In the weeks prior to Oscar voting, the Academy provides a short list of the songs they still consider eligible for a nomination. There are some excellent songs on the list, but one worthy mini-masterpiece might get overlooked.
Mystery of Love by Sufjan Stevens is a beautiful, almost haunting piece with lyrics that are among the best of any song out this year, whether on a movie soundtrack or not. Read these gorgeous lyrics:
Oh, to see without my eyes
The first time that you kissed me
Boundless by the time I cried
I built your walls around me
White noise, what an awful sound
Fumbling by Rogue River
Feel my feet above the ground
Hand of God, deliver me
Like many of Sufjan Steven’s songs, the lyrics often demand you listen several times to understand them. By then, it has worked its way under your skin in a way that’s difficult to shake. In lyrics later in the song, he captures the weightiness and deep sadness that comes from longing.
How much sorrow can I take?
Blackbird on my shoulder
And what difference does it make
When this love is over?
Shall I sleep within your bed
River of unhappiness
Hold your hands upon my head
Till I breathe my last breath
These lyrics are more powerful words than those we find in most movie songs. They are the words of a true musical genius who writes about relationships and the human condition in ways that are so insightful and deep, they often rank with passages from great literature. If you aren’t convinced, listen to either of his masterworks, Illinois or Carrie and Lowell, then get back to me.
Mystery of Love deserves an Oscar nomination. It’s brilliant, piercing, and one of the best songs of the year.