I really do believe he is one of a kind. The king of unrecognized pop. What breed of artist bursts back onto the scene with an EP and a new album in the one year, I quote “leaving indie kids everywhere scrambling for their inhalers.’? Sufjan is what I like to call unparalleled.
Yesterday when I bought the album, my friend asked, “What music does he play?”. Could you really categorize him? I said, “Banjos, choirs, piano, freak music”. That was probably extremely inaccurate.
This time, instead of humanizing the locations, inhabitants, and trivia of a certain slab of America, he’s more concerned with his own state of mind. Sounds from “Sufjan Stevens Invites You To: Come On Feel the Illinoise” and Michigan are still here, they are just wrapped in a layer of beats, bleeps, and squelches. Banjos are out; moody electronics, deep bass, and drums are all a bit groovy for my liking.
One of the things I always enjoy is his cover art. This LP was no exception. The unsettling cover art paying homage to schizophrenic artist Royal Robertson, adds weight to those rumours of Sufjan taking a U-turn into extra-terrestrial electronic ambience. Have aliens kidnapped Stevens? Most probably.
“Now I’m Older” featuring the same, heavenly choir from its ancestors, and Sufjan pulling off a heart-shattering falsetto, it’s a dazzling moment – Sigur Rós less the gobbledygook. The lyrics are moving as well, Sufjan cooing, “I wasn’t older yet, I wasn’t wiser yet/Somewhere out there I lost whatever else I could get, I wasn’t over you,” like a reminiscing Holden Caulfield. Woo go Sufjan! That single track bulges with more engaging ideas than most artists could muster in a career, and there’s no one else on earth that could’ve come up with it.
That’s all folks; have a Casimir Pulaski Day.