Carrie & Lowell

I've been repeating Sufjan Stevens' newest album, Carrie & Lowell, lately.

Carrie is the name of his mother. Lowell is his stepfather. Carrie suffered from drug addiction and also was a bipolar and schizophrenic. She died in 2012.
Just like the title this album is about Carie & Lowell. Sufjan expresses his love-hate relationship with his mother, who had abandoned him and his family. 

It's probably the most intimate and personal album that I've ever heard. My most favorite of Sufjan Stevens' after Illinoise.

This album was released on March 31st and was a perfect companion on my Cambodia trip. I listened to this album over and over again on a plane, on a bus, and it just felt right. 


Pitchfork: A lot of people make the kind of folky music that’s on this record, but so little of it actually feels meaningful; with music this spare, emotional extremity can seem like a requirement.

Sufjan Stevens: Yeah. Like: Don't listen to this record if you can't digest the reality of it. I'm being explicit about really horrifying experiences in my life, but my hope has always been to be responsible as an artist and to avoid indulging in my misery, or to come off as an exhibitionist. I don't want to make the listener complicit in my vulnerable prose poem of depression, I just want to honor the experience. I'm not the victim here, and I'm not seeking other peoples' sympathy. I don't blame my parents, they did the best they could.

At worst, these songs probably seem really indulgent. At their best, they should act as a testament to an experience that's universal: Everyone suffers; life is pain; and death is the final punctuation at the end of that sentence, so deal with it. I really think you can manage pain and suffering by living in fullness and being true to yourself and all those seemingly vapid platitudes. 

Read the full interview here.


Do I care if I despise this, nothing else matters, I know
In a veil of great disguises, how do I live with your ghost?

Should I tear my eyes out now?
Everything I see returns to you somehow
Should I tear my heart out now?
Everything I feel returns to you somehow

I want to save you from your sorrow

(The Only Thing)

I should have known better
Nothing can be changed
The past is still the past
The bridge to nowhere
I should have wrote a letter
Explaining what I feel, that empty feeling

(I Should Have Known Better)

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