It's a happy, happy Monday for some, with album announcements from Sufjan Stevens and Death Cab for Cutie answering the long-standing prayers of my brethren, the 20-somethings not willing to let go of their first crushes in indie music. At 21, discovering Sufjan was like discovering folk music. Discovering Ben Gibbard's lyrics was like discovering angst-ridden poetry.
I've fallen away from these artists, but both seem to be holding the idea of winning me back.
Yes, with both album's press releases, one gets the sense that both artists are appeasing fans of their former selves. This turns me off a little, especially in Sufjan's case. Death Cab have kept roughly the same sound throughout their career. They've blunted the edges with electronics on Narrow Stairs, sure. Gibbard's lyrics and the core of late teenage longing have stayed, though. Sufjan, with Age of Adz and the shift to avant garde electronics, forged a new direction for his career - an exciting one, with Illinois accomplishing all a freak folk album could hope to accomplish. To return to that sound is a cozy blanket to wrap around yourself, but not necessarily an exciting and daring thing.
My only hope for these two albums is that they're creative. Sufjan infusing his Seven Swans sound (which can be heard in the trailer for Carrie & Lowell) with subtle electronics and Death Cab exploring territory beyond the simple landscape of adolescent emotion - that'd be pretty cool.
We'll see what happens.