First Listen Review: Sufjan Stevens – “Carrie & Lowell”

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The Good: In Carrie & Lowell, Sufjan Stevens beautifully addresses the death of his mother. He has stripped down his sound from the electronic swells of The Age of Adz to a folky mix of stringed instruments. When he does throw in a synth it is to create an effect, such as on “Should Have Known Better” when the introduction of a synth line marks Sufjans transition from focusing on the past to thinking about the future. Stevens relationship with his mother was strained when she was alive and it is evident he struggled with the lack of resolution. The effect is a beautiful account of grief that is more personal than his previous albums. Overall, Carrie & Lowell is Sufjan’s most emotionally taxing album but also his most compelling and probably his best yet.

The Bad: If you are looking for a happy album this is not it; it can be a tearjerker.

Would I Listen Again: Yes.

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