Sufjan Stevens recently announced The Ascension, which will be his first solo album in five years when it drops towards the end of September. With the announcement, he revealed that the record’s lead single, the 12-minute “America,” would drop on Friday. So, today, the track has arrived.
Stevens calls his new single “a protest song against the sickness of American culture in particular.” Musically, the track hearkens back to Stevens’ The Age Of Adz-style experimentation, with ambient passages and larger moments twisting and turning into each other.
On it, he sings of losing faith in his country, saying, “I have loved you, I have grieved / I’m ashamed to admit I no longer believe / I have loved you, I received / I have traded my life for a picture of the scenery.” He ends the song by repeating, “Don’t do to me what you did to America / Don’t do to me what you do to yourself.”
The Ascension is Stevens’ first solo album since 2015’s Carrie & Lowell. He has remained busy in the interim, though. For example, Stevens and his stepfather, Lowell Brams, released an album together earlier this year.
Listen to “America” above.
The Ascension is out 9/25 via Asthmatic Kitty Records. Pre-order it here.