Sufjan Stevens Debuts First Album in Five Years With 'The Ascension'

The artist’s eighth studio album is existential and ambitious.

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Music
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Sufjan Stevens has returned with his new album The Ascension out via his own label Asthmatic Kitty. It’s his first full-length offering in five years following 2015’s Carrie & Lowel.

The project spans an ambitious 15 songs and 80 minutes of runtime featuring tracks upwards of seven to 12 minutes in length full of experimental song structure while still managing to drift into pop territory. “Sugar” dabbles with electronica with a stunning visual released on the same day.

“‘Sugar’ is ultimately about the desire for goodness and purity (and true sustenance),” Stevens said in a statement. “On the surface the song is just a string of clichés, but the message is imperative: now is the time to gather what is good and pure and valuable and make it your own, and share it with others. Feed your soul and speak new life into those around you. Give each other love, respect and sacrifice. Relinquish all the old habits, all the old ways of thinking and doing, all former practices — “business as usual” — and bring new life to the world. This is our calling.”

Other notable offerings include “Video Game”, a reminder that everyone shouldn’t base their worth on someone else’s approval. The outro “America”, released on July 4, is full of biblical allusions and fear of an unavoidable apocalypse. “Don’t do to me what you did to America,” he repeats over and over again.

Stream The Ascension below. In more music updates, Kanye West teased a new track featuring a sample of Lauryn Hill’s “Doo-Wop (That Thing)” with “BELIEVE WHAT I SAY.”

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Asthmatic Kitty

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