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Gagnant Grammy Award et MMA Award. Sugarland sortent leur premier album de Noël. 10 chansons dont les classiques "Holly Holly Christmas", "Silent Night" and "Winter Wonderland" et plusieurs titres originaux du groupe. Sugarland ont vendus plus de 7 millions d'albums dans le monde.
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Une version très originale de Holy Night..
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Christmas CDs are a knotty affair: almost every successful artist is mandated to release one yuletide offering nowadays whether or not the set is birthed from the heart. With 5 number 1 hits, 3 multi-platinum albums, and a prime time TV special, success certainly has been a close relative of Sugarland. And like many country superstars, they have been lobbied by their record company to cut a seasonal effort as a stop-gap album in lieu of a brand new studio CD this year. Yet, this duo has not treated this as a contractual CD. Rather, on this hybrid effort, they have invested 5 original tunes, some of which are among their most heartfelt compositions. Even when they tackle the seasonal chestnuts, they have endorsed their interpretations with innovative creativity. Bursting the seams of genre classifications, these 10 cuts are made so much more interesting with doses of r & b, jazz, pop, country rock as well as even some traces of bluegrass.
The set's opener "City of Silver Dreams" is an instant heart grabber--a polished country pop ballad about a wide-eyed country girl's first Christmas in the urban jungle of New York City. Jennifer Nettles' heartfelt delivery emotes in convincing ways the loneliness of being homesick that truly staggers the heart. "Little Wood Guitar," written by Ellis Paul and Kristian Bush, is a finely honed narrative piece telling the story of how a girl's life changed since she received a guitar as her only gift one Christmas. Yet not is syrupy sentimental; Sugarland shows that they know how to have fun with "Nuttin' for Christmas." Cute, fun, and definitely catchy--Nettles truly sounds like she's having fun and easily "Nuttin' for Christmas" would rock well in the ranks of classics such as "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and "Jingle Bells." However, not all the originals are of that lofty in standard: "Maybe Baby" sounds like a track from their standard album with "Christmasy" references tagged on. While "Coming Home" is pretty average this time finding the duo in r&b territory with a light touch of Gospel.
As for the seasonal favourites, Sugarland does step out of the tried and tested box. This duo gives "Winter Wonderland" a country boogie makeover that is infectious. While most renditions of "O Come O Come Emanuel" are dirge-like slow, Sugarland offers a bluegrassy take of this hymn making it sound like a rootsy Southern Gospel revival number. Never to be restrained by the language barrier, "Silent Night" is sung bilingually in both English and Spanish. This time "Silent Night" finds Jennifer Nettles trading lines with Kristian Bush making one wish they would sing more duets together. Kristian Bush again returns to the microphone to sing lead on "Holly Jolly Christmas" which is quite jovial without being exceptional.
Relative to most Christmas CDs out there, "Gold and Green" shows personality. More than just a holiday album, this is very much a Sugarland record. They have left their patented mark all over. Even the traditional old favourites have been re-vamped. However, like their studio albums, with the originals coming mostly from their own pens, some of them become pretty average pop country efforts. Other than that, "Gold and Green" is much more than your average sonic ornament.
Yes - these may be "Christmas" songs, but the new original songs on here transcend religious beliefs. They are truely year-round songs of family, love, gratefulness and dreams.
This album is magical from start to finish! Make sure you buy some extra copies - they are perfect hostess gifts or stocking stuffers and everyone will love it.
But it's the 5 original compositions that really separate GOLD AND GREEN from the rest of the holiday pack. "City of Silver Dreams" opens the disc with snowy sweet love letter to New York City, a song that surely deserves a place among the all-time great Christmas tunes. "Coming Home" revisits the theme of the band's first single "Baby Girl" (even going so far as to have the mother in the song ask 'How's my baby girl?'), and it's hard not to see art imitating life when one realizes it was just 5 short years ago that Nettles and Co. burst onto the scene with that slice of life-on-the-road. The title track evokes a sort of country-tinged Carpenters, although even Karen Carpenter never got so choice a line as "The butter light of candlesticks/Chases snowflakes off the bricks." Kristian Bush takes the mic for "Maybe Baby (New Year's Day)", a restless plea to see an old lover during the holidays. While probably the weakest of the original songs here, it's still a fine Steve Earle-style mid-tempo rocker.
And then we come to what is not only the album's best song, it could be the song-writing and performance high point of Sugarland's career to date. "Little Wood Guitar" is as perfect a composition as has come around in many years. While stylistically akin to "Coming Home," the song simply takes flight when Nettles reaches the chorus. And again, it's hard not to see some truth in the story of the rather unassuming Christmas present that had the power to change a person's life.
I guess the real revelation about GOLD AND GREEN is that it does not, for one moment, NOT feel like a Sugarland album. This is no studio-mandated collection of cover songs designed to front-load the retail racks in time for Christmas. It is what it is: A Sugarland Christmas album. Highly recommended.
Although Sugarland's music is rooted in country (some tracks actually utilize a steel guitar), it has a contemporary urban feel to it, clearly illustrated by the opening track, City of silver dreams. Traditional country songs usually contrast the big bad cities and the nasty people who inhabit them with the rural life that they acknowledge as tough but at least the people are nice, examples being Detroit city (Bobby Bare), I'm gonna be a country girl again (Buffy Sainte-Marie) and Big city (Merle Haggard). The opening track shows how far country songs have changed, as it pays enthusiastic homage to New York, including one verse about St Patrick's Cathedral and another about 5th Avenue. Instead of regarding New York as heartless and soulless, country singers now recognize that New York can be enjoyable.
Following that opener are a couple of standards (Winter wonderland), which are given a distinctive Sugarland treatment but still stick to the basic original arrangement, so they should still sound reassuringly familiar enough to satisfy traditionalists. Next come three original songs. The first of these, Coming home, makes no reference to Christmas and could be about a homecoming at any time of year, but it certainly fits in here comfortably. The title track describes some of the good feelings of Christmas, while the sad song, Maybe baby New year's day, finds a man reflecting on how Christmas used to be with a woman who is only a memory.
Nuttin' for Christmas, a song first recorded by the Fontane Sisters, is a wonderful upbeat fun song that is rarely recorded. Next comes the standard O come O come Emmanuel, which Jennifer sings with the dignity it requires. A very stately song, the instrumentation includes two banjos, which is not exactly what one might expect, but they are played with great restraint while providing a distinctive touch. Nobody will mistake Sugarland's version of this carol for any other.
The last original song here, Little wood guitar, is about a Christmas gift given to a girl (Jennifer?) who eventual becomes successful. A great story song, it ranks alongside the opening track and the title track as one of the three best tracks here, although the entire album is brilliant. The album ends with an excellent bilingual version of Silent night.
This album took a few spins to grown on me, but I appreciated it more each time I played it. While the album is generally upbeat, I'm not convinced that it would work as party music, but it would be great at any other time of the festive season.