Sufjan Stevens is an American singer and songwriter. During his musical career, the artist managed to release eight solo albums and several collaborations with other artists. Sufyan has also been nominated for an Academy Award and a Grammy. The guy always liked to experiment with styles, and also touched on the topic of religion and spirituality in his songs, but in 2015 the musician releases not just an album, but a real confession.
Story of the creation of the song “Fourth of July” – Sufjan Stevens
In March, a disc recorded by Sufyan Stevens is released. It has an unusual for everyone quiet voice and text saturated with pain. The author has always been fond of hip-hop, electronics, but all this is left behind. The new album is dedicated to his family and the problems the artist has faced. Sufyan Stevens said that the recording was a real psychotherapy for him.
“If you are not ready for the cruel reality, it is better not to include this album,” the artist said. The album “Carrie & Lowell” was named after the stepfather and mother of the musician. The work plunges the listener into the world of childhood memories of Stevens. The story of the summer trips to his parents eventually leads back to his mother’s death anyway. Carrie suffered from many mental disorders, in parallel with the use of alcohol and drugs. Stevens was left with his father and only taken away on holidays.
The musician survived the death of his mother and witnessed this terrible event. Carrie died of stomach cancer and it was a real tragedy for the performer. The recording became for Sufyan Stevens not just a message for a loved one, whom he hardly knew, but loved very much, but therapy. Problematic childhood, difficult relationship with religion, various references and complete loss – the author talks about all this in his songs.
In the second part of the name – the name of the stepfather Lowell Brahms. It was he who became one of the closest to the musician, he was married to Stevens’ mother for only a couple of years, but left a huge mark on their lives. The performer, along with his stepfather, are engaged in the Asthmatic Kitty record label, which is named after Brahms’ cat, who suffered from asthma.
“Carrie & Lowell” is an album of trying not to think about death and remembering about life, about the need to say goodbye and let go. Sufyan Stevens is trying in every way not to repeat the fate of his mother, and first of all, close people keep him here. The stepfather, about whom the musician speaks with tenderness and awe, as well as his niece, who “lit up” everything around her.
The meaning of the composition “Fourth of July”
The song “Fourth of July” tells about the mother of the performer, and the date in the title refers to the day of her death. Sufyan tries in some way to equate the titular holiday with death and in a poetic manner says that all this happened through the fault of the addressee.
“What did you learn from… the Fourth of July”, it is understood that for the musician this “holiday” contains an important life lesson. Unfortunately, the singer himself does not comment on this, and it is possible that only those who are closely acquainted with him and his work could understand what the performer had in mind.
Sufjan Stevens spoke of how much his mother suffered. Despite the huge amount of medication she took while in intensive care, she was in extreme pain. The musician said that his mother’s death was “destructive”. According to him, while she was in the hospital, he had only one goal – to show her how much he loves her. On “Fourth of July” he sings about the difficult decision his mother makes when she leaves him. Carrie asks: “Why are you crying?”, because she wants to be with him and does not want to leave him, but is forced to die. “We’re all gonna die” is how the song ends.
Sufyan Stevens wrote “The Fourth of July”, and the composition itself was produced by his friend under the pseudonym Doveman, who was also a famous musician. The song became one of the most popular of the guy’s entire career, but at the same time, it was never released as a single.