Review #143: Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell

Artist – Sufjan Stevens
Album – Carrie & Lowell (2015)

Check it out – https://open.spotify.com/album/0U8DeqqKDgIhIiWOdqiQXE

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Sufjan Stevens is a singer-songwriter from Detroit, USA. Sufjan gained a little popularity after the release of his debut album ‘A Sun Came’, released on his co-owned record label ‘Asthmatic Kitty’, but shot to fame after the release of ‘Illinois’. His music ranges quite wide in style and genre, from electronic to folk, symphonic to even a christmas themed album. Stevens is a devout Christian, and although he says his music is separate from his beliefs, much of his work is inspired by the bible and the Christian traditions. This is Stevens 7th album ‘Carrie & Lowell’.

‘Carrie & Lowell’ is a combination of intricately arpeggiated guitar chords, soothing vocal melodies and deep lyrical topics, sounding similar to Elliot Smith, but with enough diversity and original ideas to set Sufjan apart. Each track on this album is performed in such a subtle and calm way that by any other artist it may send the listener to sleep. Sufjan however has this quiet tone which draws you in, enabling the listener to focus on the intricacies of the music, almost like he’s whispering a secret. Instrumentation focuses mainly on the acoustic guitar and vocals, enabling the production to create a warm tone for both components, almost delivering one harmonising ‘voice’, rather than separate parts. My personal favourite track from this album would have to be ‘Should Have Known Better’, the seemingly most popular track (if Spotify is anything to go by) and a song that I think incorporates all the key element i’ve previously stated.

There has been such a massively diverse group of incredible albums out this year, from the Jazz of Kamasi Washington, Hip-Hop of Kendrick Lamar, Electronica of Jamie xx and rock of Wolf Alice … well now there’s also the acoustic singer-songwriter vibes of Sufjan Stevens.

8/10

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