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

Various Artists: Good God! Born Again Funk (Numero/Southbound)

Various Artists: Good God! Born Again Funk (Numero/Southbound)

The recent DVD Soundtrack for a Revolution showed how music uplifted the spirits and bonded those in the struggle for civil rights in the US in Sixties. This terrific, funky and soulful... > Read more

Lydia Cole: Me and Moon (lydiacole.com)

Lydia Cole: Me and Moon (lydiacole.com)

Lydia Cole has had some interesting and, I think, generous reviews for this quiet, intimate and at times very engaging album. But . . . And we'll get to that "but" in a minute.... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

JIM DeROGATIS INTERVIEWED (2011): Nothing if not critical

JIM DeROGATIS INTERVIEWED (2011): Nothing if not critical

Rock critic, writer and most recently university lecturer Jim DeRogatis doesn't pull his punches, but keeps a sense of humour, about his music and its stars. With Gregg Kot, he has hosted Sound... > Read more

CHANTS R&B: Christchurch's rare rock, rumble and bang captured on film

CHANTS R&B: Christchurch's rare rock, rumble and bang captured on film

Chants R&B out of Christchurch in the Sixties were a rare New Zealand band, on so many levels. Rare in that they played exciting, noisy, feedback-infused rhythm and blues rock at a time when... > Read more