Thursday, December 04, 2008

Say Yes to Michigan.

I haven't written much, but here's a song. Maybe this is the way to go for a while--I have unlimited numbers of things to say about unlimited numbers of songs. And I found a place to host the files with minimum hassle. (You can't just right-click, I don't think. You have to go through a download page, so they can show you ads. But it's free. Pop-up Blockers On!) No pretentions to Randomness, here--that was supposed to be a fun exercise, but even the shuffle setting on iTunes was just putting Too Much Pressure on your poor, beleaguered Lieutenant. I'll write about the songs I pick.

"For the Widows in Paradise, For the Fatherless in Ypsilanti."
Sufjan Stevens

You must love Sufjan, even if you are rolling your eyes as you do it. He's ours, after all. Midwestern, sad and sincere. Unapologetic mystic and unapologetic banjo-ist. Sort of arbitrarily elevated to Hip Pantheon four years ago by people who would probably be uncomfortable if a man wearing wings (!) came up to him on the street talking about the various things Sufjan likes to sing about. Saul Bellow and serial killers and the God of Abraham, etc.

This is an early song, from the first of his records to get wide attention. So it's comparatively sparse. Banjo, piano, trumpet, delicate vocal harmonies...wait, did I say sparse? But it's nice. And, naturally, it seems to be sung from God's point of view. Sufjan knows just how He feels.

And place names are their own poetry, of course, and Mr. Stevens knows that as deeply as I do. Even if he were wearing the wings, I know that I could just say Ypsilanti and we both would smile. Wouldn't be awkward at all. Ypsilanti is a frail, mysterious sort of name for a sad and weary sort of place. And I walked there, once. It took a day. I was young and excitable. I pretend to be different now. A long and silly story that is nonetheless so useful that I'm saving it.

4 comments:

adm said...

just freaking got that from the library
j and i just listened to vito's ordination song
see you for breakfast

Dr. Virago said...

Wait...what? You walked to Ypsi? God god, man! I run marathons and even I think that's crazy!

Seriously, what was your route (cuz you know I want to do it now).

Matt said...

adm - "Vito's Ordination Song," perfect. Also from God's point of view. No one should be able to get away with this, but Sufjan does. Lovely droning repetition, seven minutes, good stuff. Catholic Sufjan, which is a bit different. Homeerotic Mystical Sufjan, par for the course.

Dr V - I could research that, but some of it would be speculation. :) It was dark for a lot of the time; couldn't read the map. Back roads, some dirt, west Toledo to Dundee and northeast. Actually not my idea. I was moral support and travel companion for somebody who really wanted to make an impression on some lady. (Occasional commenter Guinevere, who knows where many metaphorical bodies are buried.) Who was happy to see me, but not him, particularly. Worked as well as you'd expect. Farcical and teen-soap-opera-ish, but has potential. Pathetic=pathos, right?

Guinevere said...

To Dr. V. -

I don't think you could follow the exact route these days; the actual destination point is no longer located there.

Matthew -

The only words I have would be "Yeep" - silanti. (Gee.)
Or some such nonsense. ;)