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Like, ‘Keep It Moving’ or ‘Let Go and Let God’ or ‘Easy Does It.’ ‘One Day at a Time.’ I find myself falling back on those when I’m at a loss.”, There is a song on The Ascension called “Goodbye to All That,” a reference to Joan Didion’s famous essay about leaving New York; there is Sufjan Stevens autobiography still to be found. You can read the whole essay over here.

But the songs on The Ascension aren’t something you would mistake for, say, chill lo-fi beats.

But that's exactly why Sufjan's willingness to bridge queer pride and religion is inherently important.

“I decided to take that song and rework it and rerecord it, and embrace the expository tone. Rather than thinking of his songs like short stories—he took graduate classes in writing in the early 2000s, before he wrote some of those detail-laden or place-based records—he wanted to experiment with going in the opposite direction.

I’ve relocated in body, mind, and spirit.”, It’s not a surprise that Stevens, he of more than a few pastoral folk songs and two whole albums devoted to Midwestern states, would find some solace in the country; a year and a pandemic-related exodus from the city later, his exit even seems prescient. ", Sufjan's theory is that "failure to love is a failure to be oneself, a failure to be human," and that the concept of self-loathing stems from when Adam and Eve initially gave into temptation. Unable to find a new one, he put his instruments into storage and felt his relationship to the place begin to change.

"This is our duty at every moment. “That’s not helpful right now. A couple weeks back, Sufjan Stevens quietly emerged with two new tracks, "Love Yourself" and "With My Whole Heart." For Sufjan Stevens, the answer has appeared to be to do as much Other Stuff as possible. © 2020 Condé Nast. Oh, Great Sights upon This State: Sufjan Stevens’ collaborative album from earlier this spring has an abstract cover to say the least.

I began to notice that there were diminishing returns in being there, like the city itself was no longer of service to me, and I was no longer of service to it.”. But it is easier said than done. I didn’t want anything representational,” he said.

For our poverty. By Salvatore Maicki. “I think that the Ariana Grande song kind of woke me up, ‘Thank U, Next,’” he said. A rat infestation in his apartment was the final straw, but his frustration with city living began a few years before when he was abruptly kicked out of the Brooklyn studio space he had used for about 10 years. Our boy Sufjan has never been expressly open about his sexuality outside of his lyrics (here's looking at you, "Predatory Wasp of the Palisades"), leading fans to often lovingly speculate whether his songs are gay or about God. Will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy. “It was intentional to eliminate anything autobiographical or personal or narrative. (He said the experience was a “living nightmare,” but admitted that he was starstruck when he met Eva Marie Saint in a valet line.)
For being naked in a garden.". For our special need. “We’re actually extremely adaptable, humans,” he said. It isn't that deep. He told me that he was afraid the album would come off as too angry. “I started gardening, I bought an ATV, I bought a chain saw.

While you’re here, you might as well revisit the similarly-themed singles Stevens released last month, too.
"To love yourself, you must know yourself. Sufjan Stevens champions self-love.

For Stevens, the change comes a few years after he reached new heights in his career. The main takeaway from all of this is that Sufjan seems like he's finally in a place in his life where he feels comfortable embracing himself for who he is, and that's something worth celebrating.

“It seems like she was tonally able to balance an understanding of a situation and of the value of [seeing] things diplomatically—but was also so over it.”, In conversation, Stevens has long been reticent to talk about his personal life, but his vast body of work serves as a densely layered autobiography.

The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. For our sexuality. Is this Sufjan Stevens essay gay or about God?

As a queer man who grew up ten minutes away from where Sufjan went to college, I can attest that the chains of Midwestern heteronormativity are a heavy burden. ©2020 The Fader, Inc. All rights reserved. In 2015, Carrie & Lowell, an intimate and personal record about his childhood and family, received widespread critical acclaim.

The unbearable lightness of being Sufjan Stevens. "For the color of our skin. Sign up for our daily newsletter and never miss a story. The same idea that had made the Michigan-native artist Sufjan Stevens a 2000s indie-rock sensation was, for a few years, threatening to turn him into a punchline. For years, Stevens had written empathetic songs that use American history as a metaphor, but that tone didn’t make sense for the moment. For our wealth. Looking for more?

To have awareness without shame, we must undo everything the world has told us about our worth. It’s somewhat preachy and a little bitchy and cynical and mean-spirited. But his new record, The Ascension, the first he has finished in his new studio upstate, is not exactly a tribute to rural life. I finally gave myself license to speak like that in music. Sufjan Stevens, Asthmatic Kitty, and Soundsfamilyre announce Sufjan’s third full-length album, a collection of songs for his birth-state, Michigan, “The Great Lake State.” Composed as a geographical tone poem, Michigan follows a metaphysical expedition through the idiosyncrasies of middle America. And he's absolutely correct. The double-single arrived as a prelude to Pride Month, an affirmation punctuated by its rainbow-tinted cover art. “Maybe we should consider that—maybe we can also change politics and change the systems of government and society.”, Unlike the record’s narrator, Stevens feels some hope.

I hadn’t really done that too much before.”, In 2018, more inspiration for the album arrived from an unexpected source. He began writing the album’s closer, “America,” around six years ago, while he was still wrapping Carrie & Lowell. The remedy for it all, according to Sufjan, is love. For our privilege. Besides, there’s something almost tragic about living in circumstances that make a person long obsessed with nuance and detail feel moved to cast them aside. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement (updated 1/1/20) and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement (updated 1/1/20) and Your California Privacy Rights.

Citing Jesus and RuPaul in equal measure, Stevens encourages his readers and fan-base to break the cycle of self-loathing and shame, finding the beauty in their existence: This is our calling as well: to be human again.

The title track is accusatory and disdainful, but it ends with a repeated refrain of “What now?” Even the songs that discuss romantic love, like “Video Game” and “Landslide,” are also concerned with betrayal, pain, and defeat.

For our religion. And to know yourself, you must love yourself," he writes.

The answer is, definitely both. “Aesthetically, it’s a little bit outside of what I normally do,” he said, adding that he even considered bringing on outside producers and programmers to bring it further into the mainstream.

While he was planning his next move, Stevens began writing a suite of songs using the only implements he had—his computer, some synthesizers, and a drum machine. "Love... must endure, it must evolve, it must expand, it must be born-again. “Sometimes I think these platitudes can speak for deeper truths in moments of crisis when you don’t have the words or the wherewithal or the resources to really fully comprehend in language what’s going on,” he said.

To give it our all, to the end, until we have nothing left to give," he writes, adding that "the message here isn’t very deep."

“I’m utterly no longer a city dweller, which is pretty exciting,” he said in a recent interview. A list of fundraisers you can support right now. It’s a real departure for the multi-instrumentalist, whose songs can range from symphonic jaunts on Illinois to spacious acoustic folk on records like Seven Swans.


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