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Top Ten Tracks 2000 – 2009: #2

March 23, 2010

2.  No Man’s Land: The Avalanche: Sufjan Stevens
    My musical love for Ryan Adams is only outdone by one man – Sufjan Stevens.

    Maybe its become cliche to be an evangelical Christian who doesn’t want to be identified with the “Third Days”  or “Steven Curtis Chapmans” of the evangelical sonic landscape – to then migrate to Steven’s music.  So be it.  His music is easily the most splendid, fresh, mystifying thing out there.  Period.  He is better than anyone right now.  He tells better stories.  He writes better music.  He sings better, albeit subtler, lyrics.  He pushes himself further than anyone.  I think right now he is probably locked in some NYC basement contemplating what it would be like to create an album that functioned like an open source website or some crazy new scheme – who knows?  But he is the best. 

    This song comes off of The Avalanche the b-side release to his enormously popular Illinois Album.  It’s a birds eye view of the ethics of place.  We take off from O’Hare Int’l and are taught a lesson about location, particularity, place and the meaning of being a people of the land. We are told “This land is not your land/For the right hand takes what it can/Ransacks with the madman/For this land is not yours or mine to have/This land was made for the good of itself.” I am not sure if Sufjan is a communist (perhaps a communalist) but I am sure that all of us need to read a little more Wendell Berry and understand the dirt beneath our feet a little better – myself included.

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