Seven Swans - Sufjan Stevens
Metascore
87

Universal acclaim - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 23
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 23
  3. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. He shares [Elliott] Smith's gift for sketching in complex emotional states with telling details. [19 Mar 2004, p.66]
  2. 91
    Like Elliott Smith after ten years of Sunday school. [May 2004, p.108]
  3. "Seven Swans" is as a graceful tour de force of an album - beguiling, bewitching and beautiful.
  4. 90
    So sweet is the harmonic construction that awareness of the ecclesiastical niceties of such as The Transfiguration... is incidental to falling under the divine spell. [May 2004, p.105]
  5. A record of remarkable delicacy.
  6. Many of the songs continue to showcase Stevens' avid and passionate banjo-plucking, accompanied by similar harmonized vocals that resonate with beauty and commitment.
  7. A consistently moving, subtly beautiful experience.
  8. A coherent, moving album that cements its place in listeners conscience.
  9. It’s an arresting record that doesn’t pull strings or elide with gimmicks, nor does it preach or try to persuade. You needn’t believe in a higher order to realize that Seven Swans is an expression of something stirring, something beautiful.
  10. Seven Swans plays like a stripped-down, less thematic counterpart to its predecessor. It's also strong enough in its own right to keep fans arguing for months over which album is better.
  11. Sufjan Stevens is a musician who seems to just be reaching his creative peak and shows no signs of slowing down.
  12. Even if we're not taken by the subject matter, we're taken by how beautifully and personally Sufjan is taken by it.
  13. While Seven Swans is possibly a better record than Michigan, with such an overtly Christian sheen, it will be interesting to see if the liberal music press gives it as much praise as it deserves.
  14. 80
    Stevens' strumming often has an unworldly quality that transcends folk archetypes. [Apr 2004, p.92]
  15. Like faith, these songs require patience, as their almost mantra-like arcs take their time to fully form.
  16. Stevens has a beautiful voice and a rare melodic instinct but it is the passion with which he performs these songs that causes them to communicate so much, so well.
  17. Seven Swans easily does the job of securing Sufjan Stevens as one of those songwriters you must become familiar with.
  18. Like Nick Drake or, more recently, Damien Jurado, Stevens serves his songs best with near-whispers, delicately breathing them into existence. [31 Mar 2004]
  19. His beliefs take periodic diva turns, but Seven Swans is still far more preoccupied with the banjo than God: Stevens's tenderly picked chords fly higher than any golden harp, and his delicate, lapping vocals lovingly complement all that tinny stroking.
  20. Stevens' most personal and focused album.
  21. It is Stevens' creepier qualities that make him a cut above the average singer-songwriter.
  22. Stevens is... smart enough to offset the egghead subject matter with a batch of deceptively simple tunes. [May 2004, p.108]
User Score
9.1

Universal acclaim- based on 66 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 24
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 24
  3. Negative: 1 out of 24
  1. Oct 18, 2010
    10
    I'm having trouble putting it into words how beautiful this album is. The banjo has never sounded so soothing and Sufjan's voice is so entrancing. The music just keeps getting better too; the transfiguration might be the most gorgeous thing my ears have ever experienced. Full Review »
  2. maxdubya
    Jan 21, 2007
    10
    Unbelievebly good. Its rare not to find sufjan gracing my CD player, and Seven Swans is an album which is among his very finest
  3. lievenb
    Dec 17, 2006
    9
    beatiful album! amzing banjo and the three last songs are astonishing! What do you want more?