Originally released in 2004, Seven Swans is a stripped down, simple album noted for its intimacy, and its dealings with Christian spirituality themes. It brims with delicate, whispery moments that seem to be direct reflections of Sufjan Stevens' innermost thoughts: "I'd give my body to be back again / In the rest of the room / To be alone with you," sings the singer-songwriter in "To Be Alone With You." There are more direct inferences to religion on the album, for example, "Abraham," a song inspired directly by the biblical figure's actions at Mount Moriah, where he almost sacrifices his son Isaac per God's command. On "He Woke Me Up Again," Steven sings "But I Was asleep / He woke me up again to say: Halle, Halle, Hallelujah…" Is it a Christian album? Perhaps, but the album is also heavy on its soothing, calming quality, and the conviction and honesty that come across from the lyrics is something that can be appreciated regardless of what your take on religion is. Highlights include: "All The Trees of the Field Will Clap Their Hands," "The Dress Looks Nice on You," "Seven Swans," and "In the Devil's Territory."
- music label: Asthmatic Kitty Records 2004
reviewed by kanim 12/2016