11 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Sufjan Stevens has taken creative detours into textured electro-pop, orchestral suites, and holiday music, but Carrie & Lowell returns to the feathery indie folk of his quietly brilliant early-’00s albums, like Michigan and Seven Swans. Using delicate fingerpicking and breathy vocals, songs like “Eugene,” “The Only Thing,” and the Simon & Garfunkel-influenced “No Shade in the Shadow of The Cross” are gorgeous reflections on childhood. When Stevens whispers in multi-tracked harmony over the album’s title track—an impressionistic portrait of his mother and stepfather that glows with nostalgic details—he delivers a haunting centerpiece.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Sufjan Stevens has taken creative detours into textured electro-pop, orchestral suites, and holiday music, but Carrie & Lowell returns to the feathery indie folk of his quietly brilliant early-’00s albums, like Michigan and Seven Swans. Using delicate fingerpicking and breathy vocals, songs like “Eugene,” “The Only Thing,” and the Simon & Garfunkel-influenced “No Shade in the Shadow of The Cross” are gorgeous reflections on childhood. When Stevens whispers in multi-tracked harmony over the album’s title track—an impressionistic portrait of his mother and stepfather that glows with nostalgic details—he delivers a haunting centerpiece.

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Customer Reviews

5 out of 5

490 Ratings

“Back”? He never left.

Joyfulunwisdom,

Sufjan is not “back” because he never left. “Age of Adz” was his most personal album to date, and it was pure Sufjan from start to finish. The electronic sounds symbolize creation and movement—a person coming into being but in a mechanized sort of way. Really listen to the sounds and how they develop; he wasn't just messing around with boops and beeps. Sufjan is very intentional.

I understand that it's hard to follow our favorite artists when they seem to tear off in a other direction, but to see Age of Adz as a departure from Sufjan being himself and somehow eschewing his style is catastrophic because it pretends to love Sufjan's heart while looking at it bleeding in his outstretched hands as he holds it up for your closer examination and care. Please go back and listen to Age of Adz with care and an attentive ear and heart. It's excruciatingly personal and absolutely stunning.

That said, I'm very excited to have the privilege of listening to more from someone who can seem so much like a friend I've known for years.

I love you, Subaru Stevens

planetphrom,

Eugene, Fourth of July, and The Only Thing are perhaps the most beautiful songs I've heard in my life, and the rest of the album is nothing less than ethereal. Prepare for 45 of the most profound minutes you've ever known. Sufjan is truly a god.

About Sufjan Stevens

A singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose music deals with both the personal and the spiritual while accompanied by simple but striking musical patterns, Detroit-born Sufjan Stevens started venturing into the music world while attending Hope College as a member of Marzuki, a folk-rock band based in Holland, Michigan. Following the release of two full-length albums with the group, Stevens decided to go solo in late 1999, investing fully in a career that was waiting to shine by itself. Sun Came, his debut album, appeared in 2000, confirming his superior musical command, complex instrumentation, and sparkling melodies. The promotion of the disc included playing on the road with the Danielson Famile, with whom he began regularly working. The heavily electronic Enjoy Your Rabbit, a song cycle concerning the animals of the Chinese zodiac, hit record stores in 2001, followed in 2003 by Greetings from Michigan: The Great Lake State, a 15-track conceptual piece produced and performed by Stevens -- he played over 20 instruments -- that placed his home state under the writer's microscope. Despite the record's narrowed focus, it was among the best reviewed work that year and made many critics' year-end lists. In 2004, Stevens released his follow-up, Seven Swans, a thoughtful, spiritual, and quasi-mystical collection of stand-alone songs produced by Danielson Famile mastermind Daniel Smith.

Stevens returned to his ambitious "states" project in 2005 with the epic Illinoise (extended title: Sufjan Stevens Invites You To: Come on Feel the Illinoise), which became one of the best-reviewed album of 2005, spawning accolades both regional and international. (It was also smacked with a lawsuit concerning the depiction of DC Comics icon Superman on the cover, who was eventually covered by a balloon sticker and subsequently removed from further pressings.) The 21-track Avalanche: Outtakes & Extras from the Illinois Album and the five-disc Christmas box set Songs for Christmas arrived in 2006, followed in 2007 by the instrumental BQE, a self-described "symphonic and cinematic exploration of New York City's infamous Brooklyn-Queens Expressway" that was commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music and performed on three consecutive nights (November 1-3, 2007) in front of a film shot by Stevens, who had officially relocated to New York in 2000. Run Rabbit Run, a version of 2001's Enjoy Your Rabbit performed by the Osso String Quartet, and a recorded version, BQE, arrived in October 2009.

In 2010, Stevens surprised everybody by releasing All Delighted People, a nearly 60-minute EP of new music. An all-new studio album, the surreal electronic pop manifesto The Age of Adz, arrived later, in October of that year. In 2012 Stevens released the five-EP box set Silver & Gold: Songs for Christmas, Vols. 6-10, the sequel to 2006's Songs for Christmas, Vols. 1-5. The year 2014 brought the release of Sisyphus, a collaboration between Stevens, Son Lux, and Serengeti. Stevens also teamed up with Yarn/Wire in 2014 to compose and perform the soundtrack to Round-Up, an impressionistic documentary film about rodeo riders. In 2015, Stevens returned with his first solo album of new, non-seasonal material since The Age of Adz; Carrie & Lowell, inspired by the death of his mother, was released in March 2015, followed by a concert tour. A November 2015 date from the tour was recorded and filmed, and released in audio and video formats as Carrie & Lowell Live, which included an extended encore of Drake's "Hotline Bling" with guest artist Gallant. The live album was issued in April 2017. June 2017 saw the release of Planetarium, a collaborative project inspired by the Solar System that featured Stevens as well as Bryce Dessner of the National, contemporary composer Nico Muhly, and percussionist James McAlister. ~ Mario Mesquita Borges & James Christopher Monger

  • ORIGIN
    Detroit, MI
  • BORN
    Jul 1, 1975

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