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Sufjan Stevens — John Wayne Gacy, Jr.
Album: Illinois
Avg rating:
6.6

Your rating:
Total ratings: 205









Released: 2005
Length: 3:16
Plays (last 30 days): 0
His father was a drinker
And his mother cried in bed
Folding John Wayne's T-shirts
When the swingset hit his head
The neighbors they adored him
For his humor and his conversation
Look underneath the house there
Find the few living things
Rotting fast in their sleep of the dead
Twenty-seven people, even more
They were boys with their cars, summer jobs
Oh my God

Are you one of them?

He dressed up like a clown for them
With his face paint white and red
And on his best behavior
In a dark room on the bed he kissed them all
He'd kill ten thousand people
With a sleight of his hand
Running far, running fast to the dead
He took off all their clothes for them
He put a cloth on their lips
Quiet hands, quiet kiss
On the mouth

And in my best behavior
I am really just like him
Look beneath the floorboards
For the secrets I have hid
Comments (71)add comment
I think this song is one of my favourite Sufjan songs. Its creepy, but the ending is something to think about. Who would we be when we have grown up in a diverend darker enviroment? How would we behave when there is no correction from law, family or friends?
What kind of evil do we secretly think about without acting?

I hope the song returns to the play cycle again.
 rickhoran wrote:


without all the ratings above 1, the average is 1.
 
without all the ratings except for those of 3 or 8, the average is 7.3.

 element1 wrote:

without all the "1" ratings, the average is 7.35.
 

