Reddit user allegedly finds 1998 Sufjan Stevens album in dumpster
In a world oversaturated with musicians and artists who have easy access to streaming sites, it’s not very hard to come across garbage music. So, who would purposefully go digging for trash music? However, that’s exactly what a man in Brooklyn did earlier in June, and the results had indie folk lovers stunned
A Reddit user under the name lookitzpancakes, later identified as Dallas musician Mac Rebillet, allegedly discovered an unreleased 1998 Sufjan Stevens album in a dumpster behind Asthmatic Kitty Records in Brooklyn. And, although the label reached out to him asking politely for his discretion, Rebillet made the full album available on YouTube in true Internet user fashion.
While you can find multiple renditions of this story online, we’re going to delve into the actual musical components and values of this heavily distorted and lo-fi creeper-core album, fittingly named “Stalker.”
To truly get the essence of this album, you have to take in the garish and strikingly insane track titles that set the basis for this concept album.
01 “I Know Where Your Kids Go To School”
02 “U Kan Wrun But U Kan’t Hyde”
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”
And, yes, these are all verbatim from the track list on the physical CD.
Sliding in with harsh, melodic and jarring guitar riffs, “I Know Where Your Kids Go To School” kicks off the pace of this album. The incessant pounding drums emphasize the raw and gritty vibe a stalker might have, as voices fill their head.
Stevens’ unpolished and cracking voice comes in like a brooding predator telling the audience all the personal details he knows about his victim.
“I know how you wear your hair/ I know, baby, you don’t wear no underwear” is particularly prominent in personal detail.
Like a Hitchcock film, “I Got A Good View From Where I’m Standing’s” eerily twangy guitar licks accompany sinister vocals with ulterior motives. Although the words are difficult to make out, it often comes out as a message of Stevens’ stalker character rejoicing as night falls so that he can continue his dirty deeds.
“Night will come once again/ she’s bright, so long my friend,” Stevens sings.
There’s not much depth or story in these snippets of songs that can elicit an emotional response, but Stevens’ early style shines through, comparable to some of the more rough-around-the-edges tracks on his debut album, “A Sun Came” — tracks like “Rice Pudding” and “Demetrius” come to mind.
The closing track, “Loneliness is a Warm Bum,” rounds out the album with melodic guitar backed with simple drumbeats and could almost pass for a Brand New B-side instrumental. But, the brevity is a bit of a letdown, and there’s no real ending to the stalker story — if there’s really a story to end.
Comparing the tracks of this intentionally unreleased album and Stevens’ 2015 release “Carrie & Lowell” is like comparing The Konks with Beethoven — opposites in nature and in gentility. Where Stevens was back in 1998 (experimental, brash) can be put up against where he is now in 2016 (lofty, beautiful), and it shows that his work has definitely evolved. That’s not to say his embryotic genius isn’t tangible in this release.
For being a concept album that was literally garbage, this doesn’t quite shine as a beacon of Stevens’ creativity, but it is an interesting snapshot of where he was over 18 years ago.