Sufjan Stevens: Carrie & Lowell (Asthmatic Kitty)

 |   |  <1 min read

Sufjan Stevens: Should Have Known Better
Sufjan Stevens: Carrie & Lowell (Asthmatic Kitty)

This exceptional album is named for Stevens' schizophrenic and drug-addicted mother who died in 2012 and the stepfather (married to Carrie for five years when the singer was a young boy) who was his stability and currently runs Stevens' record label.

The songs fold back into the past but are also very much located in present emotions.

They find Stevens at his most revealing (“I forgive you mother”) and taking stock of the circumstances which shaped him (“Nothing can be changed, the past is still the past”).

As much as the damaged Carrie, here too is the loving presence of Lowell and there is much light in what could be bleakly dark ruminations.

That is due to Stevens' high, sometimes featherweight delivery, the return to a more simple delivery, the gentle arrangements for the backing vocals, strings and synths, and the mood of compassion throughout.

There are character sketches too – some of friends and lovers – and clearly holidays in Oregon were a refuge from the emotional chaos (“When I was, three maybe four, she left us at that video store”).

Even when he sings “we're all gonna die” it is more with philosophical acceptance than sober melancholy.

Heartfelt beauty given musical wings

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Phil Alvin: Un “Sung Stories” (Ace/Border)

Phil Alvin: Un “Sung Stories” (Ace/Border)

Although America's Blasters never really got their due in the late Seventies/early Eighties for their full throated blues, rockabilly and rock'n'roll-based sound in the punk era, one of the... > Read more

Tortoise: Beacons of Ancestorship (UNSPK)

Tortoise: Beacons of Ancestorship (UNSPK)

As the band most likely to be cited when the discussion turned to "post-rock", this five-piece from Chicago have been critically acclaimed for their magpie tendencies (they lift from... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

GUEST PHOTOGRAPHER GLENN JEFFREY offers images of Womad 2017

GUEST PHOTOGRAPHER GLENN JEFFREY offers images of Womad 2017

New Plymouth-based Glenn Jeffrey is a former, award-winning photpgrapher for the New Zealand Herald. His portfolio covers everything from international humanitarian crises through crime and... > Read more

Elvis Costello: Imperial Bedroom (1982)

Elvis Costello: Imperial Bedroom (1982)

By the time Elvis Costello got to this remarkable, emotionally dense and astonishingly concise album (so many moods, styles and emotions in 50 minutes) he had become well separated from his... > Read more