Tinsel And Lights

  • Record Label: Merge
  • Release Date: Oct 30, 2012

Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
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  1. Oct 31, 2012
    While it is a meditation on Christmas, it makes no attempt to manipulate the listener's feelings. Instead, with its sheer musical quality, and the depth of tenderness and empathy in Thorn's voice, it highlights the season's complexities in the face of everyday life.
  2. Nov 13, 2012
    Tinsel is a good holiday album for smart, gentle souls who like fires, sweaters, and evocative songwriting, and who avoid the mall on Black Friday.
  3. Nov 1, 2012
    The moments of goodness and light here bump up against plenty of songs that are depressing or otherwise unseasonal-feeling. You're happy to get the present, but it's not exactly what you would've asked for from Santa.
  4. Uncut
    Oct 31, 2012
    A bit Mariah Carey on paper, but startling in practice. [Dec 2012, p.77]
  5. Q Magazine
    Oct 29, 2012
    Tracey Thorn dispatches these carefully chosen covers and four new tracks with realism and a lightness of touch. [Nov 2012, p.106]
  6. Mojo
    Dec 17, 2012
    [A] selection of sparingly produced wistfulness. [Jan 2013, p.95]
  7. 60
    While the low-key arrangements and melancholic song choices may make Tinsel And Lights an EastEnders special of a Christmas album, if you're planning on a microwaved turkey dinner for one this year, there's probably no better soundtrack.
  8. Nov 8, 2012
    This is the sound of a well established, accomplished singer and production crew that have earned their right to do what they want to a high standard.
  9. Nov 20, 2012
    Those who appreciate what she does well can recognise that in her own understated way, Thorn belongs in the pantheon of the truly great British female singers, and this is another worthy addition to a back catalogue of consistently high quality.
  10. Oct 29, 2012
    The most surprising thing about Tinsel and Lights might not be that it's a Christmas album by Tracey Thorn, but that it manages to transcend its genre and the season it's intended to soundtrack, perhaps because it forsakes any of the usual musical signifiers.
  11. 70
    Everything But the Girl's Tracey Thorn's Tinsel and Lights is just that, and you could do worse than add it to this year's Santa list.
  12. Dec 21, 2012
    Thorn succeeds through low-key, simple arrangements and her empathetic, sensible voice, which has the all-seeing authority of a storybook narrator.
  13. Magnet
    Jan 4, 2013
    Essentially, it's the super-cool but super-classy Christmas record all hipsters hope they'll find under their tree this year. [No. 94, p.61]
  14. Oct 30, 2012
    The Everything But the Girl gal follows up her superb 2010 solo album, "Love and Its Opposite," with this gently lovely seasonal release.
  15. Nov 28, 2012
    The true spirit of Christmas is safe in Tracey Thorn's hands.
  16. Oct 29, 2012
    There's nothing here to write home about but it should make a nice stocking filler for Mum.
  17. Oct 29, 2012
    Tracey Thorn's fourth solo set, though, is the best of the bunch [of Christmas albums], its sparse songs home to a seasonal standard, choice covers of Dolly Parton, White Stripes and Randy Newman songs and, in Joy and the title track, two fabulous self-penned tunes.
  18. 80
    Tracey Thorn takes a wider brief than usual for her Christmas Album Tinsel & Lights, mostly avoiding the routine carols and standards in favour of left-field choices.
  19. Tinsel and Lights is at its best during its most Christmassy moments, which in the context of everything else, feels a little ironic, as Thorn sounds like she's trying to avoid the holiday for the most part.
  20. In its own downbeat, understated way, Tinsel and Lights does more for festive good cheer than any number of more traditional Christmas albums that go straight for the razzle-dazzle.

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