Albums to watch

Carrie & Lowell

Sufjan Stevens

Carrie & Lowell

Recorded in his home studio in Brooklyn, Sufjan returns to his indie folk roots for his seventh "official" studio album, named after his mother (who died in 2012) and his step-father

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  1. 10.0 |   State

    In Carrie & Lowell, Sufjan is singing about emotions that are dug out of him and matters that most of us will recognise. The pain and perplexity of mourning; the validation that parental love alone equips us with as kids, that can’t be found anywhere else; the search for identity
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  2. 10.0 |   Pretty Much Amazing

    This is a challenging record of raw and visceral emotions, and its consistency of tempo and even-keeled volume makes Stevens’ pain all the more heartbreaking and unsettling
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  3. 10.0 |   The Guardian

    A delight in every way, surely one of the albums of the year
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  4. 10.0 |   Consequence Of Sound

    Stevens has unearthed a wonder altogether more tremendous than the one at the top of those towers he used to stack
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  5. 10.0 |   Evening Standard

    This whispered, exquisite collection is so fragile that you daren’t open a window in case it blows away forever
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  6. 10.0 |   The Arts Desk

    A sparse, beautiful and gut-wrenching album
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  7. 10.0 |   Loud And Quiet

    A musical and emotionally cathartic triumph
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  8. 10.0 |   A.V. Club

    Carrie & Lowell finds Sufjan Stevens sitting down for a long conversation with Death, and he’s brought just minimal accompaniment: gentle acoustic guitar, occasional piano, virtually no drums
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  9. 10.0 |   Tiny Mix Tapes

    See review
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  10. 9.5 |   Paste Magazine

    A demonstration of why Stevens sings songs, of why we listen to songs: to feel less alone, to make sense of the things that are hardest to make sense of
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  11. 9.5 |   The 405

    As long as Stevens continues to pursue the unanswerable and chase down myths and ghosts, he'll continue to make incredible music. Carrie & Lowell is just the latest in a long line of unimpeachable achievements
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  12. 9.3 |   Pitchfork

    In the past he'd get showy with multi-part suites or huge arrangements; the writing here is just as ambitious, but never showy
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  13. 9.0 |   Uncut

    A gauzy soundscape of unerring beauty. Print edition only

  14. 9.0 |   No Ripcord

    The sincerity in Stevens’s voice is what elevates Carrie & Lowell from sermonizing drivel
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  15. 9.0 |   Sputnik Music (staff)

    The only thing separating this record and perfection is the time it will take you to fully digest its depth and overall profundity
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  16. 9.0 |   The Quietus

    The feeling that abides is one of compassionate admiration for Stevens, not only for making this beautiful album of unfaltering rawness (and one which may even provide a crutch, a brutal one, for others), but for all of his work that has preceded it
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  17. 9.0 |   Beardfood

    Sufjan just might be the best songwriter around
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  18. 9.0 |   NME

    One of Sufjan’s most fat-free and consistently stunning records, but also his darkest
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  19. 9.0 |   Slant Magazine

    He's never produced an album this nakedly autobiographical, so stripped of complex conceptual trappings
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  20. 9.0 |   musicOMH

    He has bravely laid his songwriting gifts bare in their purest form
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  21. 9.0 |   Clash

    It may well be our first insight into the real Sufjan. It's heavy, but so very beautiful
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  22. 9.0 |   Drowned In Sound

    A collection of songs as captivating, poignant and finally, ultimately, redemptive as any that Stevens has produced
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  23. 9.0 |   The Music

    His most accessible work for years, a mausoleum-esque beauty
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  24. 8.5 |   The Line Of Best Fit

    Despite its light-handed approach, Carrie & Lowell strikes with a sort of urgency unparalleled across the composer's 15-year career
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  25. 8.5 |   Under The Radar

    Musically, Carrie & Lowell has stripped away Age of Adz's irritated electronic squawks and bellows and the joyous instrumentation of Illinois to bare the truth
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  26. 8.2 |   Earbuddy

    You will not hear a song on Carrie & Lowell without holding your breath the moment Sufjan speaks
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  27. 8.0 |   FasterLouder

    A beautiful and sincere meditation on loss, grief and human connection
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  28. 8.0 |   DIY

    By going through it all, by exposing all the pain, Sufjan’s created something beautiful and vital
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  29. 8.0 |   Exclaim

    It's Stevens' own life and relationships that he mines here with his trademark deftness and nuance
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  30. 8.0 |   The Independent

    The overall gentle, delicate texture of the album is like a gossamer shroud of solace cast over a period of deep confliction
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  31. 8.0 |   The FT

    The artist’s music makes a virtue of simplicity with its folksily plucked instruments and sighing vocals
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  32. 8.0 |   Spin

    Carrie & Lowell is such a deeply, deeply personal statement from Stevens that its smallness sometimes shows. Though it’s easily his best and most powerful album since 2005’s Illinois
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  33. 8.0 |   The Skinny

    There's a real beauty to Carrie & Lowell that shines through the darkness
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  34. 8.0 |   Rolling Stone

    Stevens strips his sound far enough to reveal his deepest anguish
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  35. 8.0 |   All Music

    Stevens has offered us some fine albums in the past, but he's never made anything quite like Carrie & Lowell
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  36. 8.0 |   NOW

    While death and pain are major players in this collection of songs, the record is more about love than tragedy - although it can still make you bawl your eyes out if you listen to the words closely enough
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  37. 8.0 |   Time Out

    Despite soul-baring moments, it almost feels like we learn more about Carrie than we do her son; he remains a beautiful enigma
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  38. 8.0 |   The Observer

    This is an album about forgiveness, about love in the face of past incalculable hurts
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  39. 8.0 |   The Irish Times

    It’s an album that you’ll need time to process, but it’s an achingly beautiful tribute
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  40. 8.0 |   Q

    He mines saddest memories and strikes gold, unquestionably his finest album to date. Print edition only

  41. 8.0 |   Mojo

    A tender, affecting album that through its jumble of religious allusions,nature imagery and sense of loss has a simple message
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  42. 6.0 |   PopMatters

    The trouble isn’t that Stevens hasn’t mastered this brand of wispy folk-pop—it’s that he has, on album after album, leaving little that’s new to explore
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Sufjan Stevens: Carrie & Lowell

  • Download full album for just £7.49
  • 1. Death with Dignity £0.99
  • 2. Should Have Known Better £0.99
  • 3. All of Me Wants All of You £0.99
  • 4. Drawn to the Blood £0.99
  • 5. Eugene £0.99
  • 6. Fourth of July £0.99
  • 7. The Only Thing £0.99
  • 8. Carrie & Lowell £0.99
  • 9. John My Beloved £0.99
  • 10. No Shade in the Shadow of The Cross £0.99
  • 11. Blue Bucket of Gold £0.99
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