my friends, I apologize, apologize..."

Of all of Sufjan Stevens' extensive Christmastime EP songology - now enclosed in two lovingly and intimately presented box sets (which you can find here and here; you're welcome) - this is perhaps my favorite offering. It's beautiful, evocative, and intensely sad. I've always thought it almost read like an immaculately conceived suicide letter. At the very least it's a reminder, as we feast on the joys of the holiday, that Winter Is Coming. As Stevens says in his liner notes to the second box set: "This is the true horror-show catharsis of Christmas: the existential emptiness that perseveres in the heart of modern man as he recklessly pursues his search for happiness and comes up empty handed."

AuthorJohn Proctor