Fourth of July

Album: Carrie & Lowell (2015)
  • The songs on Carrie and Lowell were inspired by the 2012 death of Sufjan Stevens' mother, Carrie, and memories of the limited time they spent together (she left home when her son was very young). Stevens recounts here in harrowing detail a conversation with Carrie, as she lies dying of stomach cancer in hospital.
  • Stevens recalled the intimate and heartbreaking time he spent by his mother's death bed to Pitchfork. "We flew to see her in the ICU before she died," the Brooklyn musician said. "She was in a lot of pain, and on a lot of drugs, but she was aware. It was so terrifying to encounter death and have to reconcile that, and express love, for someone so unfamiliar."

    "Her death was so devastating to me because of the vacancy within me," Stevens continued. "I was trying to gather as much as I could of her, in my mind, my memory, my recollections, but I have nothing. It felt unsolvable. There is definitely a deep regret and grief and anger. I went through all the stages of bereavement. But I say make amends while you can: Take every opportunity to reconcile with those you love or those who've hurt you. It was in our best interest for our mother to abandon us. God bless her for doing that and knowing what she wasn't capable of."
  • Charlotte Church is a big fan of this song, calling it "one of the most moving things I've ever heard in my life."

    "It's absolutely beautiful," she told NME. "I'm into songs about death and I think it's a really important thing. Often we don't talk about it as a society and we should talk about it more."

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