In recognition of Pride Month, the inimitable, mightily prolific Sufjan Stevens has bestowed upon us a couple of new ones, as our love for him deepens once more. The first, Love Yourself, has been adapted from a demo ostensibly first recorded in 1996, although this self-empowered rendition now recalls the undulating electronica-carved landscapes of The Age of Adz approximately fourteen years subsequent, as Stevens enquires with almost mantric insistence: “Love, can you love yourself?/ Show me everything/ Every reason to believe in yourself.”
The second, entitled With My Whole Heart, is so irrepressibly upbeat that it’s quite incongruous with the majority of his oeuvre. Similarly constant in terms of its lyrical content (its central leitmotif is the loved-up, if fairly longing, “I will love you with my whole heart/ … / Say you love me with your whole heart”), musically, Scandipoppy guitars scuttle about skipping rhythms and shiny, light synths which show a side to Stevens we only too infrequently witness. If not quite the ‘sincere love song without conflict, anxiety or self-deprecation’ he was hoping to put out, it’s wholly lovely all the same.
Love Yourself / With My Whole Heart is available from June 28th on limited edition ‘tie-dye vinyl’.