Tag Archives: theme week

Day 169: and yet more Sufjan (but this will BLOW YOUR MIND)

30 Nov

Hey guys!

So, yeah I know Sufjan Week is technically over… and I promised myself I wouldn’t go spouting about him a ton more (mainly because I don’t think y’all care)… But this is awesome.

His newest video for the song “Too Much” (which I featured on day 155, and is my favorite song off of Age Of Adz) kind of blows my mind. It’s a little crazy on the eyes, but I really wish I was in this music video. Mainly because it looks like they are having way too much fun.

My personal favorite part is his dance to put on the shades. Seriously, what skill… I epic fail at that every time I try.

Anyways, without further ado, check out this psychedelic video for “Too Much”…. and try not to look directly at the lines… it’ll suck you in!

Day 159: [THEME WEEK CONCLUSION] Chicago by Sufjan Stevens

20 Nov

Hello again everyone!

Tonight is the shocking conclusion to Sufjan Stevens Theme Week!

Sufjan in all his glory

I had a lot of fun trying to pick all the songs and things this week, but I saved the best for last (in my opinion).

“Chicago” by Sufjan Stevens is probably a more well known song… it’s sounds like a single, and it was recently remixed into a rap song by the popular group Chiddy Bang (check out their version “All Things Go“).

But the reason I picked this song to end theme week is it’s ferocity. It’s… I can’t even explain it.

I guess the best word to describe it is the “climax” of his work. It’s got such an upbeat feel to it, and the music is incredibly epic. Honestly, it’s a perfect song.

I don’t want to say more to ruin it, mainly because I hope everyone hears it the same way I do.

Just listen to it without any distractions, and hopefully you’ll see what I mean. I present “Chicago” by Sufjan Stevens.

Day 158: [THEME WEEK] The Perpetual Self, or What Would Saul Alinsky Do? by Sufjan Stevens

19 Nov

Hello again!

Once again, I present SUFJAN STEVENS THEME WEEEEEEK!

Circa 1960s.

Today’s song is one that some of you may have actually heard before. You see, it was in a preview for a movie that came out earlier this year (aka Babies).

“The Perpetual Self, or ‘What Would Saul Alinsky Do?’ by Sufjan Stevens is one of the best songs out there. It’s adorable and uplifting, moving you through the song like you’re on a cloud.

Also, embarrassing fact about myself, even though I never knew the song was by him (and I loved the song), I am still unable to watch the preview for that movie without tearing up. Call me crazy, but those babies! They’re just so cute!

ANYWAY, this song sets itself apart from most of his music… yeah, sure, he does sing very uplifting songs (like tomorrow’s conclusion), but it’s just so HAPPY. Like I feel like I can take anything with that song on.

The guitars are a little harder than he’s used to, and come to think of it, the song is still uplifting and “harder” than he normally uses. But it works with his soft vocals, and you can feel the warmth this song is emanating.

I hope you enjoy this song, because it pretty much brightens up any day! Here’s “The Perpetual Self, or ‘What Would Saul Alinsky Do?'” by Sufjan Stevens (off of his CD The Avalanche)

Oh, and if you’re not lame like me, watch the preview for that movie right here. It is seriously too adorable for my eyes.

 

Day 157: [THEME WEEK] The Dress Looks Nice On You by Sufjan Stevens (+Bad Communication)

18 Nov

Hello hello!

Once again, I present SUFJAN STEVENS THEME WEEEEEEK!

Sufjan.

I was having trouble trying to decide between three different songs today, so I’ve decided to post two that I really love.

The first is “The Dress Looks Nice On You” off of Sufjan’s 4th album Seven Swans, which is gloriously low-key and beautiful. The song shows a strangely more risque side of the singer, who in one part of the song  says “I can see you better naked, too”… I’m not too sure why he decided to take this turn, considering how this CD plays off of many Bible-themes, but I don’t question it.

The lyrics are soft and the melody is playfully melancholy (especially the banjo part, which is my personal favorite).

