On March 31, Sufjan Stevens released his first solo album since his 2012 Christmas album “Silver & Gold.”
Stevens’ latest album, “Carrie & Lowell,” is inspired by his stepfather and the death of his mother. This album is his best yet, according to a review written by Brandon Stosuy on www.pitchfork.com. Stosuy gave Stevens’ newest album an excellent review of 9.3 out of 10.
Under the influence of emotion, this album houses raw talent. In an interview with Pitchfork, Stevens perfectly summed up what “Carrie & Lowell” is about.
“It’s something that was necessary for me to do in the wake of my mother’s death — to pursue a sense of peace and serenity in spite of suffering,” Stevens said. “It’s not really trying to say anything new, or prove anything or innovate. It feels artless, which is a good thing. This is not my art project; this is my life.”
Stevens’ mother, Carrie, was bipolar, schizophrenic and suffered from a drug addiction. She ultimately died of stomach cancer in 2012.
The album is flooded with references to his childhood, his relationship with his mother and his life after his mother died. “Eugene” and “All of Me Wants All of You” both reminisce on parts of his childhood. Both songs seem like an attempt to somehow relive those moments from the past.
His mother was in and out of his life as a child, and if you listen to the song “Should Have Known Better,” which was released prior to the full album release, the lyrics make that feeling of abandonment clear.
Lowell Brams was married to Stevens’ mother for several years during Stevens’ childhood. Brams made a big impact on Stevens’ life and currently runs Stevens’ record label, Asthmatic Kitty.
Prior to this release, Stevens collaborated with a variety of artists including rappers and other singer/songwriters. His music is known for being personal, and oftentimes spiritual. This album is nothing less than an autobiography of Stevens’ life.
“Carrie & Lowell” is the perfect rainy day, easy-listening album. This album will take you back to what his earlier work, such as “Michigan” or “Seven Swans,” was like. It is intimate, real and one cannot help but feel a twinge of emotion when listening to it.