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Seven Swans [Import]

Sufjan Stevens Audio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 15.70 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Seven Swans + Michigan + Illinoise
Price For All Three: CDN$ 46.23

Some of these items ship sooner than the others.

  • Michigan CDN$ 15.50
  • Illinoise CDN$ 15.03

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

Product Details

1. All The Trees Of The Fields Will Clap Their Hands
2. The Dress Looks Nice On You
3. In The Devil's Territory
4. To Be Alone With You
5. Abraham
6. Sister
7. Size Too Small
8. We Won't Need Legs To Stand
9. A Good man Is Hard To Find
10. He Woke Me Up Again
11. Seven Swans
12. The Transfiguration

Product Description

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Devotional Masterpiece March 22 2008
Format:Audio CD
The ability of this guy to gracefully articulate a personal spirituality is on the level of Van Morrison and Leonard Cohen. Banjo and acoustic guitar take prominence here but they often get overshadowed by organ, synths or electric guitar through the course of a song so that what starts out as simple, minimalist 1970s voice & strumming may end in a rousing symphony, with many stages in between. Yet both lyrics and music remain accessible throughout. Fragile at times but never precious, the sound resonates on mystical and magical wavelengths.

Although many of the songs have intricate and complex arrangements, two distinct styles seem to characterize the album. The acoustic guitar type includes That Dress Looks Nice On You, the yearning To Be Alone With You, the somber Abraham, Size Too Small and A Good Man Is Hard To Find. They at least all commence with guitar before evolving into multilayered soundscapes and are generally of a slower tempo, often containing brooding vocals. One hears faint echoes of Nick Drake or even James Taylor - the introspective singer-songwriter archetype.