I really can’t describe it… it’s strangely appealing.

 

Also, as a bonus, I wanted to throw on another song off of his newest CD Age of Adz… the song is “Bad Communication”, and it is very powerful. You can feel the emotion in his voice, and it makes for a strange listening experience. I love this song and it’s morose sound!

Day 156: [THEME WEEK] Casmir Pulaski Day by Sufjan Stevens

17 Nov

Hello today!

Once again, I present SUFJAN STEVENS THEME WEEEEEEK!

Sufjan under the stars

Today has been an odd one… It’s been full of good and bad, smiles and tears. So I’ve been honestly confused about my feelings all day long.

So when I tried to decide what song to pick for today’s post, I didn’t have any trouble picking “Casmir Pulaski Day”.

This song sort of reflects good and bad all in one. The music is simple: for the first part, a guitar lightly accompanies Sufjan’s voice. It’s beautiful and whimsical, but there is a little strange twist.

While it’s music is mesmerizing, the subject is quite sad: from what I can tell, the song is about one of Sufjan’s old loves, who dies of bone cancer.

So why do I pick this song for the blog? Because it is incredible. Even though it’s soft and sad, it is one of the strongest songs on the album. It’s gorgeous and it’s just…. like I can’t describe how wonderful it is.

The other night I had a perfect moment… I was walking through campus in the dark, with this song on, and it was like time stood still. The smell of the pine trees, the taste of my eggnog latte still lingering, the clouds overlapping in the navy light, the moon shining as bright as it could. It was incredible. I couldn’t even believe it.

When I hear this song, just the most wonderful thoughts come into my head. It’s like being in love.

So enjoy “Casmir Pulaski Day” by Sufjan Stevens, and hopefully you’ll feel the same way as me. (leave me a comment and let me know what you think)

*EDIT: better link for the song!

Day 155: [THEME WEEK] I Walked by Sufjan Stevens (+Too Much)

16 Nov

Hey there!

Once again, I present SUFJAN STEVENS THEME WEEEEEEK!

Mask atop his head.

Today, I picked two songs off his newest CD to preview for ya today. Why two songs and not just one? Well there’s just too much of his music to keep away from you! Besides, I wanna give you guys a reason to buy his latest masterpiece Age Of Adz. It’s that good.

I listened to “I Walked” first, mainly because about four people recommended it to me, and I was impressed.

But what I didn’t realize was the idea that Age of Adz is on a whole different mindlevel than that of  Illinois or his other albums (Greetings From Michigan or Seven Swans…). What Adz has is deepness. It has melancholy. It has an extremely creepy feel to it. And it is quite possibly one of the most intense albums I’ve ever listened to.

Sufjan’s crooning voice is forced and backed by an array of strong orchestral sounds and booming electronic blips and beeps… something he is not used to. And while I was taken by surprise to hear that the adorable banjo-lover had put down the folky sound to pick up the new-age fads, I was completely drawn to it.

The reason this album is on my list of best albums of the year is because it is a creatively genius album. Sufjan has poured his heart and feelings out on the album, creating a sense of self-reconcilliation that he is going through. At one point (in the beautiful lyrics of “Vesuvius”) he begins to talk to himself: “Sufjan, follow the path/It leads to an article of imminent death/Sufjan, follow your heart/Follow the flame/Or fall on the floor/Sufjan, the panic inside/The murdering ghost/That you cannot ignore…” Now I’m not entirely sure if the album is his preparation of death from the illness he contracted (it involved some sort of serious nervous system virus), or if this is his mind… but all I wanted to do was give him a huge hug. “I want to be well/I want to be well/I want to be well/I want to be well…” he sings over and over in the song titled “I Want To Be Well.” Apparently he’s “NOT F***ING ARROOOUNNDD” either about this!

