Wednesday, April 1, 2009

You are the Blood

You may have heard of the excellent new compilation "Dark Was The Night," put out by Red Hot to raise funds for AIDS research. It's not amazing from start to finish, but there are a ton of great bands on here (Arcade Fire, Spoon, Grizzly Bear), some pleasant surprises (My Brightest Diamond's cover of "Feeling Good" - I thought I was too attached to the Nina version, but I guess I was wrong), and only a minimal amount of Feist and Ben Gibbard to sit through. It's pretty much a white person's wet dream. The highlight for me, though, is Sufjan Stevens's epic contribution "You are the Blood."

I've been a Sufjan fan since Michigan came out; although the initial draw was "omg someone made an album about my state," I've stuck with him over the years and can even admit that Illinois was better than Michigan. I got sort of Sufjan-ed out for a while, though, as he became more ubiquitous (I blame Little Miss Sunshine) and then seemed to disappear. But with this new track, I'm ready to hop back on board.

"You are the Blood," at just over ten minutes long, is possibly the strangest song of Sufjan's career. I just tried to type out a description of it, but it doesn't really do the song justice; one can't get a sense of this without giving it a listen. (Multiple times. The first is sort of overwhelming.) It encapsulates pretty much every phase of Sufjan's career: meandering Michigan-esque moments, the dense electronic blasts of Enjoy Your Rabbit, and the bombastically orchestrated Illinois are all showcased to great effect. If this is where Sufjan is heading, I think we all have reason to get excited about him again.

(PS: I've uploaded the mp3 for you! It looks like it can only be downloaded ten times, but go here to download it. Run! Don't walk!)

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