It’s been a while since Sufjan Stevens contributed to his ambitious 50 States music project. ‘Ambitious’ is perhaps the wrong word. Maybe ‘impossible’ or ‘unlikely’ are more fitting. Seeing as how he’s got just 2 under his belt, an album for each of the remaining 48 states looks doubtful even if he puts out 1 per year. The outlook is even more bleak considering there was a span of 2 years between Michigan and Illinoise.
The rumors floating around the internets are that his next subject will be Oregon or California. Though given that only a select few states will get the star treatment, I thought I’d make a plea for my home state, Texas.
So here are 5 reasons why I think Sufjan should consider centering his next opus on the Lone Star State:
1. Austin – You can’t meet anyone who has ever been to this town that doesn’t love it. Sounds arrogant but it’s true. Even people I talk to who’ve never been will say that they know someone that loves Austin. The place is oozing with eclectic character and personality. It’s got a rich mixture of culture, intelligence and kookiness but has been able to retain an intimate, small town aura.
2. Because no one needs songs about Delaware – If Sufjan can’t do all the states, then he’s going to have to pick and choose. And honestly, could he even come up with an entire album’s worth of content for some of the states out there? I mean, an EP maybe.
3. Rich source material - I’m sorry, but Texas has a one-up on most of the competition in this category. The sheer size alone allows for a vast pool of people, stories and environments. You have urban cities, sprawling plains and the hilly countryside. The population runs the gamut of urban yuppies to mellow hippies to good ole’ country folk.
4. Because Texas needs Sufjan – There is a stigma about Texas that needs to be shaken. The Dallas theme song should no longer constitute any sort of representation of the state, nor should country music be the dominant soundtrack of Texas. Sufjan has the talent and sensitivity to help expel the hokey and clichéd perception of the state. There are plenty of nuanced aspects within the state-lines that shouldn’t be steamrolled by fiddles and banjos.
5. It’d be good for record sales – Texas has a strange notoriety throughout the world. You could say you’re from Texas anywhere else in the world and people’s interests will definitely be piqued. I still get raised eyebrows when I mention where I’m from. There’s a curiosity and recognition that isn’t reserved for any other state (like say, Idaho). I believe that an album based on Texas would generate a lot more interest (and sales) than a major chunk of the rest of the country.
So there ya go, Sufjan. I hope that helps in the decision making process!