“Silent Night,” which she recorded in 2018 for Eric Paschal Johnson’s short film The Letter, is haunting and stark, as she sings against synths. “Blue Christmas,” the B-side, takes on a lighter feel, her lithe vocals backed by guitar. Van Etten recorded it over a decade ago for 2009’s Do You Ear What I Ear, an album for the Association to Benefit Children.
“The holidays are just around the corner, and since I’m always late to the party, I thought I’d share two holiday songs I recorded,” Van Etten wrote on Instagram. “Nothing really beats the Bob Dylan Christmas record for me — but I hope they bring you joy.”
Last month, Van Etten contributed “Let Go,” to Feels Good Man, a documentary about the history of the internet meme Pepe the Frog. In September, she covered Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt” for National Suicide Prevention Month. “In my life, when I’ve accepted help are the times when I have overcome [my problems],” she said. “I found the road, ya know? It was like somebody opened the gate to a road that I knew was a better road. Even if it’s a different road, at least it’s moving.”