Idiosyncratic American Songsmith Usurps Icelandic Aural Architects.
After completely overdosing on Sigur Ros and Arcade Fire last year, I most definitely needed a new sound for 2006. In February, Claire resolved my Soundtrack For The Year by playing Sufjan Stevens’ Come On Feel The Illinoise for me over a dinner at her house. Most of his albums have since been in heavy rotation on my iPod. One can really only smile at the playfully literate song titles which mischievously confound both iPod display screens and the presumably pat introductions of Radio DJs . The typically verbose “A Short Reprise For Mary Todd, Who Went Insane, But For Very Good Reasons” is the sixth track on Illinois. While “A Conjunction Of Drones Simulating The Way In Which Sufjan Stevens Has An Existential Crisis In The Great Godfrey Maze” is track fourteen.
I do not particularly care for the faux-outsider art on the album covers. But in today’s world of mp3 files, who actually still looks at the covers after ripping their CDs anyway. Unfortunately, I missed his well-received performance at The Olympia this Autumn, but there is always YouTube.
Even after a few months intensive delving into the Sufjan back catalogue, the number one track on the Top 25 Most Played smart playlist on my iPod – the sublime Glósóli by Sigur Ros – remains stubbornly unchanged from last year. (As that list is inherently biased towards tracks you have owned longer, the top ten tracks seem pretty immune to change.) Given that Sigur Rós don't exactly receive heavy rotation on the plain vanilla MTV channel that I receive with our NTL subscription. I only found the Glósóli video on YouTube last month. According to some music critics this track is either something akin to eavesdropping on God’s breathing or listening to monumental glaciers sliding majestically into the sea or some such hyperbole. Who cares, it is still my favourite song from this year.
If you enjoyed that, you should definitely watch the, far superior, video for the elegiac ‘Vaka’ from their previous album (). Its pretty slow but worth watching through unto the end. (This won an MTV Best Video award a few years back.)
Now if only someone somewhere can convert that Glósóli guitar crescendo at 4.33 into the ringtone for my phone, that would make me quite happy indeed. Rock on 2007.
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