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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Carrie & Lowell

Sufjan Stevens

2015

Carrie & Lowell
Album Summary

This album has been submitted by a user and is not included in any edition of the book.

Carrie & Lowell is the seventh studio album by American musician Sufjan Stevens. It was released on March 31, 2015, by Asthmatic Kitty. It was produced by Stevens, and features guest contributions from Thomas Bartlett, Sean Carey, Casey Foubert, Ben Lester, Nedelle Torrisi, and Laura Veirs. Unlike Stevens' previous album, the electronic The Age of Adz (2010), Carrie & Lowell features sparse instrumentation, with critics noting it as reminiscent of the performer's earlier indie folk–inspired material. Lyrically, the album sees him explore the fallout from the 2012 death of his mother Carrie, and the relationship between Stevens and Carrie’s second husband Lowell Brams, who helped Stevens establish Asthmatic Kitty. Carrie & Lowell was supported by the lead singles "No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross" and "Should Have Known Better". The album saw word-of-mouth marketing through its one-week preview on NPR, and after the song "Death with Dignity" featured in the video games Life Is Strange 2 (2018) and The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit (2018). Stevens later supported the album through the Carrie & Lowell Tour, which spanned North America, Europe, and Australasia. Carrie & Lowell received immediate widespread critical success, with many labeling it Stevens' best, and it was routinely named among the best albums of 2015 in many publications' year-end lists. Commercially, Carrie & Lowell debuted and peaked at number ten on the US Billboard 200 with 53,000 equivalent album units, of which 51,000 came from pure sales; as of July 2015, the album has sold 105,000 units in the US, with almost half sold on vinyl.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.28

Votes

64

Genres

  • Folk
  • Rock

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Reviews

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Sun May 19 2024
5

Still have a soft spot of Michigan (and Illinoise) but this is probably the pinnacle of Sufjan's whole deal, so I'm glad someone submitted this. I hope he's doing better. He had a rough 2023.

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Mon May 20 2024
5

Love this album, and especially the track "No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross". Sufjan's dreamy vocalizations over his sublime melodic rhythms, I could weep.

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Sat May 18 2024
4

Very poetic and calming music

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Mon May 20 2024
3

I like Sufjan overall, but only in small doses. 3 stars.

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Mon May 20 2024
1

It's like trance music, for an astral trip ha ha. It's not for me.

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Mon May 20 2024
1

I don't care how high concept this guy's stuff is. It's just SO BORING. Completely wishy-washy crap. Made 45min feel like 3 hours. At least Soundgarden had a song called Fourth of July that actually ruled. 1/5.

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Thu May 23 2024
1

Ugh. It was bad and very whiny. I suffered through it.

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Sat May 18 2024
5

While I like Illinoise a bit more, I think this entry is a fantastic choice as well, with a tight and atmosphere set of tracks.

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Mon Jul 08 2024
5

Own this one on vinyl. Could very well be one of my all-time favorites.

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Mon Jul 15 2024
5

This album is my submission. I chose it because Sufjan Stevens has been incredibly influential within the indie scene to the point where his influence can be heard almost everywhere. His music spans folk, electronic, and rock and incorporates elements of theatre and conceptual storytelling. Carrie & Lowell came in the wake of a maximalist electronic album and stands in contrast as a minimalist folk record that still pulses almost imperceptibly with electronic beats. This record came out a decade after ‘Illinois’ and is a testament to Stevens’ ever evolving body of work and the consistency of the quality of that work. The Thematically, it explores the death of his mother and the complicated feelings left in the wake of the death of someone who essentially abandoned him as a child. Here we see some of Stevens’ best and most heartbreaking lyrics. As a trained writer, he expertly explores the winding path of grief marked by memory, self-destruction, and ultimately yearning for a relationship that never was. His use of religious metaphor in particular is resonant.

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Sat May 18 2024
4

Super relaxing and serene. Enjoyed it.

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Sat May 18 2024
4

Sufjan's voice admits no good material analogy; Carrie & Lowell, though, reflects the age-delicacy of its subject matter. Deeply contemporary as it's deeply Christian, the album is a personal hymnal that demands a kind of community. Its earworms are themes as well as tunes.

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Mon May 20 2024
4

Huge Sufjan Stevens fan going way back and no complaints with this offering. Very understated but of course that suits the material.

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Wed May 22 2024
4

Rating: 8/10 Best songs: Death with dignity, Should have known better, Eugene, Fourth of July

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Sun May 19 2024
3

I really loved Illinoise, Seven Swans and Michigan back in the day but somehow I've gotten really tired of his waif-like whisper vocals. Despite all the rave reviews, I think that this album was just ok.

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Mon May 20 2024
3

An even better choice of Sufjan album for the list than the officially selected "Illinois."

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Sun May 26 2024
3

Gentle modern folk from Sufjan rather than his eclectic gentle pop. Sweet sounding.

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Sun Jun 09 2024
3

It's fine, but it's just the same song over and over again.

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Fri Jun 14 2024
3

liked this when it started, however every song is very similar so a bit tired by song 3. Still ethereal and good in smaller doses, best song: Drawn in the blood. 3.1

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Sat Jun 22 2024
3

Whats the point of singing songs, if theyll never even hear you 2 Ok you need headphones and anc for this one 3

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Sat Jul 13 2024
3

A softer side of Sufjan compared to the epic ‘Illinoise,’ this LP has some serious chops in the instrumental department with a great mixture of guitar and some low-level synths. I think your mileage on this one depends on how you feel about Sufjan’s vocals (which take up center stage throughout) and more singer-songwriter leaning tracks.

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Sun May 19 2024
2

I found this remarkably boring.

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Sun May 26 2024
1

I honestly don't know how people can listen to this whiney sort of shite!

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