I'm a Christmas Unicorn: A musicological and theological analysis of Sufjan Stevens's song, "Christmas Unicorn"




Martindale, Janna

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The purpose of this thesis is to introduce the reader to Sufjan Stevens’s 2012 fifty-eight track album Silver & Gold, and specifically the final song, “Christmas Unicorn,” a twelve and half minute anti-epic pop song that starts off in a folk style and builds to an electronic, symphonic climax. The album presents many styles of Christmas songs, including Bach chorales, hymns, original songs, “Jingle Bells,” and a Prince cover. I argue that this album is a post-modern presentation demonstrating all the different expressions of Christmas are valid, no matter how commercial or humble. “Christmas Unicorn” synthesizes all these styles through the metaphor of the unicorn, which is a medieval symbol of Christ in the Nativity and the Crucifixion. Stevens uses the symbol of the unicorn to represent Christ as well as all humans and all the different attributes of Christmas.