Friday, May 16, 2014

Pure Genius: Sufjan Stevens

This post is a mish mosh of Youtube videos and songs by Sufjan may end up being very long. 

Stevens is a genius in my book.  His musical ability speaks for itself, but it's his ability to disguise and layer his lyrics, and connect with whatever subject he's writing about on a very personal level where his genius is revealed. On the surface, his songs can easily be interpreted as personal narratives, and they are. But they're also much more than that.

"Casimir Pulaski Day", for example, sounds like a highly emotional account of the loss of a loved one to cancer. And you couldn't be blamed for assuming that. But according to Sufjan, it's about the Polish Casimir Pulaski who fought in the American Revolution.  The song works either way.

Or take his 2010 LP, The Age of Adz, which also can be interpreted as a personal, or possibly religious piece.  It's really about folk artist Royal Robertson, who thought himself to be a prophet-visionary and saw visions of God piloting a spaceship, and who eventually went insane.

Stevens has an uncanny ability to connect with a subject and get to the core emotion of it. Because of that, his music can be listened to through a different prism each time, and their intrigue always remains.  Besides all of that, they're wonderful songs!  He deserves to be regarded as one of the greats in musical history.

Here's some Sufjan Stevens for you:

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Evan Jones is a painter, drummer, and avid music lover.