Friday, April 20, 2007
If you read Melissa's Blog (and you know you should), you know that I am obsessed (in a healthy, heterosexual way) with Sufjan (soof-yaan) Stevens.
If you haven't listened to his music, stop and listen. With most music, even really good music, the first thing I notice is the sound of the instruments: Radiohead's newest oddities, The Edge's delay, Beck's juxtoposition of instruments. Alternatively, good songs have a riff or a hook that grabs my attention: Nirvana's Come as You Are, The 13 chord on Whitacre's "When David Heard," or the guitar riff on Wild Sweet Orange's "Ten Dead Dogs."
But Sufjan transcends that stuff. The first thing I notice are full blown melodies, fully developed and thought out. In constrast to most songs I hear (even good ones!) that really only feature one real musical idea stretched out for 3 minutes, Sufjan has many songs with four or five solid melodies. What amazes me in when, at the end of a song, he reveals that all the myriad melodies work together. The guy understands the guts of music, its anatomy, its chemistry.
And he understands that music is about beauty. Most of his stuff is quite easy to listen to and lyrically compelling.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about him is that he's a Christian. His music drips redemption and doesn't shy away from hard issues.
But he's so good that people argue that he's not a Christian. He could not be less Contemporary Christian if he tried.
Illinoise and Michigan are the albulms to start with. But don't stop there. Get Seven Swans and his 5 disc Christmas collection (it's only $20).