For ones who may be reading this outside of The King’s College and wondering about these four as the chosen songs to introduce the much broader Mr. Stevens to Dr. Salyers, there is an explanation. The explanation requires meeting Dr. Salyers, or seeing him velasaraptoring around our campus. These four may seem among the quirkiest, though know that it is for very good reason. Therefore, chronologically:
Sufjan Stevens – I Saw Three Ships
Ah, the first listed song is a cover – a connection from a pre-Stevens-introductory existence (a Christmasy carol) to the post. (Hint: This was released in 2002, the second of an annual five-year Christmas project [including 2006 [unreleased], excluding 2004 [never released]]). The ending provides as an introduction to the humility of Mr. Stevens.
Sufjan Stevens – For the Widows in Paradise, for the Fatherless in Ypsilanti
Ah, a relatively normal song. This was included in order to add depth to the perception of Mr. Stevens, and to try to represent some of the broader lyrics of Sufjan Stevens. It can be assumed that God is the benevolent narrator for the line: “If you have a father, or if you haven’t one, I’ll do anything for you. I did everything for you.” That is one mere example of such lyrical depth, and the song as a whole “speaks for itself”.
Sufjan Stevens – Decatur, or, Round of Applause for Your Step-Mother!
Ah, “Decatur…” moves us back to the silly and strange, though it would be unfair and “irresponsible” to reduce the song to such adjectives. This song is from the concept album known as “Illinois”, a collection of songs about a state that Mr. Stevens had merely visited before writing. The song may resemble a children’s tale, but know that (according to what research I’ve done), this song required much study and investigation of the Illinois town Decatur. His noting of “the smell of the grain” and the loose, wild animals are real-life references to Decatur’s weird past and present, as the town has a terrible grainy stench and animals from their zoo once escaped. A favorite line: “Stephen A. Douglas was a great debater, but Abraham Lincoln was the great emancipator.”
Sufjan Stevens – Dear Mr. Supercomputer
Ah, yes, this song, “Dear Mr. Supercomputer”, is my favorite from Mr. Stevens’ latest album, entitled “The Avalanche”. The song is in unique time, and during a sort of breakdown the all-girls chorus is chanting “1! 2! 3! 4! 5! 6! 7! All computers go to Heaven!” The album is another example of Sufjan’s historical references, from Adlai Stevenson to The Vivian Girls.
And there is an introduction, directed toward Dr. Salyers, meant for any. To download the songs, Right-click, “Save Target As…”. Of course, if you have anything to say, or downloaded, please leave a comment.
(Editor’s Note: There are a few items one must understand in order to begin to comprehend what is Sufjan Stevens. Item 1: Mr. Stevens is widely known as a Christian, and is described as the “liberal compassionate” type. Item 2: Mr. Stevens claims O.C.D., and this works out for the greatest good for the greatest number, as his songs have been written and re-written, and in the case of “Chicago”, there are around ten different known versions, four having been officially released. Item 3: Mr. Stevens, despite offers from major labels, has maintained integrity and sticks with his label, Asthmatic Kitty. Item 4: Sufjan plays a great multitude of musical instruments, numbered around twenty. There certainly are other such items, though they shall be excluded for personal discovery, and for the sake of those who have already discovered.)