The Atheist Christmas Album? Yes, it’s Christmas, without the religion. And whether you don’t believe in a God, or you do, this collection of Christmas tunes is worth making a noise about. No, it’s not a Weird Al mockery type charade, this is a Christmas album, created by talented avant-garde artist, Tylean, who just wanted Christmas without the Christ for her family. In her own words, “Being an atheist, there have been some changes to how my own family celebrates the festive season compared to when I was growing up. No church, no nativities. It’s a strictly secular holiday, and I regretted losing none of the religious nonsense! ….except the music.”
And Tylean certainly isn’t the kind of girl to sing Santa Baby a-la Eartha Kitt, Madannoa, Taylor Swift….or whoever it is this time around. No. Tylean has class, and she’s gone in deep to create a 12 track album of genuinely beautiful music. If you know her work well you’ll possibly be surprised, or not so much, by the almost-normal nature of this album, from an artist the industry knows well for having a penchant for disturbing sights and sounds in her performance (we saw her in a straight jacket, lathered in blood once). Quite on the contrary, The Atheist Christmas Album holds a genuine holiday feeling, festive frivolity, and secular “seasonal” cheer. And I don’t say that because the Festive season has to bring some kind of cheesiness with it, I say it because it is genuine. The music isn’t written to be a direct mockery; it’s written for a family that just doesn’t do religion.
My personal favourites so far on this album are “The Holly and the Ivy”, which carries a chill and crisp beauty with it and “Lost in the Snow”, a well written mash-up of Little Town of Bethlehem and We Three Kings. But you don’t have to like the darker christmassy tunes like me, Tylean’s voice has an impossible range and you’re bound to feel quite at home with warmers like “I heard the bells on Christmas Day” and her cover of “Auld Lang Syne” which also takes her cello playing talent to town.
Aside from the chilling, slightly spooky undertones that conjure up imaginative Hansel-and-Gretel-esque images of children lost the snow searching for the way home in many of the classic songs she has chosen to re-work, there is a strong nod to her own personal work in the original piece “Everyone Has Someone on Christmas except Me”, a song that taps into the psyche behind Christmas and the push toward commercialism and overdoing it, which can leave some of us feeling cast-out and alone beneath the bustle of it. If I can be so bold as to suggest it is a reminder when we are at risk of forgetting that Christmas should really be about linking in. About family, about friends, and about being human, caring for those around us.
Get your hands on Tylean’s The Atheist Christmas Album by downloading it here