I heard Sufjan Stevens´ song The Dress Looks Nice on You on some teen TV show, and based on how lovely that snippet was, I bought his Seven Swans CD. I´ve added it to my collection of music I listen to in the car that keeps me mellow so I don´t develop road rage toward my fellow humans in my heavy-traffic area. The more I listen, the more enchanted I am, hence this post.
Seven Swans (full disclosure) got some decent press from the Christian music set. If you won your vacation bible school quizzes and/or are way more h-core Christian or Bible-literate than I am, then you can join one of those online groups mulling over the religious references in his songs. Or you can blow it all off and flop down next to me over here on the comforter and listen along to his soft, gorgeous voice and the simple, stunningly melodic folk melodies that sound new every time I hear them. They draw their inspiration from the stories in the Bible, but they are (like those stories) about love, sacrifice and faith. It´s like he took a break from his poetry-writing club to get the high school band class together and cut an album.
I don´t want to over-emphasize the religious aspect because really, unless anything that smacks of the Christian faith offends you, you could just listen at face value – sung from one person to another. Stevens´ voice, lyrics, and the accompanying slightly-amateurish music (banjo, guitar, bleating horns! dulcimer?!) have an earnest, joyous enthusiasm to them that I don´t want to explore too closely, for fear of discovering that the whole thing´s a cynical sham.
I am resolutely refusing to read/research anything beyond the wiki article, because I´d be following him around like a wounded doe if I were, oh, 25 years younger than I am now. He is cute as a button. So if you do happen to know that it´s all a big lie and he´s this smarmy, drug-addled, booty bandit, I don´t want to know. Don´t crush all my fragile dreams, kay?
I´m afraid to upload a YouTube video of him right here because I have this vague recollection that the last time we did it took over the site and blew up somebody´s house and unleashed a plague of locusts or something similar, but if you want to hear him just wander on over there and type his name in and have a listen. I recommend “The Dress Looks Nice on You,” which is the song I heard that got me going, whoa, who is that?!?!? Or you can hear the 30-second blurbs of each song on places like barnesandnoble.com, which should give you a good idea of whether you think his music does much for you. Not all the songs resonate equally with me (what does?) but more than half of them are now on my regular iPod rotation.