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Musical Pairings: Sufjan Stevens – Ding! Dong! Songs For Christmas, Vol. III

Happy Holidays! Kasey and I wanted to leave you with one last post before Christmas. Kasey saved her delicious sparkling, ginger chewies recipe for the occasion, and I pulled out Sufjan Steven’s Ding! Dong! Songs for Christmas album. Of course, these Sufjan albums are widely posted across the blog-o-sphere every Christmas, but I think with good reason. The entry point into the albums are the fun takes on original Christmas tunes, in part because they represent a somewhat contemporary approach to those classic, well-known songs. And although I’m eagerly waiting for the Sufjan-take on “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree” and “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” these EPs are fantastic in part because they include a number of fantastic original songs.

The story behind these albums is that beginning in 2001, Sufjan prepared a new EP of Christmas music each year, and distributed the results to family and friends. He said be began the project in an attempt to help himself have a greater appreciation of Christmas. Of these EPs, my favorite is Ding! Dong! Songs for Christmas, Volume III. The album opens with a brief, simple and traditional piano version of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” The track that follows, a Sufjan original, “Come On! Lets Boogey to the Elf Song!” is upbeat and catchy. It features many of the most distinctive tools from Sufjan’s musical tool box: banjo, layered harmonies, swirling rhythms, and the use of evocative imagery. “That Was The Worst Christmas Ever!” is another traditionally Sufjan-esque song that features his soft vocals (including a few lyrics borrowed from “Silent Night”) and a center crafted from a beautiful, plucked banjo and rolling piano. This is a collection certain to get you in the holiday spirit! Pick up the collection over at Amazon.

Sufjan Stevens – Come On! Lets Boogey to the Elf Song!

Head back to eating/sf to read the recipe for Kasey’s sparkling ginger chewies!

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Posted by Matthew Hickey

Matthew is the music editor and co-founder of Turntable Kitchen. He’s addicted to vinyl records, pour over coffee, craft beer, small batch bourbon, and pan roasting pork chops.

  • Sarah

    "That Was The Worst Christmas Ever" is one of my favorite songs of his. Another from the compilation called "Christmas In The Room" is really nice too, though I dont remember which cd it's on.

  • Matthew

    I agree Sarah – "That Was The Worst Christmas Ever" is a great song. Some of these Christmas songs rate as some of his best.

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