Listen to Sufjan Stevens’ Haunting “Wallowa Lake Monster” From Impending “Carrie & Lowell” Mixtape

Oct 16th, 2017 in Music

Sufjan Stevens will release a Carrie & Lowell “mixtape” entitled The Greatest Gift, on 11/24 via Asthmatic Kitty. The mixtape will include unreleased outtakes, remixes, and demos from the album, which is said to be an “investigation of love, life, death, God, and the beautiful state of Oregon.” A portion of the proceeds from The Greatest Gift will be donated to Cancer Community Support, which it is said “is dedicated to ensuring that all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action, and sustained by community.”

Stevens has given us a glimpse of The Greatest Gift via Wallowa Lake Monster, one of four new songs (“outtakes”) on the new mixtape (see tracklist below). The new song was recorded during the Carrie & Lowell sessions, but for some reason was left off the album. As much as any other song on Carrie & Lowell, the new song is about his and his family’s relationship with his troubled mother, Carrie. Wallowa Lake is an Oregon lake in the northeast corner of Oregon that carries the legend of a water-bound monster. During the song Stevens alludes to the monster and manages to weave in haunting allusions to Carrie abandoning her children on a rainy day, being drunk and eventually passing from this earth (see lyrics at bottom). And just like much of Carrie & Lowell, the song wallows in stirring and sophisticated melodies, but this time particularly cloaked in a rapturous ghost-choir treatment. Few in music are doing what Stevens seems so to do so effectively, whether on his own or with others (e.g. Planetarium). Bravo!

You can pre-order The Greatest Gift HERE.

The Greatest Gift tracklist:

01. Wallowa Lake Monster
02. Drawn to the Blood — Sufjan Stevens Remix
03. Death with Dignity — Helado Negro Remix
04. John My Beloved — iPhone Demo
05. Drawn to the Blood — Fingerpicking Remix
06. The Greatest Gift
07. Exploding Whale — Doveman Remix
08. All of Me Wants All of You — Helado Negro Remix
09. Fourth of July — 900X Remix
10. The Hidden River of My Life
11. City of Roses
12. Carrie & Lowell — iPhone Demo

Wallowa Lake Monster:

“As if you know the story of Wallowa Lake
Leviathan first hid in the deep where her children sleep
She kept them hidden from the plague
But have you heard the story of my mother’s fate?
She left us in Detroit in the rain with a pillow case
Fortune for the paper weight

We followed her to Joseph, near the Indian raid
She wept among the weeds, hide and seek, for the fallen chief
Spathiphyllum on his grave
And like the cedar wax wing, she was drunk all day
We put her in the sheet, little wreath, candles on the crate
As the monster showed its face

As she waits for her children in the shade
Demogorgon or demigod the ghost parade
No oblation will bring her back to our place

She stayed within the deep end of Wallowa Lake
The undertow refrained with the flame of a feathered snake
Charybdis in its shallow grave
She gave us one last feature, the fullness of her face
In the shade of Hin-mah-too-yah… (Red Napoleon)
As the demon took her place

As we wait for the waters to reside
Her remarkable stoicism and her pride
When the dragon submerged we knew she had died”

1 Comment


Comments have been closed for this post.