From The Greatest Gift Mixtape – Outtakes, Remixes, & Demos from Carrie & Lowell, out now on Asthmatic Kitty.
The mention of Asa Lovejoy (founder of the city of Portland) in this song is further evidence to prove the theory that Carrie & Lowell was indeed the “Oregon” installment in Sufjan’s “50 States” project, despite the fact that in 2009 Stevens dismissed the project as “such a joke” and admitted it was a “promotional gimmick.”
Almost every song contains at least one specific reference to Oregon: the Death with Dignity Act of 1994, the Oregon breeze, Spencer’s Butte, Eugene, Emerald Park, the Tillamook burn, Sea Lion Caves, Cottage Grove, The Dalles, the Blue Bucket Mine.
The outtakes from this newly released collection keep it going: Wallowa Lake, Asa Lovejoy, the hidden river, Hathaway Jones, the City of Roses, Pig-n-Ford races, Nike, Beavers, Ducks, and Trailblazers.
I mean, come on. This is as clear and obvious as anything on Illinois or Michigan, right?
There was also a mention of Rogue River in “Mystery of Love,” one of the songs Sufjan contributed to the soundtrack of the film, Call Me By Your Name.
And just yesterday, he released the “Tonya Harding” single, about the unlikely skating star who many considered to be “Just some Portland white trash.”
You could easily compile the most Oregony of these songs into an “Oregon” playlist to get the full effect.
And I’m not the only one who thinks this, either. Tuneage wrote a post about it and found a 2005 interview where Stevens discussed Oregon as a likely contender as a follow up to Illinois. Local publications mapped out every Oregon reference on Carrie & Lowell.
Carrie & Lowell is unquestionably the third installment of Sufjan’s Fifty States Project. Three down, only 47 to go! Snap to it, Soofy!