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Listen: Sufjan Stevens covers Arthur Russell’s “A Little Lost”

on July 29, 2014, 10:50am

As previously reported, the AIDS charity Red Hot Organization is paying tribute to singer-songwriter Arthur Russell with a star-studded charity compilation. Russell died from complications of the disease in 1992.

The 26-track Master Mix: Red Hot + Arthur Russell features contributions from Robyn, Hot Chip, Phosphorescent, Devendra Banhart, and Sufjan Stevens, who has covered Russell’s 1994 single “A Little Lost”. The rendition may be a bit more abstract musically, with harsh drums peddling over lithe keys and strings, Stevens maintains the song’s core sensibilites of heartache and vulnerability.

In an interview with Pitchfork, Stevens discussed why he chose the Another Thought standout:

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.

Listen to Stevens’ cover below:

Master Mix: Red Hot + Arthur Russell is due out October 26th via Yep Roc. Pre-orders are now ongoing, and every purchase includes a free download of Stevens’ cover. Other contributors include Jose Gonzalez, Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry, Scissor Sisters, Thao & the Get Down Stay Down, Colin Stetson, Sam Amidon, Rubblebucket and many more.

Master Mix: Red Hot + Arthur Russell Tracklist:
01. Jose Gonzalez – “This Is How We Walk On The Moon”
02. Lonnie Holley – “Soon-To-Be Innocent Fun (Interlude)”
03. Robyn – “Tell You”
04. Hot Chip – “Go Bang”
05. Sufjan Stevens – “A Little Lost”
06. Lonnie Holley – “In The Light Of The Miracle (Interlude)”
07. Richard Reed Parry, Little Scream, Sam Amidon, Colin Stetson & Sarah Neufeld – “Keeping Up”
08. Liam Finn, Ernie Brooks & Peter Zummo – “This Love Is Crying”
09. Rubblebucket & Nitemoves – “Eli”
10. The Revival Hour – “Hiding Your Present from You”
11. Sam Amidon – “Lucky Cloud”
12. Devendra Banhart – “Losing My Taste For The Night Life”
13. Phosphorescent – “You Can Make Me Feel Bad”
14. Blood Orange – “Is It All Over My Face & Tower Of Meaning”
15. Scissor Sisters – “That’s Us/Wild Combination”
16. VEGA INTL. – “Arm Around You”
17. Oh Mercy – “Planted A Thought”
18. Lonnie Holley – “Hop On Down (Interlude)”
19. Cults – “Being It”
20. Richard Reed Parry – “Just A Blip”
21. Glen Hansard – “I Couldn’t Say It To Your Face”
22. Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – “Nobody Wants A Lonely Heart”
23. The Autumn Defense – “Oh Fernanda Why”
24. Alexis Taylor – “Our Last Night Together”
25. Lonnie Holley – “The Deer In The Forest (Interlude)”
26. Redding Hunter – “Close My Eyes”

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