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Carrie & Lowell

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Sufjan Stevens' new CD has recently become available: Carrie & Lowell. Carrie & LowellI can't help but make this a post, because what a beautiful, personal, intense, vulnerable and intimate album. Without the bombastic of the arrangements which he may use on other albums, or the fine ballads, here is a more pure sound. Not just the music or the voice, but the sharp lyrics. It cuts through you razor sharp. The whispers of angels as I read somewhere.¹

The album is autobiographical and bears the names of Stevens' mother (Carrie) and stepfather (Lowell). Carrie, known for schizophrenia, drug abuse and bipolar disorder, left him when he was 1 year old, and after returning later on several occasions ("when I was three, three maybe four, she left us at that video store" he sings on "Should Have Known Better"). His stepfather, who was married to his mother for five years, played an important role in Stevens' life. In 2012, Carrie died of colon cancer. Following this is this album which is about guilt, loneliness, sadness, pain, death. An extensive review in English can be found here.

The album cannot be called typically Christian, although there are plenty of elements of Sufjan's faith and faith wrestling in it. The naked reality in the lyrics combine with the music to create the intimate vulnerability that breathes throughout the album. It is a new gem from Stevens that also proves a key to understanding more about the lyrics of previous albums and is well worth a listen.

1. See


Erwin de Ruiter

"One man tries to express himself in books, another in boots; both are likely to fail." - G.K. Chesterton

3 thoughts on “Carrie & Lowell”

  1. Although not a hipster (beard growth is not my thing) I like "the new Sufjan" very much. Very nice, rather.The weirder experiments and bizarre song titles are the focus of this album. It is quiet and familiar, roots in folk and singer-songwriter, layered and therefore adventurous.

  2. Ehm... experiments and bizarre song titles are NOT the focus of this album....

    That was sometimes the case with previous albums.

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