Sufjan Stevens is known for the dream-like instrumental ambiance that soundtracked Luca Guadagnino’s 2017 film Call Me By Your Name. But his discography proves he is so much more than the most popular track from the album, “Mystery of Love.” He released his newest album Javelin on October 6, and it is everything wonderful about Stevens and his style of music wrapped into a ten track collection.
Born on July 1, 1975, in Detroit, Michigan, Stevens began his musical career in 2000 with his debut album, A Sun Came. Since then, he has released seven studio albums and five collaborative albums. His music is typically described as indie-folk, but his twelve albums explore genres ranging from indie to baroque pop to electronica. Truly, anyone could find a Sufjan Stevens song they enjoy.
In an Instagram post, Stevens shared on the day of Javelin’s release, he wrote, “This album is dedicated to the light of my life, my beloved partner and best friend Evans Richardson, who passed away in April. He was an absolute gem of a person, full of life, love, laughter, curiosity, integrity, and joy,” and attached a photo of his late lover.
In tune with this dedication, the album explores themes of love, religion, death, and loss. Its tone is devotional and desperate. Stevens calls out to his lost loved one with the use of delicate whispers and, light fingerpicking chords on the ukulele, countered by choral belts and passionate vocal gesticulations.
The album is a gentle and raw work of art. Many music-review websites relate the album back to his earlier days of songwriting, such as his 2015 album, Carrie and Lowell, which features the same soft instrumentals found on Javelin. Pitchfork.com commented on the style of Javelin, saying, “The songwriting is as raw and direct as ever…Stevens strives to lead us somewhere divine, an altitude where our lives might appear more beautiful and still.”
Created in the comfort of his home studio, mainly by himself, the album features the voices of close friends. The album’s release was accompanied by a 48-page book of “imaginative visual art” and ten essays written by Stevens that comment on the tracks within the album.
With the air becoming evermore brisk and the clouds gently resting atop our beloved Domain, all one can think to do is curl up with a cup of warm tea and turn on some gentle Sufjan. Allow his soft instrumentals and tender lamentations to lull you to sleep and sanction dreams of a more heavenly place.