Sufjan Stevens – The Lord God Bird
Sufjan Stevens does something strange to me. It is in his voice, a voice that can not only stop me in my tracks and fill me with awe but also does something indescribable. Literally that – I cannot fully explain what it is. It is a feeling, it strips me bare and comforts me at the same time. There are certain moments in his songs where this is accentuated like in John Wayne Gacy Jr where he sings ‘Oh my God’ in a way that sums up all the horror of that man and what he did. That point in that song has brought me to tears countless times.
And this special quality in Sufjan’s voice I find throughout this glorious song he wrote and recorded especially for NPR All Things Considered in 2005. Not yet on any album I consider it to be his finest. The Lord God Bird is a colloquial name for the Ivory Billed Woodpecker which was believed to be extinct for many years. More recently rare sightings have brought this notion into doubt. With Majesty, Snowbird being a highlight of his recent concerts and the beautiful wings he wore as costume I can’t help but wonder if there’s an album of songs about birds in there somewhere.
One thing for sure is that this track has everything I love about the man’s songs and voice in it. It is stunning!