Sufjan Stevens (pronounced sue-f-yahn) is one of the founders of postmodern indie-music. Sufjan is a Christian, but does not get bound by the chains of CCM. Sufjan is an artist and his work is the very sound that paved the way for many independent artists pursuing music today. His style is unique and leaves many listeners confused with his eclectic taste, but his cult-like following is very similar to that of Radiohead fans. The placement of Sufjan’s vocals are often out of sync with the rhythm of the track and sometimes the instruments are played slightly out of tune. The variety of instruments used is astounding, especially considering that the majority are played by Sufjan himself. His best work comes across in the more overtly faith-driven album, Seven Swans, but all of his work is relaxing and a joy to listen to. Sufjan has written albums entitled Illinois and Greetings from Michigan: The Great Lakes State and has plans for all fifty states, despite this being a ridiculous idea. However, Sufjan has released an intriguing five-disc box set of unique Christmas songs that is a must-listen every December.
Whenever hipsters painfully try to describe their own music (I’m not sure why this is a painful process, it just always is for them), I often hear them say, “Our music is like Sufjan meets X artist meets X artist…”. It usually is not true, but their attempt to throw in his name shows they have some background knowledge of the indie scene (even if a few years behind). Sufjan Stevens is to indie-folk as Stevie Wonder is to R&B.
As always, it’s better to just take a listen. Some of these are not official music videos, so sit back and let your ears enjoy. Just be prepared to be completely relaxed.
Who is a fan, who hasn’t heard of him, and who hates his music?