Halfway into 2017, here are my two musical highlights of the year so far:
They recorded and released an album version of the Planetarium!!! Thanks Bryce Dessner, Sufjan Stevens, Nico Muhly, James McAlister and your string quartet and seven trombones. Five years ago I saw you perform this live and I cried about hearing something so beautiful and then never getting to hear it again. Now I can hear it again. It’s amazing.
I am quite taken with Saturn. It doesn’t rally feature the strings or the trombones much. But it takes my 2017 prize for ‘best song exploring sin and evil’, which is a legitimate category of song appreciation for me. As you might know, Saturn was a Roman God famous as the god of plenty, who made things awesome for rich people. He was also infamous for eating his own children, so not really a great guy.
This contemporary interpretation of Saturn is fascinating. And the video clip is even more fascinating. Do yourself a favour and watch it, read Sufjan’s lyrics as you do.
And you know, I can’t stop with one song. My other musical highlight is technically from 2016, but this year it has a cool video clip… it’s Immigrants from the Hamilton mixtape!! I love that there are so many different voices in it.
Like Saturn, it’s a great song explaining what is wrong in the world. Well, at least it explains a specific social problem. Which is a drop in the bucket compared to explaining the all-reaching, pervasive, cosmic nature of evil, but still very interesting! 10 points to all the artists who contributed to this one.
(See, I’m not joking about choosing my favourite songs because of their ability to articulate the problems of the world!)