Along with those exquisite Aaron Taylor-Johnson photos for Esquire I was bombarded with a LOT of hot information when I sat down to my desk this here Monday morning -- including the news that Sufjan Stevens, our favorite sex-folk crooner, has a new album coming out! As seen on the cover above the title plashed in pink puffy paint (and only Sufjan could get me to type the phrase "pink puffy paint") is Javelin and it is out in full on October 6th. You can pre-order a copy right here. Here is the tracklist:
“A Running Start”
“Will Anybody Ever Love Me”
“Everything That Rises”
“My Red Little Fox”
“So You Are Tired”
“Javelin (To Have And To Hold)”
“There's A World”
And he's already released the song called "So Are You Tired"
along with a lyric video, which you can watch right here:
I will share the very long press release down below, but I want to highlight something that the short version I got in my email said:
"All CD and LP editions of Javelin include a 48-page book of art and essays all created by Sufjan, including a series of collages, cut-up catalog fantasies, puff-paint word clouds, and color fields. The ten short essays offer little glimpses into loves and losses that have shaped Sufjan, and, in turn, these songs."
No, not "puff paint" -- we already covered that. It's the part about the attached book of essays where Sufjan will "offer little glimpses into loves and losses that have shaped" him. Umm. Do we think? Maybe...? Might he...? I daren't even say it, that feels like it'll jinx it. But as I have said before -- if writing those songs for Call Me By Your Name wasn't a "coming out" I don't know what could be. But... I suppose this could be? I daren't! Anyway hit the jump for the long press release if you're so inclined...
Over the course of his career, Sufjan Stevens has blurred distinctions between the major and the minor, between the details that color our existence and the big events that frame our lives. He has turned historical footnotes of States into kaleidoscopic pop, and rendered the immeasurable grief of loss with intimacy and grace.
His new album Javelin—Sufjan’s first solo album of songs since 2020’s The Ascension and his first in full solo singer-songwriter mode since 2015’s Carrie & Lowell—bridges all these approaches. Sufjan uses the quietness of a solitary confession to ask universal questions in songs we can share communally.
Where The Ascension, lauded by The New York Times as “a cry of despair and prayer for redemption,” used ornate but urgent electronics to square up to its moment, Javelin begins more like a self-portrait, detailed yet plain. Yet whether listened to individually or as an album, these 10 songs become something much bigger, the entire experience of Sufjan’s 25-year career expressed in four-minute bursts. Choral, orchestral, and electric wonder: it all shows in Javelin, all of it animating these songs as full spectacles. In each song we hear the vulnerability and candor of quiet starts, then Sufjan raising the stakes.
At times, Javelin has the feel of a big team album production—but it is decidedly not: almost every sound here is the result of Sufjan at home, building by himself what sometimes feels like a testament to classic ’70s Los Angeles studio recording sessions. There are indispensable contributions from a close circle of friends; the harmonies of five singers who afford Javelin so much frisson: adrienne maree brown, Hannah Cohen, Pauline Delassus, Megan Lui, and Nedelle Torrisi. Bryce Dessner plays acoustic and electric guitar on “Shit Talk.” And, of course, Neil Young wrote the tender and mystic closer, “There’s a World.”
And speaking of the world: there is a permeable sense of world-building imbued in every corner of Javelin, especially in the 48-page book of art and essays that accompanies the album. With a series of meticulous collages, cut-up catalog fantasies, puff-paint word clouds, and iterative color fields, Sufjan builds order from seeming chaos and vice versa. And toward the middle of it all are 10 short essays by Sufjan, another window into the process that informed Javelin.
On Javelin, Sufjan returns as we may know him best, offering vulnerable reflections on love and relationships, so that in listening we may see ourselves more fully.