The Sincerity of Sufjan Stevens ~ BitterSweetLife

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Sincerity of Sufjan Stevens

Since I'm still developing my own CD-reviewing jones, I don't hesitate to link solid music reviews when I find 'em. Case in point: John B. over at Blog Meridian just posted a penetrating, reflective piece on the enigmatic Sufjan Stevens' most recent album, Illinoise. Quick excerpt: "charmingly militant"--and (unless I'm really missing the boat) his enemy is [the music industry's typical] cynical irony. He puts it on display at the very surface, then sings songs whose very reason for existing is precisely to undercut that ironic surface by forcing us to say, The only way this song can work is if he is in earnest.

John makes a strong argument for Stevens' subtle sincerity, and comments on my two favorite songs on Illinoise, "John Wayne Gacy, Jr." ("may be the bravest song I've ever heard anywhere in pop music"), and "Casimir Pulaski Day" ("acknowledges both that God does not always answer our prayers, no matter how heartfelt and sincere, and that He nevertheless remains this world's sovereign").

Great stuff, John.

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John B. said...

Thanks for the (very) nice plug.

Sherry said...

The urchins, the young adult ones (ages 21, 19, and 17) are going to a Sufjian concert this weekend in Austin.

They didn't invite me.

Ariel said...

John, you're certainly welcome.

"The urchins, the young adult ones (ages 21, 19, and 17) are going to a Sufjian concert this weekend in Austin."

Wow, these urchins are rolling in cool. No wonder they didn't invi-I mean, it's really strange that they wouldn't bring their mom along. ;)

Andrew Simone said...

I'll be at the St. Louis show on the 24th!

Mathias said...

Oh nice, I'd love to hear it. I've only heard one of Sufjan Stevens' records. they're pretty hard to get your hands on here in Finland =)

But maybe I'll order it over the net some day.

Ariel said...

"I'll be at the St. Louis show on the 24th!"

Lucky dog.

Good luck getting hold of a Sufjan album, Mathias. I tried for several weeks to pick one up cheap on Ebay, before I broke down and paid up on Amazon. Worth it though.


Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife