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What it is: Ireland’s second-biggest musical export (and 12th overall, between Irish Drinking Team T-shirts [€2.3 billion] and genuine peat moss sold to Americans who like pennywhistle solos [€2.15 billion]) gently tickles the holiday season with ghostly vocals, pulsing synthesizer arrangements, and carols sung in Gaelic.

The bike under the tree: “My! My! Time Flies!,” an uncharacteristically jaunty 2/4 romp where Enya dials back the reverb (relatively) and sings about “Four guys across Abbey Road” and “a king to sing you the blues” over a beat faster than a walking person’s heart rate. Until T’Pau‘s original lineup re-forms, this will have to do.

The lump of coal: Hard to quantify, since no part of this album is arguably better or worse than another—-and this is coming from someone who’s taken a lot of crap from women in his life for insisting that Orinoco Flow be played to christen any new dwelling. In recent years, Enya has mastered making the quality of her albums uniformly excellent, perhaps at the expense of one being aware that the stereo’s on. (Confidential to Enya: No cover of Joni Mitchell’s “River”? Didn’t you get the memo?)

Cheer factor: 2 out of 10. Some might see the propensity of Enya’s music to atomize like a shot of Febreze as a problem, but I submit that this is in fact a strength of And Winter Came—-while you may not remember you are listening to it, your house will feel Christmas-y, and you’ll probably get a lot of other stuff done. It’s like that pine needle smell that real-tree advocates always tout.

LISTEN: “My! My! Time Flies!”
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