Sufjan Stevens

The Avalanche

Here’s the plan: The next time we see Sufjan Stevens, we will corner him. “Look, Sufj,” we will say. “We know you are prolific. Your dross is as a lesser songwriter’s gold. But we are not sure we needed to know that you recorded 46 songs for Illinois, or that we wanted to hear the 21 songs that didn’t make the first cut.” He’ll say something self-effacing and charming, and we can’t stay mad at him, so we’ll ask if he’d please play our favorite song from The Avalanche (“Pittsfield,” a beautiful, delicate epic—they are all epic—about kids standing up to their parents). Because, really, we are suckers for this stuff, for Stevens’ fragile voice, his meandering guitars, big choruses, twittering flutes and oboes. But we will ask him to consider making a shorter record next time. If we remember.