Album closer, “America,” is a long one: 12-and-a-half minutes, to be precise. But the song — just like the album — Stevens says is an indictment of a world that’s falling apart around us and against the slickness that encompasses us.
“I was dumbfounded by the song when I first wrote it,” Stevens said in a statement. “Because it felt vaguely mean-spirited and miles away from everything else on Carrie & Lowell. So I shelved it. 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 is out on Sept. 25 via Asthmatic Kitty. Listen to “America” below.