The Banjo-driven numbers exhibit a more ecstatic type of devotional expression, tending to be on the mid to uptempo side with addictive melodious and percussive textures. The mood varies sharply, from the exultant praise of All The Trees Of The Field through the eerie track In The Devil's Territory with its ominous synth patterns to the hopeful We Won't Need Legs To Stand with its atmospheric synth-scapes. Plus you get the comforting and reassuring He Woke Me Up Again, the intense Seven Swans with its eschatological imagery and the pure ecstatic joy of The Transfiguration.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Acoustic precision April 13 2004
Format:Audio CD
Sufjan Stevens is a banjo virtuoso. He plays that instrument with the precision and crispness of an electronic sequencer. Stevens' hypnotically rhythmic banjo playing is the first thing that stands out on "Seven Swans." Though the use of such instrumentation may initially seem like novelty, a close listen reveals that the banjo arrangements are essential to the songs' success. It is impossible to imagine songs like "Dress Looks Nice on You" and "In the Devil's Territory" without Stevens' intricately fluid passages. It is the banjo--together with electric and acoustic guitars, female backing vocals, and minimal drum and electric bass work--that infuses these songs with a rare level of textural depth. Stevens' melodies and vocals are solid but undistinguished. Combine them with the harmonic acrobatics that underpin them, however, and the result is something glorious--akin to an acoustic Four Tet with the added benefit of earnest vocals and completed song ideas. Stevens' lyrics range from cryptic to explicitly religious. Whatever one thinks of them, their sincerity cannot be questioned. The sum total is the best album of 2004 so far.
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5.0 out of 5 stars natural born healers April 10 2004
Format:Audio CD
Back in the late 1920's and early 1930's, the Great Depression dumped millions of assembly line and factory workers into the streets and roads of America overnight. Caught off guard, thousands of jobless would line up by day for the soup kitchens. At night they would collect under bridges, in alleys, and along countryside camp grounds warming themselves by drum barrel fires. Their clothing becoming tattered and worn, gloves possibly fingerless. Penniless and the possibility of work remote, chance and risk replaced logic and good sense as escape was welcome in any form. Bottles of homebrew were passed around and shared equally. Using available sources, some were made from unknown and illegal distillations, all were potent, some of them lethal. With nowhere to go these homeless were often marked for life, blind, maimed, and crippled by such brews and concoctions. This bleak world of despair was documented historically in black and white but existed mostly in varying shades of gray - depressing, demeaning, and despondent. Any signs of recovery lived on a far and distant horizon, unseen, unheard.
Often an influx of color and surprise would arrive in the form of troubadours wandering into these encampments accompanied only by a banjo, a guitar, and a possible canine companion. In his own way each had formed his own peculiar combination of whimsy and song based in large on stories long ago adapted from the good book. Since most of the downtrodden were illiterate and starved by situation for spiritual comforts, they welcomed these wayward intrusions.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Michigan's brother March 23 2004
Format:Audio CD
Since Seven Swans is a compilation of songs that didn't make it onto the Michigan album, it seems appropriate to compare this to the previous album.
First of all, it is much more sparse. A lack of drums and instrumentation leaves the album with a much more raw and simplistic sound, invoking emotion and genuineness and emphasizing the soft, warm voice of Stevens singing some of saddest and truest words written.
Second of all, it is much more self-congruous than "Michigan" was. Although Michigan was a beautiful and amazing album, most of the songs could be split into one of two categories, melodic and acoustic. With Seven Swans, the overall sound is much more consistent; it does not, however, make the album monotonous, nor do any of the songs seem to blend into each other. Each piece is a separate, distinct work of art that stands independently from the rest.
Thirdly, the album is more spiritual. The Michigan album hinted of religion in part, but Seven Swans has much more Christian lyrics, devoting a song to the story of Abraham, a song to the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus on the mountain, and talks about the return of Jesus Christ on a few occasions. But it is far from being "Christian rock," because, for one, it is quality and isn't trying to imitate radio-pop. And the spiritual lyrics are far from being obnoxious.
Fourthly, it easily matches the creative structure and maturation that Michigan purveyed, and is also an album that continually grows on you as Michigan does.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking
I too had high expectations of this anticipated follow-up to "Greetings From Michigan." Seven Swans is softer. It also deals more heavily with Biblical references (ex. Read more
Published on June 21 2004 by WGS
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great album from Sufjan!
Wow - I was really happy upon listening to this album - I of course had high expectations after "Michigan" - and though I would not say this album surpasses that one, it... Read more
Published on June 6 2004 by aloverofgreysilentdays
5.0 out of 5 stars Kickass
At one of our power meetings at Free Williamsburg at the beginning of this year we were throwing around names of people who might be good people to interview or review. Read more
Published on May 10 2004 by alexander laurence
5.0 out of 5 stars definitely surprising
after buying and liking (not loving) Greetings... I still decided to buy Seven Swans. I am not unhappy with my purchase. In fact, I am very happy. Read more
Published on April 27 2004 by nonpretentious
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime. Essential.
The simple, spare structure of these beautiful, even haunting songs belies an emotional complexity and impact that grows more evident with each listen. Read more
Published on April 24 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful at times. Annoying at others.
Sufjan has an incredible talent for writing beautiful lyrical and musical melodies, and he does so on this most recent album. Like "Greetings... Read more
Published on April 2 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Sweet, sweet banjo.
This is a beautiful record. Not as immediately lovable as 'Greetings...' but excellent in its own right. Great banjo work. I love the voices of the Smith girls. Great lyrics. Read more
Published on March 23 2004 by Heath Farbod
4.0 out of 5 stars Elegant, pastoral and spiritual
Like many people who have lived since 1972, when I think banjo, I immediately think white trash mute kids, anal rape, Ned Beatty and equally disturbing things associated with the... Read more
Published on March 21 2004 by Alex Junaid
5.0 out of 5 stars great great great great
I have a hard time listening to any music, but, I love Greetings From Lake Michigan~ and this is even better :)) This man is amazing to me. Read more
Published on March 17 2004
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