Five years after it came out, the Sufjan Stevens album, “Carrie & Lowell,” is still the most beautifully melancholy album I’ve ever heard. I’m biased since it deals with Stevens coming to terms with his feelings about his mother after her death. I don’t know the full story, but she had some sort of mental issues and she left him at some point in childhood. His story isn’t just like mine by any means, but there are strong echoes of similar feelings in his experience, so I can really identify with it. I hadn’t listened to the album lately, but I just played it all the way through and it had the same effect on me that it always does. It’s beautiful and it’s sweet, but it’s also heartbreaking — and it leaves me with images and powerful feelings about my own late mother. If you have bittersweet feelings about a dysfunctional parent you’ve lost, you might identify with it, too.
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