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Waking from the American dream

The cult singer-songwriter made his name as a whimsical chronicler of US history. Now he’s made an electropop album about his country’s evils.

Stevens’s latest and perhaps boldest work, The Ascension, is another exercise in changing direction after a brief flirtation with fame. His 2015 album Carrie and Lowell was a bare-bones exploration of grief, inspired by the death of his mother, and hailed as Stevens’s greatest achievement yet. Rather than more of the same, its follow-up is a beautiful, scuffed electropop album that swaps Carrie and Lowell’s introspection for outward-looking lyrics, grappling with an American culture he perceives as up in flames. “I wanted to respond to changes in the political climate and changes in human engagement, influenced by the internet and technology,” he says. 

'I have a sense of urgency': Sufjan Stevens wakes from the American dream

Al Horner . The Guardian

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