Hear Sufjan Stevens Cover Arthur Russell’s “A Little Lost”

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For years, Red Hot Organization has been putting out incredibly stacked compilations with the proceeds going to AIDS research. Fittingly, their newest record is a tribute to musical mastermind Arthur Russell, who passed away from AIDS in 1992. The tribute compilation, titled Master Mix: Red Hot + Arthur Russell, is out October 21 via Yep Roc with covers by Robyn, Hot Chip, Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry, Scissor Sisters, Cults, Blood Orange, Phosphorescent, Jose Gonzalez, and more.

Perhaps the biggest name on the list, Sufjan Stevens, gets to cover perhaps the biggest song on the list, Russell’s 1994 track “A Little Lost.”

Stevens shared his thoughts on the song in the following statement:

I like “A Little Lost” because it’s all about kissing. I love kissing. If I could kiss all day, I would. I can’t stop thinking about kissing. I like kissing more than sex because there’s no end to it. You can kiss forever. You can kiss yourself into oblivion. You can kiss all over the body. You can kiss yourself to sleep. And when you wake up, you can’t stop thinking about kissing. Dammit, I can’t get anything done because I’m so busy thinking about kissing. Kissing is madness! But it’s absolute paradise, if you can find a good kisser.

Arthur’s music is all over the place, but most of it seems to be about embracing darkness (loneliness) and ambiguity (confusion) with the biggest bear hug in the world. Catharsis! He didn’t give a shit about fads or fashion even as he was influenced by popular music, club music, and all that shitty art music at the Kitchen. He kind of cobbled it all together to create his own diverse musical language, He was funny as shit (a wordsmith, a master of the innuendo), but also dead serious (and blunt) about the deepness of his feelings, unafraid to express affection in his songs, without pandering or cliche. Arthur was real as shit. You can’t fake realness.

At the beginning of this year, we talked about Dirty Projectors’ bassist Nat Baldwin and his cover of the same track. Stevens takes a different approach, ditching the somber cello in favor of sparse piano, warm choruses, and crashing electronic waves. It’s available for immediate download when you pre-order the compilation on iTunes. Stream it below (via Pitchfork):

Red Hot Arthur Russel Pic

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