Sufjan Stevens snagged himself an Oscar nomination for "Mystery of Love,” one of his contributions to the Call Me By Your Name soundtrack. While his song for the tender coming-of-age film is worthy, and we're crossing our fingers (Coco's Robert Lopez is a genius and all, but he's already an EGOT; let's spread the award love), if we lived in a saner world, Sufjan could well have been competing against himself this year.
Sufjan Stevens wrote the song "Tonya Harding" for the producers of the Margot Robbie-starring biopic I, Tonya, only to have the ignorant clods cruelly reject his work. What were they thinking? As always with Sufjan (give or take an outré dance album or symphonic ode to the BQE here and there), "Tonya Harding" is delicate and insightful and swooningly beautiful, and would only have improved the final cinematic project.
Ever thoughtful, Stevens had provided "Tonya Harding" in two keys. While he has fun with the embattered figure skater's public image ("Nancy Kerrigan’s charm/Well she took quite a beating/So you’re not above cheating/Can you blame her for crying?"), he also finds sympathy for a figure that has come to stand-in for a great deal of unresolved and distinctly American hang-ups about class hierarchies and sexism, offering her support as best as he can ("May God bless you with incense/You’re my shining American star").
You can hopefully see Stevens perform at the Oscars in March, and you can definitely watch the video for "Tonya Harding" below.
Today’s song, featured on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is "Your Car" by Red Ribbon, from the 2018 album Dark Party on Union Zero.
Today’s song, featured on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is "Seventeen" by Sharon Van Etten, from the 2019 album Remind Me Tomorrow on Jagjaguwar.
Today’s song, featured on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is "Basquiat" by Ibibio Sound Machine, a digital bonus track from the 2019 album Doko Mien on M...