As he prepares for the release of new album Carrie & Lowell, singer, songwriter and sometimes-filmmaker Sufjan Stevens sat down with Pitchfork to discuss the stories behind his new record Carrie & Lowell (it’s named after his mother and stepfather), but he also talked about the faith that has been a theme of his music since the beginning. The outlet asked the 39-year-old artist what his faith meant to him at this point in his life, and he said,
I still describe myself as a Christian, and my love of God and my relationship with God is fundamental, but its manifestations in my life and the practices of it are constantly changing. I find incredible freedom in my faith. Yes, the kingdom of Christianity and the Church has been one of the most destructive forces in history, and there are levels of bastardization of religious beliefs. But the unique thing about Christianity is that it is so amorphous and not reductive to culture or place or anything. It's extremely malleable.
This week Stevens released a track from the new album, “No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross,” a song that is a call back to his earlier, signature folk sound, but takes a darker, more complex view of faith. You can hear the track (and read the lyrics, which do contain some strong language) here. Carrie & Lowell hits drops on March 31 ... Discuss
Five years after the release of the experimental electronic LP The Age of Adz, Sufjan Stevens has announced that he is releasing a new album. Carrie & Lowell—named for his mother and stepfather—drops on March 31. A press release for the album explains that the new record is an exploration of "life and death, love and loss, and the artist's struggle to make sense of the beauty and ugliness of love." If this brief album trailer is any indication, it sounds like Carrie & Lowell may be a return to the dreamy, folk sounds of his earlier work ... Discuss
It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything new from Sufjan Stevens, but the always-evolving artist has just released a new song as part of an upcoming tribute album. “A Little Lost” is a cover of an Arthur Russell song, and will appear alongside other tunes from bands including Hot Chip, Phosphorescent and Blood Orange on the compilation, “Master Mix: Red Hot + Arthur Russell,” due out in October. You can stream it for free here, or purchase it on iTunes ... Discuss
Vulture has posted a preview video of the upcoming ballet from choreographer Justin Peck and indie musician/font connoisseur/composer Sufjan Stevens, “Everywhere We Go.” The production is actually the second collaboration between the pair, having worked together on the “Year of the Rabbit” ballet in 2012. Fans can head over to NYCBallet.com to get tickets for the event, which premiers on May 8 ... Discuss
Sinead O’Connor recently penned a scathing open letter to singer Miley Cyrus, warning her of the dangers of sexualizing her image, being exploited by the music industry and telling her that she is a role model that is sending the message to young listeners that it is “somehow cool to be prostituted.” Now, Sufjan Stevens has posted his own open letter to the controversial pop-singer about another egregious mistake (though he does admit “surely this isn’t your worst misdemeanor”): Her poor grammar in the song #GetItRight.
One particular line causes concern: “I been laying in this bed all night long.” Miley, technically speaking, you’ve been LYING, not LAYING, an irregular verb form that should only be used when there’s an object … But also, Miley, did you know the tense here is also totally wrong. Surely you’ve heard of Present Perfect Continuous Tense (I HAVE BEEN LYING in this bed all night long [hopefully getting some beauty sleep?]). It’s a weird, equivocal, almost purgatorial tense, not quite present, not quite past, not quite here, not quite there. Somewhere in between … But I have a feeling your “present perfect continuous” involves a lot more excitement than mine. Anyway, doesn’t that also sum up your career right now? Present. Perfect. Continuous. And Tense. Intense?
Thankfully for Miley, there are other caring celebrities who are willing to issue such stern, but also thoughtful, words of correction … Discuss