“Calm and reserved, but still somehow passively aggressive” is the best description for Sufjan Stevens‘ new single “Should Have Known Better” off his forthcoming LP Carrie & Lowell. Being Stevens’ first album in five years and seventh in total, the record, which is due to be released 3/31 on Asthmatic Kitty Records, is an ode to his mother Carrie, who has passed away in 2012, and stepfather Lowell, as well as a book of stories about the family trips to Oregon is Stevens’ childhood.
“There’s such a discrepancy between my time and relationship with her, and my desire to know her and be with her,”
he recently told Pitchfork in an interview.
According to a press release, Carrie & Lowell’s 11 songs “address life and death, love and loss, and the artist’s struggle to make sense of the beauty and ugliness of love.”
The song itself consists of two parts: first is the tender and melodic guitar arpeggio and Sufjan’s soulful singing. Although, in the second part, as comprehensively described by Pitchfork, “an uplifting electric keyboard line kicks in; a subtle percussive note steadily taps out a reminder to keep going; his voice shakes off the ice and forms a chorus with itself, flowering into something hopeful. Sufjan flips the melody from the black shroud into a tender lyric about shoving aside his fear, discovering an oasis of perspective when he looks to his brother’s newborn daughter and sees his mother in her face.”
Unlike the album’s first single “No Shade In The Shadow of the Cross,” released last month, “Should Have Known Better” is well-described by Stereogum as “slightly more upbeat, with an instrumental interlude that might be the prettiest moment on the album.” Listen to yourself below.
Also, follow the artist’s tour schedule, with Sufjan Stevens grand North American spring tour starting April, 10, in Philadelphia, PA.