sufjan stevens michigan essay

Will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy. Writing and recording The Ascension came as Stevens was just beginning to mull leaving New York, the city where he lived when he wrote much of the music he is known for, from his odes to Flint and Detroit on 2003’s Michigan to “Chicago,” the exuberant centerpiece on 2005’s Illinois. In 2018, his contributions to the soundtrack for Call Me by Your Name earned him an Oscar nomination—and an invitation to perform during the telecast. That was evident in the singles he released to ring in Pride Month, and it’s even more clear in the new essay he’s shared on his website to celebrate Loving Day. He was referencing the way we’ve adjusted to life during a pandemic, but it’s equally applicable to some of the issues that motivated him to make the album. I didn’t want anything representational,” he said. But it’s also an album about all of us finding new ways to live. ", Sufjan's theory is that "failure to love is a failure to be oneself, a failure to be human," and that the concept of self-loathing stems from when Adam and Eve initially gave into temptation. The unbearable lightness of being Sufjan Stevens. The same idea that had made the Michigan-native artist Sufjan Stevens a 2000s indie-rock sensation was, for a few years, threatening to turn him into a punchline. "Love... must endure, it must evolve, it must expand, it must be born-again. (He said the experience was a “living nightmare,” but admitted that he was starstruck when he met Eva Marie Saint in a valet line.) © 2020 Paste Media Group. But that's exactly why Sufjan's willingness to bridge queer pride and religion is inherently important. They’re based on statements, imperatives and declaratives, platitudes.”. “It seems like she was tonally able to balance an understanding of a situation and of the value of [seeing] things diplomatically—but was also so over it.”, In conversation, Stevens has long been reticent to talk about his personal life, but his vast body of work serves as a densely layered autobiography. Get the latest chatter, from Kensington Palace and beyond, straight to your inbox.
“I think that the Ariana Grande song kind of woke me up, ‘Thank U, Next,’” he said. “Some of the subject matter is pretty heavy and there’s certainly a lot of criticism and agony being expressed,” he said. By Salvatore Maicki. It’s a real departure for the multi-instrumentalist, whose songs can range from symphonic jaunts on Illinois to spacious acoustic folk on records like Seven Swans.

“We went to Alateen meetings when we were kids because there was alcoholism in my family, and they had all these signs all over the walls at the community hall where we would go to these meetings. “There’s a lot of catchphrases, a lot of cliches. For being naked in a garden.". “As deeply as I had fallen in love with it, I had suddenly fallen out of love with all the things.

Last year, after nearly two decades as a resident of New York City, Sufjan Stevens moved to the Catskills, and it’s already changed him. The fact that a man's undisclosed sexuality has evoked so much intrigue that it's been memed about (however affectionate the intent) is slightly unsettling, to say the least. There is a song on The Ascension called “Goodbye to All That,” a reference to Joan Didion’s famous essay about leaving New York; there is Sufjan Stevens autobiography still to be found. If "Love Yourself" can convince just one kid that it's okay for them to embrace the duality of God and gayness out of respect for themselves, that's some immense power. I’ve relocated in body, mind, and spirit.”, It’s not a surprise that Stevens, he of more than a few pastoral folk songs and two whole albums devoted to Midwestern states, would find some solace in the country; a year and a pandemic-related exodus from the city later, his exit even seems prescient.

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