Sufjan Stevens and his music
This morning before anyone else was up (including the dog), I put on my headphones (I am a paying listener of Spotify) and listened to Carrie & Lowell. I’ve had Sufjan listed as a favorite, but had never listened to the totality of this album.
Sufjan Stevens’ music is immersed in the real hard stuff of life. Nothing is glossed. Nor is it in any way filled with Jesus talk. It flows from the messy overflow tempest of parental mental illness. But listen to the music and you will see that Jesus hasn’t forsaken, but in its totality becomes the music of life itself. Sufjan seems a tender and bruised soul, writing, playing, and singing — both injured and being healed. Out of it flows unadorned beauty.
This kind of music gives rise to hope, that out of the stories of life, new and realistic Christian music, and art of other sorts, will begin the birthing process, breaking through the hard capitalism of our culture.
In an article in The Atlantic entitled How Sufjan Stevens Subverts the Stigma of Christian Music he says
Logistically I suppose my process of making art is driven less by abstractions of faith or politics and more by practical theory: composition and balance and color,” said Stevens. “It’s not so much that faith influences us as it lives in us. In every circumstance (giving a speech or tying my shoes), I am living and moving and being. This absolves me from ever making the embarrassing effort to gratify God (and the church) by imposing religious content on anything I do.
Somehow Carrie & Lowell seems a good way of saying goodbye to 2015, and hello to the New Year.