Sufjan Stevens – “Love Yourself” & “With My Whole Heart”

We’re a couple of days away from the beginning of June, which is Pride Month. And to mark the occasion this year, we’ve just gotten two new songs from Sufjan Stevens. Stevens hasn’t released a proper solo album since Carrie & Lowell four years ago. But these days, he throws new tracks up online whenever the mood strikes him. Late last year, he dropped the Christmas song “Lonely Man Of Winter.” Today, he’s shared two new songs that, per Stevens’ Bandcamp page, are “on the topic of love.”

The first of the new songs is “Love Yourself,” a delicate synthpop tune based on a four-track demo that Stevens first recorded in 1996. (Stevens is 43 now, so he would’ve been 20 or 21 when he recorded that.) In addition to the new version of the song, Stevens has also shared the original acoustic demo, as well as a brief instrumental reprise of it.

As for the other song, “With My Whole Heart.” is entirely new. Stevens says that he challenged himself to “write an upbeat and sincere love song without conflict, anxiety, or self-deprecation.” Like “Love Yourself,” it’s basically a synthpop song. But with its beatific layers of voice, it also owes something to churchy devotional music. Check out both songs below, as well as the original “Love Yourself” demo and the reprise.

You can buy the new tracks at Bandcamp, and a portion of the proceeds will go to the Ali Forney Center in Harlem and the Ruth Ellis Center in Detroit, two nonprofits that help LGBTQ homeless kids. Stevens has also designed a gay pride shirt that’s available at something called Sufjamz, which is apparently Stevens’ new merch platform.