“No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross”

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Sufjan Stevens
Carrie & Lowell, 2015

After 10 years spent avoiding Sufjan Stevens like a plague (and the previous five in unhealthy admiration), here’s one that finally got me again. Everything I used to love about his music is still in evidence here. It’s a sad song, overly literate, with pretty finger-picky guitar and dramatic vocals — aesthetically, this is no sea change. But he’s not singing about saints, or states, or someone else this time. He’s singing about himself, and it’s a rawer, more honest presentation than we’ve heard before. Sufjan Stevens has sex? Sufjan Stevens does drugs? I wouldn’t have guessed either back in the days of Illinois or Seven Swans. There’s a vulnerability in this new work that helps make up for the old affectations. And Christ is still in there somewhere too, just like you knew he would be, harder to find than ever.

[audio https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/14312140/10%20No%20Shade%20in%20the%20Shadow%20of%20The%20Cross.m4a]

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One thought on ““No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross”

  1. […] been a downbeat week here, musically if not emotionally. For whatever reason, yesterday’s Sufjan selection put me in mind of Pink Moon, a record I play regularly for comfort and relaxation. Believe me, this […]

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