Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Understanding love and loss

Sufjan Stevens releases his newest album, ‘Javelin’
Understanding+love+and+loss
Chloe Williams

 

 

 

It is a big day for fans of “Call Me by Your Name” or for people who have had Tumblr since 2007. Sufjan Stevens, an American singer, songwriter and instrumentalist, just dropped his newest album, “Javelin,” and it is pretty much perfect. 

Stevens has been around for quite a while; he has ten solo albums and several more collaborative projects with other artists. Seeing “Javelin” pop up on my Spotify was a beautiful surprise. I had listened to his other albums so many times that I was almost getting sick of them. Now, I have been roped back into Stevens’ world, and it is a fantastical world to be a part of. 

Javelin” consists of ten tracks and is a melancholy tribute to lost love. The album is dedicated to Stevens’ late partner, Evans Richardson IV. 

“He was an absolute gem of a person, full of life, love, laughter, curiosity, integrity, and joy,” Stevens wrote in a Tumblr post. “He was one of those rare and beautiful ones you find only once in a lifetime — precious, impeccable, and absolutely exceptional in every way.”

The physical album is accompanied by a 48-page book of visual art and 10 short essays reflecting on Stevens’ past loves. These essays themselves are powerful and provide so much insight into Stevens’ psyche and background, making the album all the more real. 

“Digging for the true grit of life in the eternal dirt of the universe,” Stevens wrote in the ninth essay. “Javelin” has found these truths and has honed and perfected Stevens’ utterly unique essence. The album is yearning and stunning; it makes your heart stop and your stomach drop. It is love encapsulated in sound. It is incredible. 

The first track, “Goodbye Evergreen,” starts quiet, with only Stevens’ vocals and piano. Suddenly, it soars into a cacophony of power and raw emotion. The album flies on, gentle, reminiscent of Stevens’ magnum opus, “Carrie and Lowell.” The first several songs are winding, like a long walk through a garden on a quiet day. 

Genuflecting Ghost” marks the halfway point in “Javelin” and is probably my favorite track of the ten. It is heaven in a song — sad and peaceful. This track also provides a shift in tone, and every song after is as remarkable as the last. 

My Red Little Fox” begs for love, and “So You Are Tired” seems to be giving up on it. “Javelin (To Have And To Hold)” is searching and yearning, and “Shit Talk” is Stevens’ melancholy and powerful tone fully realized. “Javelin” ends satisfyingly with an incredibly moving cover of Neil Young’s “There’s a World.”

This album is a mix of Stevens’ acoustic and reflective “Carrie and Lowell” with his soaring, epic album “Age of Adz.” “Javelin” knows exactly what it wants to be. Stevens has found the essence of humanity and laments on it with a perfect understanding of love and loss.

“Javelin” is not as good as “Carrie and Lowell,” and for that reason, I cannot give it five stars, but I could rave about it forever and beg all of you to give it a listen. 

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About the Contributors
Lauren Hernandez, Assistant Arts & Life Editor
Lauren (she/her) is a second year English student at UTSA. After graduation she plans on attending law school. Outside of The Paisano you can usually find her at a concert taking pictures, hiking in the woods, watching movies or thrifting with her sister.
Chloe Williams, Managing Editor
Chloe (she/her) is a senior majoring in Business Marketing with a minor in Adaptive Decision Business Models. On her off days you can find Chloe thrifting, being a self-proclaimed food critic or outside enjoying nature. This is her third year at The Paisano and she is excited to serve as Managing Editor.

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