“‘Sugar’ is ultimately about the desire for goodness and purity (and true sustenance). On the surface the song is just a string of clichés, but the message is imperative: now is the time to gather what is good and pure and valuable and make it your own, and share it with others. Feed your soul and speak new life into those around you. Give each other love, respect and sacrifice. Relinquish all the old habits, all the old ways of thinking and doing, all former practices—‘business as usual’—and bring new life to the world. This is our calling.”
The first few minutes of this eight-minute track are instrumental, a rattling and juddering of percussion overlays some blissfully beautiful synths, everything slowly sifting into glorious shape and setting course for the stars. Sufjan’s voice sweeps in generously, beseeching “come on baby give me some sugar” – but, as explained above, this is not a come-on but a desire for goodness and happiness – although in the celestial majesty of “Sugar” you would never make that mistake anyway.
The video for “Sugar” was choreographed by acclaimed choreographer, MacArthur Fellow and Doris Duke Artist Award recipient Kyle Abraham and directed by Ezra Hurwitz. Watch below.
Sufjan Stevens’ new album The Ascension comes out on September 25 through Asthmatic Kitty (pre-order).