Sufjan Stevens has returned with the new single from his first album in five years. Check out ‘America’ from ‘The Ascension’ below’.
Earlier this week, the acclaimed singer-songwriter announced the follow-up to 2015’s ‘Carrie & Lowell’ by sharing the artwork and tracklist for ‘The Ascension‘ – which is due for release on September.
Now, Stevens has released the sprawling and emotive 12 and half minute single ‘America’ – which may seem prescient to current events in the US, but was in fact written six years ago.
“I was dumbfounded by the song when I first wrote it,” said Stevens. “Because it felt vaguely mean-spirited and miles away from everything else on ‘Carrie & Lowell’. So I shelved it.”
He continued: “But when I dug up the demo a few years later I was shocked by its prescience. I could no longer dismiss it as angry and glib. The song was clearly articulating something prophetic and true, even if I hadn’t been able to identify it at the time. That’s when I saw a clear path toward what I had to do next.”
Rewriting the song over the next two years, Stevens found that ‘America’ became the “thematic template” for the rest of the album “My objective for this album was simple: Interrogate the world around you,” he said. “Question anything that doesn’t hold water. Exterminate all bullshit.
“Be part of the solution or get out of the way. Keep it real. Keep it true. Keep it simple. Keep it moving.”
‘The Ascension’ will be released on September 25 and can be pre-ordered here. The album follows on from the March release of ‘Aporia’, Stevens’ collaborative release with his stepfather Lowell Brams.