To me, Sufjan Stevens has consistently achieved the ultimate goal of songwriting and music making, which is, as Nietzsche so nicely put it, attempting "to give form to spirit." Take a listen to his new single, "No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross" off of his eagerly anticipated album Carrie & Lowell.
In his interview with Pitchfork, Stevens described grieving the loss of his estranged mother and his evolving faith. Though I highly recommend the read, if it's TLDR for you, then here are the highlights:
"SS: It was so terrifying to encounter death and have to reconcile that, and express love, for someone so unfamiliar. Her death was so devastating to me because of the vacancy within me. I was trying to gather as much as I could of her, in my mind, my memory, my recollections, but I have nothing. It felt unsolvable. There is definitely a deep regret and grief and anger. I went through all the stages of bereavement. But I say make amends while you can: Take every opportunity to reconcile with those you love or those who've hurt you. It was in our best interest for our mother to abandon us. God bless her for doing that and knowing what she wasn't capable of.
Pitchfork: That's a very Zen outlook.
SS: Well, love is unconditional and incomprehensible. And I believe it's possible to love absent of mutual respect."
"Pitchfork: As in much of your work, there are references to Christianity and mythology on this album. What does faith mean to you at this point?
SS: I still describe myself as a Christian, and my love of God and my relationship with God is fundamental, but its manifestations in my life and the practices of it are constantly changing. I find incredible freedom in my faith.
Yes, the kingdom of Christianity and the Church has been one of the most destructive forces in history, and there are levels of bastardization of religious beliefs. But the unique thing about Christianity is that it is so amorphous and not reductive to culture or place or anything. It's extremely malleable."
Don't know about you, but I am looking forward to March 31st.