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Soaring with Sufjan: “Majesty, Snowbird”

March 2, 2009

Banjo + Wings = Animal Show. It's simple arithmetic, really.

Banjo + Wings = Animal Show. It's simple arithmetic, really.

Every additional week I go without hearing new Sufjan material, I die a little inside. It’s true. And it’s seriously problematic, because it means that my standard for “good” new Sufjan stuff is much lower than for most music. I’ll listen to really crappy demos of half-hashed A Sun Came outtakes, and think they’re good. (Just kidding — I’m proud to say I’ve never listened to A Sun Came all the way through. And unless someone tells me otherwise, I’ll continue to avoid it.) Really, though, my Sufjan obsession has driven me to find those rare gems which make you remember why you loved Illinois and The Avalanche way back in 05/06, when those albums were BURNING UP the indie charts. Enter “Majesty, Snowbird.”

“Majesty, Snowbird” is one of those Sufjan songs which can immediately send you back to a particular place and time. Sufjan’s great strength is his ability to evoke emotions with grace and precision, and a bitchin’ string section. This majestic (for lack of a better word) and cascading melody dips and swirls, brimming with horns and skating on a falsetto vocal, tearing you up inside in the best way possible. Also, at 10:04, it clocks in as among the longest Sufjan songs. (Similar to recent release “You are the Blood,” another Stevensian epic, although of a slightly trippier sort.) I had the pleasure of witnessing the live debut of this song at Nashville’s beautiful and historic Ryman auditorium, during a concert which held me in a goose-bumped state for the full 2 hours. The song is a helluvan experience, and may be just what Monday afternoon/evening needs.

Majesty, Snowbird (Live) – Sufjan Stevens (zshare)

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Oh No... permalink
    March 2, 2009 5:45 pm

    the… uhhh… stream…uhhh… doesn’t … uhhh… work.

  2. Edward permalink*
    March 2, 2009 7:43 pm

    fixed, good sir.

  3. March 4, 2009 7:50 pm

    Amazing, front row to see Sufjan in the State Theatre in Sydney Australia… an experience and ‘My Brightest Diamond’ weren’t too bad (with Sufjan playing with them!).


    • March 4, 2009 8:36 pm

      Yeah, I had front-row tickets when I saw him, which was amazing. I was seriously underwhelmed by My Brightest Diamond, though. Maybe it was just that I wasn’t interested in hearing anyone but the man himself.

  4. kate permalink
    March 5, 2009 8:18 pm

    “Just kidding — I’m proud to say I’ve never listened to A Sun Came all the way through. And unless someone tells me otherwise, I’ll continue to avoid it.”

    i’m officially telling you otherwise.

    seriously. we are what you say, the first effing track, should have convinced you to listen all the way through. i taught myself to read guitar tabs in order to play rake (and then promptly forgot). wordsworth’s ridge (for fran fike) is one of my favorite sufjan songs and the lyrics mirror an actual poem by wordsworth (check the songmeanings comments for a link to the poem). super sexy woman is hilarious and great for any occasion. i listened to joy! joy! joy! during exam study breaks freshman year as a mood lifter, and it worked wonders.

    skipping out on this album would be a mistake!

  5. Jade permalink
    June 7, 2009 4:36 pm


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