Sufjan Stevens has announced his next album, titled Javelin, and shared the moving new single, "So You Are Tired."
Ah, the return of Sufjan's delicate, fragile, and ever-glowing balladry. In some ways, it feels a little trite to celebrate that particular focus for Stevens, an artist who has revealed so many sides of himself over the years and pushed his own limits as to what constitutes his genre and while his artistic brilliance has a broad spectrum, for many, it's his softer folk sound that feels most true to his ethos. On his first singer-songwriter album since 2015's remarkable Carrie & Lowell, Stevens dons the image most so desperately seek from the artist and he returns with such grandeur, vibrance, and intimacy, it's hard to understand why he'd choose to make music that sounds like anything else. Nimble acoustic guitar and his ever-lovely voice are the focal points on this one, a finely crafted break-up song that tugs at the heartstrings even before the lyrics can even confirm the song's devastation. For the casual listener, this once checks all the boxes you'd expect from "classic" Sufjan: a swell of grandiose strings, moving piano, an angelic choir, and of course, his voice that shines like a diamond. Still, there will be some who say it's just another track from an artist who has been churning out music like this off and on for nearly two decades. However for those who are devoted followers, it's a return to form from an artist whose peak has been unmatched. A peerless creator who has stretched his talents beyond anything most thought possible when he first started to breakthrough as an indie folk artist with a panache for chamber-pop. Here he proves that when this is chose mode of operation, he turns into a visionary songwriter who creates in a world all of his own and continues to set the example and lead expectations.
Javelin is out October 6.