without all the ratings above 1, the average is 1.
rkr wrote:
Listening to this song my first reaction was "is this SOB actually trying to make me feel sympathy for JWG?" Quite frankly I don't care what upbringing JWG had there are no mitigating circumstances for being the definition of evil. BOO HISS - Bill please remove this garbage from rotation.
Like OJ making $ from "Here's how I would have done it." Sheesh. some things (people) just don't need to be immortalized.
Gawd that was creepy. But excellent.
without all the "1" ratings, the average is 7.35.
SS I adore.
shakitten wrote:
What?! Are you on crack? Do I owe Charles Manson respect? You need SERIOUS therapy... :beat:
I think you're confused. You owe Sufjan Stevens the respect - not John Wayne Gacy. A lot of great art is disturbing. Anyone who can't see the power in the creepy juxtaposition of this song is either simple or in denial.
wally42 wrote:
I, for one am glad that so many people are freaked out by this.... Sufjan Succeeded!! Bring on the negative comments. Vote those ones. Go for it.
No, not freaked out. Simply bored.
go_ski_mully wrote:
Wow ...that is phuk'n disturbing, you can't condemn Stevens for going out on a limb to explore the psyche of this monster however, I'm thinking a lot of great art comes out of just that exploration (sans censorship). Unless I am mistaken the continent collectively spends millions of dollars a year to sit in movie theatres with greasy tubs of popcorn between their thighs to be entertained by equally twisted tales, hell collectively we spend billions to commit them in the middle east and then catch the highlights over TV dinners when we get home from our long commute (what's with the weather this winter anyway?) …don't turn your face away in disgust, without the dark there is no light …life ain't squeaky clean, neither are we.
Exactly. All this Holier-Than-Thou outrage is a little hard to take.
Photo-John wrote:
Yes there is - 10! If you're that disturbed, it got to you and you owe the artist the maximum respect. So there.
What?! Are you on crack? Do I owe Charles Manson respect? You need SERIOUS therapy... :beat:
I have yet to understand this dude and his crap. PLEASE make this guy go away.... :puke:
I, for one am glad that so many people are freaked out by this.... Sufjan Succeeded!! Bring on the negative comments. Vote those ones. Go for it.
Listening to this song my first reaction was "is this SOB actually trying to make me feel sympathy for JWG?" Quite frankly I don't care what upbringing JWG had there are no mitigating circumstances for being the definition of evil. I've never been so disgusted in my life. JWG is nothing short of a Monster. For his sake I hope there is a hell and I hope he rots there forever. BOO HISS - Bill please remove this garbage from rotation.
wally42 wrote:
Stunningly Creepy and captivating, ....10
I can agree with creepy, but it's too creepy for me to appeciate it much. I'm leaning towards a 4.
anniebear wrote:
he did not "kiss them" he did not "take off all their clothes for them" he raped them and murdered them. Sick.
I agree.. this dude is just strange... :puke:
disturbing.pornographic. :stop:
he did not "kiss them" he did not "take off all their clothes for them" he raped them and murdered them. Sick.
:puke:
I loathe this too
Stunningly Creepy and captivating, ....10 I'm very suprised to hear thus on RP very cool
Pretty, not pretty, disturbing, not disturbing . . . I can't get past the subject matter. Blech.
raven121x wrote:
I can't rate this b/c there is no number that matches "disturbing".
Yes there is - 10! If you're that disturbed, it got to you and you owe the artist the maximum respect. So there.
go_ski_mully wrote:
Wow ...that is phuk'n disturbing, you can't condemn Stevens for going out on a limb to explore the psyche of this monster however, I'm thinking a lot of great art comes out of just that exploration (sans censorship). Unless I am mistaken the continent collectively spends millions of dollars a year to sit in movie theatres with greasy tubs of popcorn between their thighs to be entertained by equally twisted tales, hell collectively we spend billions to commit them in the middle east and then catch the highlights over TV dinners when we get home from our long commute (what's with the weather this winter anyway?) …don't turn your face away in disgust, without the dark there is no light …life ain't squeaky clean, neither are we. Cheers
Well spoken. However, suffyawn still sucks. :mrgreen:
Wow ...that is phuk'n disturbing, you can't condemn Stevens for going out on a limb to explore the psyche of this monster however, I'm thinking a lot of great art comes out of just that exploration (sans censorship). Unless I am mistaken the continent collectively spends millions of dollars a year to sit in movie theatres with greasy tubs of popcorn between their thighs to be entertained by equally twisted tales, hell collectively we spend billions to commit them in the middle east and then catch the highlights over TV dinners when we get home from our long commute (what's with the weather this winter anyway?) …don't turn your face away in disgust, without the dark there is no light …life ain't squeaky clean, neither are we. Cheers
pannaramma wrote:
There is no excuse for this.
Excuse=station owner played it That said I wouldn't care to hear it again
I like a lot of this guy's work, but this song and what it's about is too fucked up. I hope I never hear it again.
There is no excuse for this. This is the first time since listening to RP that I have resented something being played. I hate some stuff, but I can be broad minded. In general I don't like SS but this I loathe. disgusting.
raven121x wrote:
I can't rate this b/c there is no number that matches "disturbing".
I hear that! Sufjan is in his own category.
Did this make the Billboard Hot 100?
I never would have thought it would be possible for someone to make a song about John Wayne Gacy that would be sad and beautiful, and probably would have thought the very idea was horrible. It's a testament to Sufjan's talents that he pulled it off, partly by making it about more than just Gacy. Still gives me the chills, a year and a half after first hearing it.
I can't rate this b/c there is no number that matches "disturbing".
Well put. Dirktooth wrote:
We all have secrets and aspects of our lives we keep hidden. There are all sorts of justifications for doing so, from fear of embarrassment to the fear of others being hurt from a moment of revelation. Some secrets go darker and deeper than we assume, literally so in this case.
I bought the album and it's in my car, right next to Slayer's "God Hates Us All." Sometimes genius makes us uncomfortable. And this song is beautiful and terrible (subject-matter) at the same time. It's awesome.
Beautiful music about horrible tragedy. Still a 10, over a year later for me.
