A Truck Store/ Rapture Top 10 album of 2015
Sufjan Stevens is back with his first album in 5 years and a return to the gossamer light, gorgeously arranged folk sound which made his name, particularly the intimate sound of 2004’s ‘Seven Swans’. This is Stevens’ most personal album to date and it’s themes of family and death resonate in the deepest possible way, these highly personal songs become universalized through the sheer emotional honesty on display here. The album was written in the wake of Steven’s mothers death in 2012 and sees Sufjan exploring with unflinching honesty his relationship with a troubled woman who abandoned him as a child, along with snapshot moments from his childhood and contemporary thoghts on grief and loss. Sung in a beautiful resigned whisper, often recalling Elliott Smith, the album is a subtle and respectful meditation on loss which creates its own haunting sense of place and time. By showing us his frailties Stevens is seemingly able to emerge from his grief stronger and able to forgive.
This is an album that was created out of necessity, Stevens’ filling the hole that appeared in his life with his most beautiful creation yet. This is a masterpiece.