Detroit native Sufjan Stevens experiments with music and words to create multi-layered songs that put him at the forefront of the folk indie pop revival.
Stevens often takes a thematic approach to his work. 2001’s Enjoy Your Rabbit featured electronic music about the animals of the Chinese Zodiac. 2004’s Seven Swans, which Billboard called “a consistently moving, subtly beautiful experience,” primarily focuses on religious themes.
He is currently two states into his project to make an album about each of the 50 states. It began with 2003’s Michigan, an ode to his home state that features ornate tunes on poverty, suburbia and the backwoods of The Great Lake State. Pitchfork called it “a frost-bound tone poem in which average people live out their victories and defeats with a shadowy, dignified grace.”
Illinois, named one of 2005’s best CDs by dozens of critics, “cements Stevens as one of the most vital voices in music today” (Slant). The Austin Chronicle wrote “the 22-song epic marries Stevens’ personal history to that of the state, as well as knitting spare emotional lyrics with lush orchestral and choral arrangements, upping the ante for singer-songwriters everywhere.”
Earlier this year he released The Avalanche: Outtakes & Extras from the Illinois Album which critics say further solidifies his standing as a modern folk legend. Entertainment Weekly wrote “These wistful folk-pop leftovers are better than most acts’ A game.”