A record with a thesis statement? Why not?

Stevens is actually talking about getting away from this type of process on his new record, but I actually find the idea of applying my deeply-ingrained “academic” process to songwriting, at least when it comes to looking at a record as a group of songs around a single topic or story. Takes me back to many of my favorite “classic” records — Tommy, Sgt. Pepper, Red Headed Stranger, Blood on the Tracks: they all have either a central narrative (story) or a major theme that holds them together.

Still there is a discipline to his work. Stevens seems to work as a songwriting essayist – pick subject, write album around it.

“I studied fiction writing and I think a lot of my music is influenced by the fiction writing workshop experience.

“I think what I do is I come at things like a researcher would and this is probably because of all the conditioning from high school and university and being taught how to cultivate ideas and form a thesis and develop ideas to support a thesis.

“It’s sort of a very scholastic approach. I don’t think my music has much scholarship to it. But the process is definitely influenced by that procedure.”

via Sufjan Stevens bringing his big-idea pop to town – Entertainment – NZ Herald News.


About russellwriter

Rob Russell is a dad, husband, writer, musician, educator, comic book reader, bad solderer, pop culture junky, trivia buff and student of everything cool and uncool. His favorite records are Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde and, currently, The Best of Bobbie Gentry: The Capitol Years. His favorite comic books are Kurt Busiek's Astro City and Neil Gaiman's Sandman. His favorite literary novels are Gabrial Garcia Marquez's 100 Years of Solitude and William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying. His favorite genre novels are John Scalzi's Red Shirts, M.R. Carrey's The Girl with All the Gifts, and Dan Simmons' Drood. His favorite movie is Goodfellas. His favorite hobby, besides everything, is writing about himself and his favorite things in the third person.

Posted on January 29, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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