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November 24, 2012

Slate: Why are Thanksgiving songs all turkeys?

(Continued)

The leftovers struggle to even qualify as Thanksgiving numbers. There are songs that hint at the theme but don't directly address it (the Beastie Boys' "Gratitude"); songs that don't even have lyrics (Thelonious Monk's "Stuffy Turkey"); and songs that are barely songs at all (Johnny Cash speak-singing an epic heartland soliloquy).

In the end the blame must fall upon our songwriters. You can't tell me I haven't tried. I was in a terrible band in college and, one fall semester, having identified this gaping void, I tried my hand at composing a Thanksgiving song of my own. As I recall, "Plymouth Rock" was played but once — on the stage of a subterranean campus bar. It was not well received.

Until the Thanksgiving hit of our dreams comes along, our best option just might be The National's new cover of a weird, jumbled ditty from the animated show Bob's Burgers. It's a comic dirge — not a sincere, joyous ode to the greatest holiday ever invented. But it'll do for now. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I hope you'll join me when I sing, "Kill, kill, kill. Kill the turkey."

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Stevenson is the author of "Grounded: A Down to Earth Journey Around the World."

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