Folk heroes Sufjan Stevens and Angelo de Augustine have released two new singles from their upcoming collaborative LP A Beginner’s Mind, ‘Fictional California’ and ‘Back to Oz’.
“We finished its lyrics after watching Return to Oz,” de Augustine explains. “The words reference an erosion of a central character’s internal reality. A loss of innocence is the impetus for a journey to find inner truth. In the film, Dorothy returns to the world of Oz to find its landscape in ruins and its citizens frozen in stone. Only she can find the ruby slippers and return peace to Oz. Only we can save ourselves, but we first have to remember who we truly are.”
Upon the album’s formal announcement, the duo had previously shared the tracks’ Reach Out’ and ‘Olympus’. Each song on the LP is said to have been inspired by a film. I liked imagining at the time that ‘Olympus’ was based on the Gerard Butler action turd Olympus Has Fallen rather than the mythical mountain, but that is unconfirmed.
“Angelo is mostly known for his intimate home recordings; his music is quiet and confessional,” Stevens added. “So for ‘Back to Oz’ we decided to go for something flashier. The song has a fun guitar groove, so we gave it some bass and drums, and Angelo even recorded his first electric guitar solo. It’s a sad song—being mostly about disillusionment—but it has a great party vibe too.”
If ‘Back to Oz’ was a party, it would most likely be one of those super laid back get-togethers where everyone is smoking and laughing at whatever old movie happens to be on cable. If that sounds like your kind of chill vibes fiesta, and it’s definitely my kind of party, then sit back and let these two supremely relaxing songs wash over you contemplate the existential dread and bizarre freakiness of Return to Oz. Seriously, those Wheelers are nightmare fuel.
Check out the audio for the two songs, plus the video for ‘Back to Oz’, down below.