Sufjan Stevens has shared his 12-and-a-half-minute single "America", which is the closing track from his forthcoming eighth album The Ascension.
"America" is the first taster of Stevens' eighth LP, and is, in his own words, "a protest song against the sickness of American culture in particular."
Stevens wrote "America" six years ago while working on 2015's Carrie & Lowell album. Stevens says, "I was dumbfounded by the song when I first wrote it, because it felt vaguely mean-spirited and miles away from everything else on Carrie & Lowell. So I shelved it."
He adds, "But when I dug up the demo a few years later I was shocked by its prescience. I could no longer dismiss it as angry and glib. The song was clearly articulating something prophetic and true, even if I hadn’t been able to identify it at the time. That’s when I saw a clear path toward what I had to do next."
The Ascension will be Stevens' first album since releasing Aporia in March - a collaborative LP with his stepfather Lowell Brams. It will be Stevens' first solo album since 2015's Carrie & Lowell.
Discussing his album, the singer/songwriter explains, "My objective for this album was simple: Interrogate the world around you. Question anything that doesn’t hold water. Exterminate all bullshit. Be part of the solution or get out of the way. Keep it real. Keep it true. Keep it simple. Keep it moving."
The new track is Stevens' first single since featuring on Angelo De Augustine's "Santa Barbara" in April.