Over the course of his 17-year career, Sufjan Stevens has blessed listeners with seven studio albums, including one of last year’s best in Carrie & Lowell. There could be an eighth record that exists, though, and one lucky fan may have just found it … in a New York dumpster of all places.
“I used to work next door to Sufjan’s studio in Brooklyn,” an anonymous poster recounted on Reddit yesterday. “One day, while he was renovating the place, he threw a bunch of stuff into the building’s dumpster. I salvaged this…as far as I know, I don’t think it’s ever been released.”
What he discovered was a nondescript CD-ROM, complete with jeweled case and black-and-white artwork, titled Stalker: The Definitive Album by Sufjan Stevens. Text indicate that the material was originally supposed to come out in 1998 via Asthmatic Kitty. It would have marked his official debut album for the label, as A Sun Came didn’t arrive until two years later.
Taking a cue from its title, the album’s 14 songs seem to echo some pretty creepy stalker thoughts. Some of the titles include “I Know Where Your Kids Go To School”, “No More Mister Nice Guy”, and “Kommin’ Ta Getcha”.
The album’s legitimacy has not yet been confirmed, but a stealthy Redditor managed to dig up an interview in which, while discussing religion as influence, Stevens mentioned having written songs about stalkers:
“Well, faith is art: the art of taking a big risk, I suppose — the art of making a big mistake and suffering the consequences. But logistically I suppose my process of making art is driven less by abstractions of faith or politics and more by practical theory: composition and balance and color. On an aesthetic level, faith and art are a dangerous match. Today, they can quickly lead to devotional artifice or didactic crap. This would summarize the Christian publishing world or the Christian music industry. If you are an artist of faith (a Methodist or a Jew), then you have the responsibility to manage the principles of your faith wisely lest they be reduced to stereotype, which is patronizing to the church and to the world, and, perhaps, to God. Consider what John Zorn has done for Jewish music. It’s not so much that faith influences us as it lives in us. In every circumstance (giving a speech or tying my shoes), I am living and moving and being. This absolves me from ever making the embarrassing effort to gratify God (and the church) by imposing religious content on anything I do. I mean, I’ve written songs about stalkers. Is that any less religious than a song about an ordained pastor? No way.”
A representative from Asthmatic Kitty who chimed in on the Reddit thread couldn’t confirm its authenticity either, but he did tell the original poster “you have received a special gift. You’re hearing something only a few have ever heard.” He later added, “Like any great musician Sufjan writes a ton of music. 99% of it is unreleased for whatever reason. Sometimes you just have to trust the smurfjam.”
He also said that, if the original poster chose to share the album, Asthmatic Kitty wouldn’t send any “severe takedowns” or legal notices. “We don’t do that. Instead, I’m asking you, as someone who’s also had the special privilege of hearing unreleased music, to politely ask that you keep it to yourself.”
Check out more photos and the full tracklist for Stalker.
01. I Know Where Your Kids Go To School
02. U Kan Wrun But You Kan’t Kyde
03. I Got A Good View From Where I’m Standing
04. Gonna Rock You Like A Hail Storm
05. Save Yourself Before You Die
06. Don’t Tell Anyone
07. No More Mister Nice Guy
08. Baby Give Me A Feel
09. Uh Oh Yeah Huh Er Um Baby
10. I Know Everything About You
11. Kommin’ Ta Getcha
12. Keep All The Mace Inside
13. Let’s Fly To Another Planet
14. Loneliness Is A Warm Bum