USA, 2020, art pop / indietronica

Sufjan StevensThe Ascension

Comparisons to The Age of Adz are inevitable, though this album does not rise to the level of consistent god-glitch that Adz does. The paradoxical mystery of love delivering a person by forcing him into a certain path, salvation through coercion. The mystery of love escaping into itself, like the lovers in Solomon’s song, going down into the villages and the orchards, escaping the terrors of the present world, horrors not limited to social media. A lot of this album sounds like private love letters. Sufjan has this unshakeable sadness that clings to him, and no matter what shreds of hope he might cling to, this black despair is ever clawing at him, threatening to tear from him those last shreds. Don’t worry, though: he’s got Ativan, his leading woman, to protect him! Take your anti-anxiety meds (or “sugar”), if you need them, Soof, and know that the stars will still be there tomorrow night and for all the nights of your life. Wisdom comes in understanding that to recognize beauty is to teeter on the edge of sorrow.

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