Think of the classic Erasure Christmas song “She Won’t Be Home.” Now imagine an entire Christmas album of fun Erasure seasonal originals along with Andy and Vince giving traditional holiday songs that bouncy Erasure sound.
Now keep imagining, because this isn’t that album. Snow Globe is basically Erasure’s darkest, gloomiest album ever posing as a holiday album. Half the songs aren’t even really about Christmas, so you’re just going to have to stick with “She Won’t Be Home” for your Erasure holiday fix. Here’s the breakdown of each song on the deluxe edition.
1. Bells of Love (Isabelle’s of Love) – Sure, it has bells in the title, but it’s not really a Christmas song. But it is Erasure in their best “melancholy” mode.
2. Gaudete – This has a heavy sound, complete with dark tubular bells and dark choral harmonies. Don’t know what the song is about because it’s not in English.
3. Make It Wonderful – Another melancholy song…with the word “wonderful” in the title? This is one gloomy Christmas. Good Erasure song, but not really a Christmas song, unless Andy’s talking about the Baby Jesus making it wonderful or something. He does mention the Northern Star.
4. Sleep Quietly – Okay, Andy’s singing about Jesus in this one, but it sounds like a creepy lullaby from a horror movie.
5. Silent Night – A pretty traditional reading of this standard, but uber slow and melancholy.
6. Loving Man – Finally, a classic upbeat synthpop Erasure sound. But this is not about Christmas at all.
7. The Christmas Song (aka: Chestnuts Roasting On an Open Fire) – This is a fun and whimsical rendition of the song. It’s got a downtempo, bleepy synth sound to start, but slowly begins to bring in an Erasure beat, breaking into full synthpop bounce in the middle for a short period before slowing down again.
8. Bleak Midwinter – Maybe that should have been the title for this album. You can imagine what this sounds like. Sure, it’s all about snow, but man is it super gloomy.
9. Blood on the Snow – Just look at the title.
10. There’ll Be No Tomorrow – Musically an upbeat Erasure song for sure, but the lyrics are nice and sleazy—it’s about a fallen angel, for heaven’s sake! Not a Christmas song, although Andy does say “naughty or nice” once. Merry Christmas.
11. Midnight Clear – Yes, the traditional “It Came Upon A” song. Slow, melancholy rendition that will put you to sleep for a long winter’s nap.
12. White Christmas – Not to sound like a broken MP3, but it’s a slow, melancholy, gloomy rendition of a holiday standard. This one seems to be recorded to sound like it’s being played on an old Victrola.
13. Silver Bells – Yes. It’s slow and melancholy. But Andy’s vocals are crisp and upfront, with choral accents in the background and charming synth touches by Vince. I kind of like that this one closes out the album.
To add insult to injury, the bonus CD gives us acapella versions of “Gaudete,” instrumental versions of “Silent Night” and “White Christmas,” and an acoustic version of “Make It Wonderful.” Who knew these songs could get even less fun?
There’s an acoustic version of “Stop The Cavalry,” an old Jona Lewie song that I never really understood as a Christmas song.
We also get “redux” versions of two Erasure Christmas songs from the 80s. “She Won’t Be Home” is remixed into—imagine this—a more robotic, dark synth sound. “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” was a very short song in its original form, with not much going on. This new mix gives it a harder orchestration (completed with distorted synths and orchestral stabs) that actually fits with the rather dark and spooky feel of the traditional melody. It’s definitely more interesting than the original mix.
“Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” is a 4 minute narrative of this old story—with the letter being read by Andy while a pretty melody plays in the background.
This is a 50 minute Christmas Radio Show. It’s a live Christmas broadcast from New York City with Andy and Vince. It’s them playing the songs you already have on the CD, offering little spoken interludes in between. There’s pretty much no reason to listen to this CD more than once.
So that’s the music. The boxed set comes with dozens of playful Erasure Snow Globe postcards, a desk calendar in a plastic jewel case, a little box of holiday candies, one red and one green Snow Globe balloon, and a very pretty red Erasure Christmas ball. The ornament is the most Christmasy thing here.