A few years back, Sufjan Stevens declared he was going to make fifty albums, all based on the fifty States of the USA.
He promptly released 2003's Greetings From Michigan: The Great Lake State and 2005's legendary Illinois, and with an entire forty-eight records and States left, the man fell silent, instead working on and releasing this years The BQE, an album based on and inspired by the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway that runs through New York.
Stevens has now stated that his idea for fifty State-based records seems like 'such a joke' and in a recent interview with Paste Magazine, he explains his current thoughts on the giant saga. He admits:
"The whole premise was such a joke. Maybe I took it too seriously. I started to feel like I was becoming a cliché of myself."
Speaking about his new, giant BQE project and it's New-York inspiration, the musician stated:
"Everyone’s always complaining about it, but it’s interesting that it runs through the entire borough, sort of the one thing that is constant. I just liked that it seemed to be a running theme physically and conceptually, and it has beautiful views of Brooklyn and of Manhattan".
The album accompanies a film that's bundled alongside the album and contains footage of the actual Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.
Finally signing off with the interview, Stevens explained how the years-in-the-making effort left him feeling after completion:
"In all honesty, that piece is what really sabotaged my creative momentum. It wasn't 'Illinois' so much. I suffered sort of an existential creative crisis after that piece. I no longer knew what a song was and how to write an album. It overextended me in a way that I couldn’t find my way back to the song.”
What do we all think then? Would it of been cliché to continue a seemingly unbearable task of fifty complete albums for all of the United States? We would've loved to have heard Texas and Nevada, that's for sure.
Let us know what you think on the whole thing by commenting below.