YMMV / Sufjan Stevens

  • Ambiguously Bi: While Sufjan has never spoken publicly about his sexuality, there is plenty of evidence in his music to suggest that he may be bisexual. Some songs ("Casimir Pulaski Day," "The Dress Looks Nice on You") seem to be addressed to female love interests, some ("Drawn to the Blood," "The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades"—though the romantic nature of the latter is disputed) are pretty clearly about men, and some ("Impossible Soul") could go either—or both—ways. In general, listeners tend to read into these lyrics whatever they want to see in them. See also the Ho Yay entry below.
  • Broken Base: "Which Sufjan album is his best", with absolutely every single one of his main releases in between Michigan and Carrie & Lowell inspiring a near equal number of fervent arguments from fans. With critics the competition is mainly in-between Illinois and C&L, the latter being his most critically acclaimed album to date (albeit by one measly point).
  • Fridge Horror: Listeners who aren't familiar with Illinois history and/or don't pay close enough attention to the lyrics may have this kind of reaction when they realize that "John Wayne Gacy, Jr." is a song about a serial killer.
  • Ho Yay: Many songs could be interpreted this way. Some, however, are right out: "The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades" is frequently cited as an example, but Sufjan has been pretty upfront about the real meaning and it has nothing to do with romance.
    • "Futile Devices" can be read this way as well.
    • If the lyrics are anything to go by, "Drawn to the Blood" is a dark and sad example of this.
    • "Jason" could probably make the list as well. The lyrics sound like they're from the perspective of a scorned ex, and Jason is far more likely to be a boy's name than a girl's. Many people though will try to frame it in the context of a narrative centering on the eponymous hero from Greek mythology. It's difficult to call either way.
  • Painful Rhyme: "The Avalanche" has Sufjan rhyming "Virginia" with "in ya".
  • Song Association: "Chicago" was used in Little Miss Sunshine and was included on the soundtrack.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Some were not receptive towards the drastic sound change exhibited on The Age of Adz.