Saturday, December 21, 2013

Sufjan Stevens - Seven Swans

It has been pouring rain for the past 24 hours or so. It's a Saturday night. Something in me decided to put on Sufjan Stevens Seven Swans, one of the albums I probably spent most of my time with in college, along with The National's Boxer and Jose Gonzalez's Veneer.

It brought back a rush of memories from those four years, good and bad. With every gentle guitar pick, I remembered a different relationship, a mental struggle, a night alone in my dorm room, a day where I sat with a friend, trying to learn how to play a rudimentary version of one of these songs on my grandma's old acoustic.

"To Be Alone With You." That was my favorite for a while. I remember being home at my parents' house on winter break, long after everyone else in the house was asleep, listening to it on repeat on my first or second generation ipod, trying to help myself fall asleep.

There's something just so beautiful about every nuance of Seven Swans. It's carefully peaceful, intricately gorgeous, and so well-thought out, I could cry. It doesn't give me happy feelings, despite some of the good memories that it brings back. Instead, it draws out the mental battles I fought with myself, fearing my future, which at the time, seemed to wide open that it could swallow me up.

Listening and thinking about these songs tonight, I wish I could go back and tell myself it was all going to be ok. But even I can't figure out how I got from there to here. Life has been full of surprises, great surprises, and some not so great ones. But when I give myself enough time to think about the past, and allow my emotions to wrap around these old songs, so engrained in me, it's truly amazing to think of the path I've taken since the first time I heard this album.

How wonderful, to be able to journey through life with such beautiful soundtracks. Pieces of me, told in the memories that songs carry with them. Ten thousand points to nostalgia, and how it helps you learn about your past and your present and future all at the same time. And one million points to Sufjan Stevens, for creating this masterpiece that never ages, only grows more layered and complicated
by the day.

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