Sufjan Stevens - Video Game

Song of the Day
Hosted by Cheryl Waters

Today's Song of the Day, as chosen by Cheryl Waters, host of The Midday Show on KEXP, is "Video Game" by Sufjan Stevens, from the 2020 album The Ascension on Asthmatic Kitty.


 
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photo by Evans Richardson
written by Janice Headley

As we reported back in August, acclaimed singer/songwriter Sufjan Stevens has returned with his eighth solo LP, The Ascension, his first since 2015's Carrie & Lowell. The song's video features Jalaiah Harmon, a 14-year-old dancer/choreographer who went viral on Tik-Tok with her "Renegade" dance. Stevens released the following statement addressing both the song and the clip, directed by Nicole Ginelli.

It’s unfortunate that we live in a society where the value of people is quantified by likes, followers, listeners and views. So many people are seeking attention for the wrong reasons. I think we should all be doing our best work without looking for accolades or seeking reward.

The main takeaway of “Video Game” for me is: your worth (invaluable) should never be based on other people’s approval (ephemeral). Just be yourself. Keep it real. Keep it moving. Do all things with absolute purity, love and joy. And always do your best.

Jalaiah epitomizes all of this and I’m truly inspired by her. So I thought, “What if we could get Jalaiah to star in a ‘dance video’ about not wanting to star in a ‘dance video?'” I’m so honored she agreed. She clearly owns it, and her work here is beautiful, poignant and true.

Her dance shows incredible energy, work-ethic and spirit. She is dancing for herself, not anyone else. Her choreography is sophisticated, nuanced, and fun. She is a star. She keeps it real. She keeps it moving. She keeps it true. What a blessing!

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