Did I miss the memo that said this week was when all of my favourite people announced their comebacks? Following on from Florence dropping a new single, it is now also time for our collective hearts to be once again broken by the incredible voice of Sufjan Stevens.
Stevens’ seventh studio album ‘Carrie & Lowell’ is slated for release on March 2015, the first track of which ‘No Shade In The Shadow Of The Cross’ made it’s way online with little fanfare or fuss. Falling somewhere on a scale between giving up on someone and giving them your everything, the track builds on Stevens’ classicly plucked guitar echoing the haunting heartbreak of Bon Iver.
There’s no doubt that in the right circumstances, tears will form in your eyes as the line ‘there’s blood on that blade, fuck me I’m falling apart’ hits your ears. Rawness, vulnerability and total devestation have never been so unassuming and gentle.
Sufjan has his own way of letting you know that even though you guys are soul mates, it just can’t be. A situation that many can empathise with, simply having too much love to give but it never being quite enough. It’s ok, time and more listens of this track will make that insatiable pain go away eventually. But in the meantime, buy yourself a kitten, make a cup of tea and cry until you simply can’t anymore.
Remember the song ‘Killing Me Softly’? Well ‘No Shade In The Shadow Of The Cross’ is what happens when you forget that song ever existed and just pictured a literal vocalisation of the incredible pain which that title depicts. It’s so deeply personal and unfathomably open, his heart is not only on his sleeve but on my sleeve and your sleeve and everybody else’s sleeve.
Even if your heart has never been broken before (you rare lucky few), you won’t be able to feel like it just has been. ‘I’ll drive that stake through the centre of my heart’ – so simple yet so earth shatteringly provoking. It’s as if Sufjan has looked into your soul at that very moment when you miss someone so much that your chest feels like it’s going to cave in on itself.
All of this melancholy won’t stop the strength behind this recommendation to listen to this track lying down in a dark room though. The British are very stoic in nature and tracks as raw as this need to serve as a reminder that being open, emotional and upset are all perfectly valid human emotions that nobody should be ashamed to feel. Let it all out and let Sufjan Stevens be the pair of hands that catches you when you fall.