America

by Sufjan Stevens

Duration:
12:29
Released:
Jul 03, 2020
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Lyrics for America by Sufjan Stevens:

Is it love you're after?
A sign of the flood or one more disaster?
Don't do to me what you did to America
Don't do to me what you did to America

I have loved you, I have grieved
I am ashamed to admit I no longer believe
I have loved you, I received
I have traded my life for a picture of the scenery

Don't do to me what you did to America
Don't do to me what you did to America

I give it all up in laughter
The sign of the cross awaiting disaster
A dove flew to me like a vision of paranoia
Dove flew to me like a vision of paranoia

I have loved you (I have loved you)
Like a dream (like a dream)
I have kissed your lips like a Judas in heat
I have worshiped (I have worshiped)
I believed (I believed)
I have broke your bread for a splendor of machinery

Don't look at me like I'm acting hysterical
Don't look at me like I'm acting hysterical

I have worshiped (I have worshiped)
I have cried (I have cried)
I have put my hands in the wounds on your side
I have tasted of your blood
I have choked on the waters
I abated the flood

I am broken (I am broken)
I am beat (I am beat)
But I will find my way like a Judas in heat
I am fortune (I am fortune)
I am free (I am free)
I'm like a fever of light in the land of opportunity

Don't do to me what you did to America
(Don't do to me what you do to yourself)
Don't do to me what you did to America
(Don't do to me what you do to yourself)
Don't do to me what you did to America
(Don't do to me what you do to yourself)
Don't do to me what you did to America
(Don't do to me what you do to yourself)

Instrumental

Don't do to me what you did to America
Don't do to me what you did to America
Don't do to me what you did to America
Don't do to me what you did to America

Don't do to me what you did to America
Don't do to me what you did to America
Don't do to me what you did to America
Don't do to me what you did to America

Lyrics powered by Genius.com.

Song Facts

“America” is the last track and first single from Sufjan Steven’s eighth studio album, The Ascension. The track and album were announced on June 30th, with the digital edition of the track being released on July 3rd, 2020—only one day before July 4th, which is Independence Day in the United States. On July 31, 2020, “America” was released as a limited edition 12" 45rpm vinyl record.

“America” is his first release since his joint album with Lowell Brams in March, and his first solo release since 2019’s Love Yourself / With My Whole Heart EP.

According to Asthmatic Kitty’s press release, “America” was first written in 2014, along with its B-side “My Rajneesh”, during the making of Stevens’s previous solo album, Carrie & Lowell, but shelved and put aside until a few years later. America formed the foundations of what would become the rest of The Ascension.

The timing of its release, at a time when the United States is experiencing both the COVID-19 pandemic and intense Black Lives Matter protests in every state, lends some context to the song’s themes, even if it was not written with the moment in mind. Stevens envisions “America” as “a protest song against the sickness of American culture in particular.” Stevens has also voiced support for the Black Lives Matter movement on his Tumblr.

Although much of Stevens’s older music, especially the infamous Fifty States Project, fondly entwine themselves in American culture and history, “America” is hardly the first Sufjan Stevens song to criticize aspects of American culture. On “Christmas Unicorn”, Stevens sings:

Oh I’m hysterically American
I’ve a credit card on my wrist

“The Hidden River of my Life” also evokes similar images of American consumerism, referring to being a “Safeway shopper,” “Subaru driver,” and “Nike racer.” Even “Exploding Whale” could be said to have a similar tone to “America,” using a local government’s ineptitude at removing a sperm whale from the beach as a metaphor to speak about a greater cultural failure.

Facts powered by Genius.com.

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