Look beneath the floorboards

Written by

Sufjan Stevens – John Wayne Gacy, Jr.

In a passing conversation about Sufjan, my friend compared his music to a clumsy dinner: the salad is dripping with vinegar, it runs into the mashed potatoes and the chunks of beef, their marinade so appetising on their lonesome, are soaked dry and rough, hardened. It is a good dinner, a fulfilling one, but there is too much going on. It’s hard to know what you like and what you don’t.

In “John Wayne Gacy, Jr.” Sufjan gets it right. It is simple. Is the twinkling piano even manned, is there somebody there, their fingers deftly moved by wrists? Are they thinking? “His father was a drinker,” Sufjan begins, “and his mother cried in bed.” Is this happening in a vacuum? John, far removed from the perils of adulthood, of aging, slips on the swing and it hangs, like a judge’s gavel in the air, still-framed, ready to come down.

When Sufjan’s falsetto, scratching at the floor with the soft wraiths of piano heard rattling against the window, cries, oh my God, are you crying?

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3 Responses to “Look beneath the floorboards”

  1. Zac says:

    I was too busy gasping, myself.

  2. Jack says:

    What are you talking about?!
    Sufjan’s music isn’t too complex, its one of the most simplest artists out there.
    He uses hardly any instruments, probably 3 or 4 on average.
    Which is nothing compared to other complex songs.
    And why choose a dinner to compare it to?
    And Sufjan gets it right every time !
    You idiot!

  3. Tom says:

    Easy, Jack! Everyone’s allowed their opinion. I think it’s a good analogy, one of the reasons Sufjan is so much fun is because he can’t resist bringing in the crazy. As much as I like his softer side, I’m glad he gets his electro beats on and veers away from the cheesy acoustic side of the road.

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