12 Songs Of Christmas: Day Four: Annika Norlin – Correspondence – “Silent Night”
Over 12 (working) days, I’m suggesting 12 songs that probably don’t get the airplay they deserve this time of year and should be regarded as Christmas/Seasonal Classics.
Jens Lekman and Annika Norlin embarked on a unique musical journey throughout 2018 as part of their “Correspondence” project. Over 12 months they exchanged musical letters and produced an impressive array of songs.
As December arrived, it was the hugely talented Annika Norlin’s turn to craft a song. She delivered a unique and devastatingly brilliant seasonal piece, taking on the iconic “Silent Night.” Rather than taking the easy route of covering this timeless classic, Norlin chose instead to delve into the song’s history and its evolution.
Reflecting on its origin story, she explores the song’s beginnings and how the composers of “Silent Night,” Father Joseph Mohr, who wrote the lyrics, and Franz Gruber, may have felt performing in the church of St. Nikola in Oberndorf on Christmas Eve of 1818. Norlin also contemplated the impact it may have had on its first listeners, singing, “Well, I like the older stuff better / They should do more upbeat tunes,” acknowledging the presence of hipsters even back in 1818. It’s a witty and moving journey that takes us through the song’s evolution, culminating in the poignant events of the famous Christmas truce of 1914 when “Silent Night” was sung by both sides across the trenches, briefly uniting young soldiers on both sides through music. Educational, moving, witty, and profoundly beautiful, this is a seasonal song for the ages.
“In World War One, 1914
Because it was Christmas
There was a short truce on the battlefield
Both sides laid down their weapons
Sang carols in the night
And the day after
Like nothing had happened, they continued the fight
There was only one song
Known to soldiers on both sides
And for a second,
All was calm, and all was bright”
Born on November 22, 1977, in Östersund, Sweden, Annika Norlin is not just a musician but a respected writer, journalist and artist. Under the monikers Hello Saferide and Säkert! , she has released critically acclaimed music and In 2014, Norlin unveiled her inaugural literary work, “Texter” (“Lyrics”), a compilation featuring the lyrics of all her songs, in Swedish and English.
Expanding her literary repertoire, Norlin released her second book, “Jag ser allt du gör” (“I see everything you do”), in 2020 and her first novel, STACKEN was published this year (2023). All of which proves my long-held assertion that she’s an absolute genius.
You may notice on these seasonal posts I’m dicking about with AI ( and Photoshop) for some of the header images. The results haven’t been too bad with the right prompts, and I’ve been trying to capture some essence of the songs featured. It’s a fun experiment and also slightly scary what it might be capable of in the future!