Sufjan Stevens Seven Swans (20th Anniversary Edition)

Label
Asthmatic Kitty Records
Released
21st June 2024

Format Info

Dinked LP

The follow-up to 2003’s ‘Michigan’, Sufjan Stevens’ ‘Seven Swans’ was released originally in 2004. The Guardian dubbed it “a record of remarkable delicacy,” and Billboard called it a “consistently moving, subtly beautiful experience.”

The folk songs of Sufjan’s ‘Seven Swans’ occupy a singular space in his catalogue. The quiet, psalm-like music arrived less than a year after his 2003 breakthrough album, ‘Michigan’ and his much-publicized announcement to write an album for each of the 50 states. Just as wider audiences were becoming acquainted with the ever-evolving artist—who had, by this point, released a lo-fi folk-pop collage (2000’s ‘A Sun Came’), a Zodiac-inspired electronic suite (2001’s ‘Enjoy Your Rabbit’), and a grand, orchestral epic to kickstart his exploration of the country (‘Michigan’)—he re-introduced himself in hushed tones.

 

Despite cultivating a vast influence that spans genres, ‘Seven Swans’ is defined by its sense of intimacy. Think of it as Stevens’ self-penned book of prayer, a talisman that’s never been far from reach. This was a time in his career when his songwriting dealt explicitly with themes of Christianity, and his stark performances helped bring the celestial down to earth. Staples of his songbook like “The Dress Looks Nice on You” and “To Be Alone With You” are disarming in their gentleness, and for every gesture toward a divine presence, Stevens knew how to balance it with a vulnerable expression of humanity, using the language of love songs to outline the shadow of uncertainty in devoting ourselves to something bigger. Listening to ‘Seven Swans’ leaves us with enough hope, mystery, and wisdom to make it feel alive and exalting whenever we return.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of this now-beloved piece of Sufjan’s catalogue, AKR is releasing a Dinked Edition exclusive. Pressed on cream-in-black corona vinyl and housed in a matte jacket with embossing and a spot gloss finish, the LP package will include a flexi disc featuring two bonus tracks, “I Went Dancing With My Sister” and “Waste of What Your Kids Won’t Have.” The Dinked edition also comes with seven sheets of origami paper, in order to craft seven origami swans.

Other Releases by Sufjan Stevens