Regardless, Age of Adz is a reflection of how genius Sufjan Stevens actually is. He can go from sweet, light-hearted Illinois to the dark, metropolis-like* Age of Adz and pull it off! I feel like I’m watching a moving picture of his mind when I listen to each song, which is difficult to comprehend with all the sub-par music out there these days.

*when I say “metropolis-like”, I mean it kind of reminds me of the old, silent film Metropolis (1927). Watch it if you haven’t watched it before

Anyways. The first song I want to feature today is “I Walked.” It’s the closest thing to what would be a “single” off this album, but it’s solid nonetheless.

Finally, as a bonus, I wanted to throw on my favorite song off the whole album (it’s actually tied with another of his songs that I want to feature on a later date). It’s called “Too Much”, and while it’s a little strange and overtly techno, it’s still a fantastic song.

Day 154: [THEME WEEK] Come On! Feel The Illinoise! by Sufjan Stevens

15 Nov

Hello hello!

Once again, I present SUFJAN STEVENS THEME WEEEEEEK!

Today I bring you a sweet song called “Come On! Feel The Illinoise!” off of his Illinois album. Whenever I’m down or just need a pick-me-up, I throw on this one and just smile. Even if he talks about crying himself to sleep at night…

But before I give you the song, I want to put on record why Illinois automatically jumped to my top ten favorite CDs list:

 

Sufjan in his ILLINOIS uniform

First of all, for those of you who are not familiar with Sufjan’s work, you should know this: his personal goal (about 6 years ago) was to create a unique album for each of the 50 states. He finished Greetings From Michigan: The Great Salt Lake, which was his first of the project and outlined his home state. Then, he went on to produce Illinois, and stopped there.

 

I had heard this CD before, back when it came out, but with my dad trying to force the music into my mind, and my spirit still shaken from moving to a new state, I hadn’t regarded it as any more than just strange. Of course I remember what it was, I mean it’s hard to forget a guy with a name like “Sufjan” and a project so strange as the 50 states. I also remotely remember being a little intrigued but nothing more.

So, of course, as soon as I had listened to one song off of Age of Adz, I had to go find a different song by him to kind of compare it to. And I picked a song off of Illinois

I downloaded the CD that night, and call me strange, but I haven’t been able to put it down since last Saturday. It’s got everything I love: orchestras, uplifting songs, pianos, beautiful vocals, banjos, acoustic guitars, and strange melodies that caught me off guard. Of course the first thing I thought of was how amazing it would sound live (just my luck: he came to Portland about 5 days before I found my love for him. Cue the banging my head on the table).

But there’s just so much about this album I love. “Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois” is the first song, and it is incredibly strong: just a piano depicting a city-like melancholy, aided by some flutes to give sort of an exotic feel. Then his voice chimes in, soft and secure, adding to the sadness and beauty this song. It’s such a simple start to a powerful album.

The rest of the songs vary afterwards: “Come On! Feel The Illinoise!” (which is featured below), is such a happy sounding song, while the song immediately following (“John Wayne Gacy, Jr.”) fills the audience with a sorrow, discussing the life of a serial killer. Then there’s “Chicago,” which you’ll be seeing at the end of the week, and “Casmir Pulaski Day”, another song featured this week, both of which are powerful in words and mind. The rest of the album, plays on different styles, with “The Predatory Wasps Of The Palisades Are Out To Get Us!” (soothing and happy-sounding) to “The Seer’s Tower”, (dark and morose) to “The Tallest Man, The Broadest Shoulders” (uplifting and exciting). It’s a mixed CD of lots of emotion, but they are so intense that it bursts from the seams.

This CD is a surprisingly well-crafted image of the human psyche… specifically that of a man who appears to have a lot of troubling thoughts. But the best part is how strangely optimistic it is.

I can’t stop listening to it, and I wonder if it’s because it creates a child-like world of sweetness and naivety.

So there you have it… I’m officially a strange girl who is in love with a CD. But oh well, whatever makes me happy, right?

Here is “Come On! Feel The Illinoise!” by Sufjan Stevens. Let me know what you think of it!