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Sufjan Stevens Sings Across America

Sufjan Stevens Sings MichiganBy Mark Messing

At some point, every elementary school teacher will have their students memorize all 50 states.  I personally remember my teacher’s creative 50-state-memorization tactic.  One by one, each student went up to a United States map, pointed to the states they had been to and described what kind of place it was. 

I would guess that every student in the classroom vowed to travel more that day.  As we discussed the interesting places we had been, it was impossible not to think of the places we hadn’t.  This sentiment was especially strong for me, as I only had two states to point to: Michigan and Illinois.  "Some day, I am going to visit all 50 states!" I told myself.  At the time, I thought it was quite an ambitious goal.

But what if I took it a step further?  What if I said "One day, I’m going to create a song for every single state I’ve seen…NO! Not just a song, an entire album!" 

You would think that was a random goal.  In fact, I think that is a random goal.  But that doesn’t mean someone isn’t trying to do it.

In fact, Sufjan Stevens is trying to do just that.  In 2003 he started the process with the album "Michigan."  But don’t let the name fool you; he wasn’t singing about cars or cereal.  Not directly, at least.  Instead, Sufjan focused on the experiences and feelings he took from each state.

So many times we make goals for ourselves that we never accomplish.  A goal is meaningless without execution.  Sufjan understands that.

Since 2003, Sufjan has released one additional "state themed" album.  And in the distant future when he’s completed all 50, he can look back on the day when he could only point to two states: Michigan and Illinois.

What kind of music does a man named Sufjan make? Find out.

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  1. I also vowed to myself that after I graduated with my bachelors degree that I would travel more often.
    It is of course easier said than done…but if I believe, I know it will happen. :)

    Posted by: Jen R | June 29, 2007
  2. Any opinions on his music?

    Posted by: Mark Messing | June 29, 2007
  3. I’d love to have commented on his music, but I fell asleep. His gentle tones remind me of that great folk singer, Eddie Moffett.

    Posted by: Sufjan - the new sleeping pill | July 1, 2007

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018