Song of the Day #3,573: ‘Visions of Gideon’ – Sufjan Stevens

Three and a half months into 2018, I’m still catching up on the 2017 films I missed in theaters. This week I’ll write about a few of them.

By the time I got around to Call Me By Your Name, I had heard so much about it that it was impossible for me to have anything close to a pure experience. I’d read fawning reviews and brutal takedowns. My daughter loves it while my nephew hates it. I read about the father’s closing scene so often that I relented and watched it on YouTube long before I watched the rest of the film.

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Song of the Day #3,517: ‘Mystery of Love’ – Sufjan Stevens

Due to the Winter Olympics, this year’s Academy Awards are ridiculously late (March 4), which buys me a little time to sneak in some pre-Oscars blog posts. Specifically, I’m going to spend the next ten days featuring this year’s Best Original Song nominees as well as five of my favorite Best Original Song winners.

Michigan indie artist Sufjan Stevens is this year’s unlikeliest Best Song nominee. The eclectic multi-instrumentalist will seem as out of place on the Kodak Theatre stage as Elliott Smith did performing ‘Miss Misery’ from Good Will Hunting in 1997.

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Song of the Day #3,102: ‘Jacksonville’ – Sufjan Stevens

illinoiseYour randomly selected New Year’s Eve song is ‘Jacksonville,’ from Sufjan Stevens’ album Come On, Feel the Illinoise!.

Back in the early ’00s, Stevens vowed to write an album about every one of the 50 U.S. states, capturing the best and worst qualities of each. He started with Michigan then moved on to neighboring Illinois. But that’s where it ended. He has since dismissed the idea as absurd.

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Song of the Day #2,509: ‘Ring Them Bells’ – Sufjan Stevens

im_not_thereFrequent readers of this blog, especially those who know me offline, know that I’m as big a movie and TV fan as I am a music fan. Probably even more so.

Back in 2008, I started what I described then as “an occasional series” on Forgotten Gems, favorite movies of mine that never earned a spot in the popular consciousness as great films.

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Song of the Day #1,934: ‘Age of Adz’ – Sufjan Stevens

sufjan_stevens_age_of_adzI’m vulnerable to the cool new thing.

When a movie or album or performer is lavished with praise in all the “right” magazines and websites, I get a little antsy until I’m in the know. And more often than not, I agree with the chattering class.

In my defense, the critics are usually right, especially when there is near unanimous consent.

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Song of the Day #844: ‘John Wayne Gacy, Jr.’ – Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens is another celebrated indie rocker who has never clicked with me. Admittedly, I haven’t heard much of his music but that’s because what I have heard just annoys me.

My issue with Stevens is that he tries too damn hard. The album of his I own is 2005’s orgasmically-received Come On Feel the Illinoise!, which was the second entry in his “Fifty State Project,” a plan to write and record an album about each U.S. state. He started with 2003’s Michigan and abandoned the project after Illinois.

Now, I actually think that’s a pretty cool idea, whether he ever actually intended it or not. And I’m not knocking him for his ambition.

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