(disclaimer: this is the letter Sufjan most likely would have written to us if he actually wrote us a letter)
Dear Indie Muse,
It’s me–Sufjan Stevens. I’m in a big bind, and decided to reach out to you guys to try to help explain myself. I’m constantly receiving fan mail asking when I am planning on releasing another album, or which state I am going to dedicate my next album to. “How are you going to produce 50 albums at this rate, Sufjan. It’s impossible.” “Do you think you are God or something, Sufjan? You are not going to live forever, you know.”
People have no idea that I sold out long ago, and how I struggle with it everyday.
A few months after finishing up my Illinoise tour, I got a random call from John Hoeven, governor of North Dakota. He said, “Hey Sufjan, big fan of your music, I’d love to fly you out here, and give you a tour of our great state.” You know, I was in over my head at the time, with the success and all, and going somewhere remote like ND, for free no less, seemed like a perfect plan.
I got on a private jet, right off to Bismarck, to meet this Hoeven guy in person. The flight was amazing–I had more leg room than ever before, got to eat a sirloin steak, and even got to pick the in-flight movie. Somebody finally asked “Sufjan, what do you want?” for a change.
So when I got to Bismarck, I met up with the governor, and we grabbed lunch–another sirloin steak. If I knew we were going to have steak again, I probably wouldn’t have requested it on the jet–but I didn’t want to be rude now and refuse the steak. It was even better than the first.
You know, at the time, I didn’t question any of it. I just figured that the governor liked my music, and wanted to meet me. I never made the link that he was trying to juice me up for his pitch. He waited a few weeks, you know, just as I was getting comfortable in my complimentary resort, and saw just about everything there was to see in North Dakota (which believe me, isn’t a lot). When I was being driven around in the BMW that they bought for me, it didn’t even hit me–or when I made a comment on a really nice house, and they said “you want it, Sufjan, cause it’s yours if you want it.”
It wasn’t until I made my way back to Bismarck, and had another sirloin steak with the gov that it all clicked. “Now Sufjan, we hope your stay here in North Dakota has been a comfortable one. Our state is a gold mine of history, and the people here are just great, aren’t they?” I nodded my head in agreement, and took another bite out of my juicy sirloin. “So let me just come right out and ask you, Sufjan, what do you think about writing your next album about our great state of North Dakota? I mean you’ve seen the whole state, haven’t you?! You’ve accepted our cars, and houses, and private jet. We need this Sufjan. South Dakota is whooping our ass with Rushmore. We’ve got nothing. Even the animals are bored shitless. Please Sufjan, help us out.”
I dropped my fork, and wiped my face, in total disbelief. Here I was, Sufjan Stevens, trying to just get a breather, and now I see that I’ve been whipped. Then and there, I realized that the states don’t deserve me. I let myself down. I accepted bribes. When I was there in North Dakota, I recorded an entire album. I fell right into their trap–they even gave me my own state-of-the-art recording studio and equipment and said, “we’ll leave you alone now, Sufjan.” When I went on my little hikes they knew I was writing my lyrics. They must’ve known. And I had no idea that they knew. It was all going to be a surprise. Who would have expected North Dakota to be my next state? No one. Except North Dakota. The joke was on me.
So to all those people who don’t understand why I haven’t released another album yet, maybe this will help answer your questions. All I want to write about is the states, and now I don’t know which ones I can trust. Life sucks.
Sufjan Stevens- Concerning the UFO sighting Near Highland, IL
Sufjan Stevens- The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades Is Out to Get Us!
Seven Swans (2004):
Sufjan Stevens- A Good Man Is Hard To Find
Sufjan Stevens- Romulus
Enjoy Your Rabbit (2001):
Sufjan Stevens- Year Of The Ox
A Sun Came (2000):
Sufjan Stevens- A Winner Needs A Wand
The Avalanche (2006):
Sufjan Stevens- Adlai
B-Sides and Demos:
Sufjan Stevens – God’ll Ne’er Let You Down
2007 Believer Music Issue CD:
In The Words Of The Governor
I’m Not There OST:
Sufjan Stevens – Ring Them Bells
Bob Dylan – Ring Them Bells
Songs For Christmas (2006):
Sufjan Stevens – O Holy Night
The BQE (more info):
Sufjan Stevens – The BQE (part 3)
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