Sufjan Stevens Shares ‘Fourth Of July’ Alternate Versions

The two new tracks arrived on the singer-songwriter’s birthday.

By Andy Kahn Jul 1, 2022 12:35 pm PDT

Sufjan Stevens released two new versions of his song “Fourth Of July” in advance of this Monday’s Independence Day holiday. The pair of tracks were issued today (July 1), which is also Stevens’ birthday.

The newly 47-year-old singer-songwriter shared “Fourth of July (April Base Version),” which was recorded at Justin Vernon’s (Bon Iver) studio April Base in Eau Clair, Wisconsin. Stevens also issued “Fourth of July (DUMBO Version),” which he recorded at his former studio in Brooklyn, New York. Both recently re-discovered tracks were recorded around 2014.

“Fourth Of July” first appeared on Stevens’ 2015 album, Carrie & Lowell. The album was titled after Stevens’ estranged mother Carrie and stepfather Lowell Brams and deeply influenced by the death of his mother with whom he had recently reconciled. The below message accompanied the release of the alternate tracks:

As is (and was) his custom, Sufjan would often rework different versions of his songs while recording an album, and “Fourth of July” was no exception. (Other versions and remixes of the song were released on “The Greatest Gift” mixtape and on the “Exploding Whale” 7″ single.)

These two latest versions were recently found on old hard drives. The refrain of the song, “We’re all gonna die,” invokes a meditation on human mortality and fragility, even as it acts as an anchor of stoic hope. Its solemnity invites listeners to feel comfort, connection — even joy — wrought from great pain and loss.

The song has recently had a resurgence with listeners — which may speak to a deep national grief and sense of loss.

A limited run physical 7″ in red will be released in December 2022, which marks the 10-year anniversary of Carrie’s death.

Stream Sufan Stevens’ “Fourth of July (April Base Version)” and “Fourth of July (DUMBO Version)” alternative singles below:

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