Sufjan Stevens Shares New Song ‘Sugar,’ and Music Video with Rich Choreography — New LP ‘The Ascension’ Out 9/25


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Rock Cellar Magazine
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On Sept. 25, celebrated indie/experimental singer/songwriter Sufjan Stevens will release a new studio album, and he’s been previewing The Ascension in recent weeks with a series of singles. The latest, “Sugar,” was premiered on Tuesday, accompanied by a stylish music video.

(Click here to pre-order The Ascension from our Rock Cellar Store).

The clip comes from acclaimed choreographer, MacArthur Fellow and Doris Duke Artist Award recipient Kyle Abraham and directed by Ezra Hurwitz, and the video is quite stark in its imagery:

“‘Sugar’ is ultimately about the desire for goodness and purity (and true sustenance),” says Sufjan. “On the surface the song is just a string of clichés, but the message is imperative: now is the time to gather what is good and pure and valuable and make it your own, and share it with others. Feed your soul and speak new life into those around you. Give each other love, respect and sacrifice. Relinquish all the old habits, all the old ways of thinking and doing, all former practices—‘business as usual’—and bring new life to the world. This is our calling.”

“The way I approach choreography tends to blend elements of the everyday with moments of abstraction,” says Abraham. “I was compelled by the tempo and the tone of the song…especially when choreographing the duet material and solo material for Samantha Figgans and Raymond Pinto. This song and its undertones created a lot of really fun scenarios to play with choreographically.”

Lyrically, the song reveals itself in layers:

All the shit they try to feed us
Don’t drink the poison or they’ll defeat us
This is the right time
Come on baby gimme some sugar
Don’t break my heart, don’t break my flow now
And all this rage has got to go now
Let’s take up this lifeline
Come on baby gimme some sugar

“Sugar” follows the recently-premiered single “Video Game,” which also had a music video choreographed by and starring TikTok star Jalaiah Harmon:

Previous singles have included “America,” an enthralling 12-minute composition that the acclaimed indie/folk singer/songwriter/producer shared in early July:

Per a news release, The Ascension has a focused approach:

The Ascension is an indictment of a world crumbling around us—and a roadmap out of here. Sufjan says the foundations of the album are “a call for personal transformation and a refusal to play along with the systems around us.”

“My objective for this album was simple: Interrogate the world around you. Question anything that doesn’t hold water. Exterminate all bullshit. Be part of the solution or get out of the way. Keep it real. Keep it true. Keep it simple. Keep it moving.”

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