Odyzzeuz wrote:
Agony! This is pure Vogon poetry.
I like your Hitchhiker metaphor but I prefer Stevens's poetry... :clap:
radiozep wrote:
I have finally realized why Sufjan Stevens is played so much on RP. It makes all other artists, regardless of how bad they are, seem excellent. This is awful.
:clap: :notworthy:
mandalavt wrote:
I love this song, but the lyrics freak me out so much that I never want to listen to it. Sign me up for the instrumental and/or "Alternate Lyrics featuring Dora the Explorer" version...
Dora the Explorer freaks me out, man. Have you watched it? That Swiper comes out of nowhere, I tell you.
I listen at work and consequently don't get the lyrics very closely. I was going to complain about the whiny-ness of this song, but you're forum contributors educated me about this song. Thanks to the RP listeners -- a brilliant bunch! :clap:
Papa_John wrote:
Me thinks someone missed the whole point of this song. Do you really expect this one to sound beautiful? Awful truly captures the emotion of the song. I think Sufjan is a genus song writer.
Yeah, but which genus? Night monkeys? Dropwarts?
Agony! This is pure Vogon poetry.
Thanks for playing my request, Bill!
Exquisitive storytelling.
I went through phases with this song, from creepy and disturbing to outright brilliant. I think I broke my obsession with it and settled on "excellent" when I finally understood it has nothing to do with Gacey the murderer. Think about Gacey the man. Everything about him seemed normal , yet he killed 27 people in a way that in his mind had some elements of love. The man was insane, but too often we think insanity develops in a vacuum. Did it start when the swingset hit his head and caused a blood clot? Or when his father was a drinker and his mother cried in bed each night ? He concludes with a reference to christian scriptures that says (paraphrased) we are all sinners, whether we steal money or kill 27 people. Think about the old addage about war criminals. Kill one man and you're a murderer. Kill 100,000 (a la charles taylor) and you become president. You become the law. Makes you wonder what happened to our "higher law". My difficulties in understanding this song actually spawned a novella I am writing about a hunt for a fugitive war criminal in West Africa. The man has elements of depravity and remorse mixed together, much like Gacey in this song.
I love this song, but the lyrics freak me out so much that I never want to listen to it. Sign me up for the instrumental and/or "Alternate Lyrics featuring Dora the Explorer" version...
We all have secrets and aspects of our lives we keep hidden. There are all sorts of justifications for doing so, from fear of embarrassment to the fear of others being hurt from a moment of revelation. Some secrets go darker and deeper than we assume, literally so in this case.
I feel like a detective.
jlind wrote:
I was just joking... heh
I need no provocation to descend into linguistic self-analysis. :o)
UltraNurd wrote:
Yes, I thought about that when I typed it... but while the literal meaning of the idiom is dependent on over-the-air radio, most native English speakers would know that "on the air" could refer to any multimedia broadcast medium, including internet streams, podcasts, TV, radio, satellite radio, etc.
I was just joking... heh
jlind wrote:
Well... its not quite "on the air" now is it? :)
Yes, I thought about that when I typed it... but while the literal meaning of the idiom is dependent on over-the-air radio, most native English speakers would know that "on the air" could refer to any multimedia broadcast medium, including internet streams, podcasts, TV, radio, satellite radio, etc.
UltraNurd wrote:
oooOOOOoooo... you made it on the air! :o)
Well... its not quite "on the air" now is it? :)
coldatlantic wrote:
Put me down as a fan of this song. This is the essence of folk, folks. Telling a local, horrible story with eloquence and an appropriately haunting, creepy atmosphere.
:notworthy:
coldatlantic wrote:
Put me down as a fan of this song. This is the essence of folk, folks. Telling a local, horrible story with eloquence and an appropriately haunting, creepy atmosphere.
oooOOOOoooo... you made it on the air! :o)
I get shivers every time.
Put me down as a fan of this song. This is the essence of folk, folks. Telling a local, horrible story with eloquence and an appropriately haunting, creepy atmosphere.
radiozep wrote:
I have finally realized why Sufjan Stevens is played so much on RP. It makes all other artists, regardless of how bad they are, seem excellent. This is awful.
Me thinks someone missed the whole point of this song. Do you really expect this one to sound beautiful? Awful truly captures the emotion of the song. I think Sufjan is a genus song writer.
radiozep wrote:
I have finally realized why Sufjan Stevens is played so much on RP. It makes all other artists, regardless of how bad they are, seem excellent. This is awful.
As are you.
Dude (and it's rare when I address Bill's constituents as "dude") but this song is amazing. If you are not from Chicago, then don't bother. It's an "inside joke."
Gorgeous track. Damn good album... the first I've purchased as a result of RP. Thanks, guys! :) Quite Likeable. :cool:
Wow. I guess I'm in the minority but I think this song is amazing.
crazy song, gorgeous and horrid. compelling at any rate.
I have finally realized why Sufjan Stevens is played so much on RP. It makes all other artists, regardless of how bad they are, seem excellent. This is awful.
John Wayne Gacy is "Kind of an ugly man?" Kind of? Come on, Bill. Even pengins can tell the difference between black and white.
Is this in honor of BTK's sentencing?
I give him (Sufjan, not Gacy) points for creativity and originality, but I just do not care for ballads about serial killers
The latest issue of Paste Magazine had glowing words for this CD.
spooky thanks for playing a couple optimistic ones after this one
SCprof wrote:
Awful, simply awful.
As I said, one of the reasons why listening to RP is so rewarding ... we can agree to differ ....
ploafmaster wrote:
Yee-haw! Another track straight to "added" without needing review :-) Maybe Bill and Rebecca purchased the disc? This song is so hauntingly beautiful...I know that sounds cliche, but when you consider the subject matter, and his point at the end, it's really quite an appropriate description. 10.
Thanks, RP, for playing Sufjan Stevens ... one of the multitude of reasons why you're worth listening to ...
Awful, simply awful.
Yee-haw! Another track straight to "added" without needing review :-) Maybe Bill and Rebecca purchased the disc? This song is so hauntingly beautiful...I know that sounds cliche, but when you consider the subject matter, and his point at the end, it's really quite an appropriate description. 10.