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Tyler Clark presents: Local Mythologies writesTop 25 Christmas Songs: #7 - Sufjan Stevens, “Come On! Let’s Boogey to the Elf Dance!”

It's the holiday season, which means Christmas music. Lots and lots or Christmas music, most of which was written before the people listening to it were even alive. While "Jingle Bells" and "We Three Kings" are great, and resilient, we're devoting this year to finding the best Christmas song written since 1989. We continue today with #7, and one of many, many possible entries from Sufjan Stevens.

 



#7: Sufjan Stevens, "Come On! Let's Boogey to the Elf Dance!" (2003)

By my count, Sufjan Stevens has written, recorded, and released 37 original Christmas songs since 2001, making him far and away the most prolific holiday artist on this countdown. That's not even counting the the 63 other new arrangements and covers of other people's carols that populate his two (!) Christmas boxsets, 2006's Songs for Christmas and 2012's Silver & Gold. It's also not counting any he's written since 2012; those boxsets are, of course, compilations of annual Christmas records that Stevens first distributes among friends and family.

What Frank Zappa is to experimental music and Guided By Voices is to lo-fi indie rock, Sufjan Stevens is to modern holiday tunes.

Choosing one of his originals for this list obviously proved daunting. Hell, limiting myself to just one of his songs was equally hard. In the end, though, I gave my vote to "Come On! Let's Boogey to the Elf Dance!", which first appeared on 2003's Ding! Dong!: Songs for Christmas, Vol. III. For me, the song always stood out for its accurate portrayal of how I experienced Christmas as a kid.

The holiday is a sensory overload, with mundane changes (stores are closed! relatives are here!) getting jumbled up with massive metaphysical beliefs (it's the birthday of mankind's savior!). Stevens noticed that, too, and turned the jumble into a kinda-sweet, kinda-sad reflection on youthful existence. It's a powerful song, underneath its ramshackle poppiness, and articulates an idea that I've felt for years, but could never express.

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Categorized: Christmas Top 25

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