The Tallest Man the Broadest Shoulders
Sufjan Stevens Lyrics


Part I: "The Great Frontier"

I count the days the Great Frontier
Forgiving, faced the seventh year
I stand in awe of gratefulness
I can and call forgetfulness

And when I, and when I call
The Patient, the Patient fall
The Spirit, the Carpenter
Invites us to be with her

What have we become America?
Soldiers on the Great Frontier!
Carpenter and Soldier, one on one
It's the battle, volunteer!

Run from yourself, from your friends, from ya--
Run for your life, for your friends, for ya--
American, merica, meri--
Oh Illinois, Illinois, Illi--

The prairie, the frontier, the perfect farm, it's from here
The fortress, the faker, the cornerstone, the baker
The dancer, the fisher, audition and the disher
The boxer, the fetcher, the ghweing gum, dream catcher

I count the days the Great Frontier
Forgiving, faced the seventh year
I stand and strain to make ends meet
Five Spirits on the Grand Marquee

And when I, and when I call
The Patient, the Patient fall
The Spirit, the Carpenter
Invites us to be with her

There was a man at the wall
He was grateful for us all
I saw the Wise Woman sing
She wasn't asking anything
She wasn't asking anything
How she made the nations sing!

What have we become America?
Soldiers on the Great Frontier!

Run from yourself,
from your friends, from ya--
Run for your life,
for your friends, for ya--
American, merica, meri--
Oh Illinois, Illinois, Illi--

The mattress, the floozies, the actress at the movies
The lantern, the lotion, the wind that wakes the ocean
The Standard Edition, the architect's rendition
The fashion, the fevers, the house we got at Sears

Part II: "Come to Me Only With Playthings Now"

Oh Great Fire of Great Disaster
Oh Great Heaven, oh Great Master
Oh Great Goat, the curse you gave us
Oh Great Ghost, protect and save us
Oh Great River, green with envy
Oh Jane Addams, spirit send thee
Oh Great Trumpet and the singers
(Given what you lost are you better off?)
Oh Great Goodman, King of Swingers
(Given what you had, has it made you mad?)
Oh Great Bears and Bulls, Joe Jackson
(Celebrate the few. Celebrate the new.)
Oh Great Illinois
(It can only start with you)

Contributed by Arianna H. Suggest a correction in the comments below.
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Most interesting comment from YouTube:

pradnya wicaksana

[Part I: "The Great Frontier"]

I count the days the Great Frontier
Forgiving, faced the seventh year
I stand in awe of gratefulness
I can and call forgetfulness

And when I, and when I call
The Patient, the Patient fall
The Spirit, the Carpenter
Invites us to be with her

What have we become America?
Soldiers on the Great Frontier!
Carpenter and Soldier, one on one
It's the battle, volunteer!

Run from yourself, from your friends, from ya--
Run for your life, for your friends, for ya--
American, merica, meri--
Oh Illinois, Illinois, Illi--

The prairie, the frontier, the perfect farm, it's from here
The fortress, the faker, the cornerstone, the baker
The dancer, the fisher, audition and the disher
The boxer, the fetcher, the ghweing gum, dream catcher

I count the days the Great Frontier
Forgiving, faced the seventh year
I stand and strain to make ends meet
Five Spirits on the Grand Marquee

And when I, and when I call
The Patient, the Patient fall
The Spirit, the Carpenter
Invites us to be with her

There was a man at the wall
He was grateful for us all
I saw the Wise Woman sing
She wasn't asking anything
She wasn't asking anything
How she made the nations sing!

What have we become America?
Soldiers on the Great Frontier!

Run from yourself,
from your friends, from ya--
Run for your life,
for your friends, for ya--
American, merica, meri--
Oh Illinois, Illinois, Illi--

The mattress, the floozies, the actress at the movies
The lantern, the lotion, the wind that wakes the ocean
The Standard Edition, the architect's rendition
The fashion, the fevers, the house we got at Sears

[Part II: "Come to Me Only With Playthings Now"]

Oh Great Fire of Great Disaster
Oh Great Heaven, oh Great Master
Oh Great Goat, the curse you gave us
Oh Great Ghost, protect and save us
Oh Great River, green with envy
Oh Jane Addams, spirit send thee
Oh Great Trumpet and the singers
(Given what you lost are you better off?)
Oh Great Goodman, King of Swingers
(Given what you had, has it made you mad?)
Oh Great Bears and Bulls, Joe Jackson
(Celebrate the few. Celebrate the new.)
Oh Great Illinois
(It can only start with you)



All comments from YouTube:

mémdíler

I love the easter eggs in this song. The time signature is 11/8, because the tallest man (Robert Waldow, the Giant of Illinois) was 8 feet 11 inches tall

MrSuperman2307

Plus another Chicago nickname is also called” the city of broad shoulders”

Dīvīnitas Simulācrōrum

@daydrmnation he literally said it was just a publicity stunt, you might want to inject a touch of cynicism

daydrmnation

He's amazing. Like every brilliant person, maybe he aspired to too much, wanting to make a record dedicated to every state, but if he ever does, I'd be privileged to have listened to them all.

Singularity

are you sure that's why? I mean, did he say in an interview or something that that's why?

usedfuzzbox

I swear this makes me think of those old Charlie Brown/Snoopy cartoons....

MD-80

Gosh, the piano part at the beginning could be easily a theme for the Peanuts. I hope I am not the only one who thaught about that :)

thegreattximino

When I go walking and this song starts playing I always feel like I'm in this awesome musical and that people, suddenly are going to start dancing, jumping and singing

Excedelic!

This song was recorded in honor of Robert Pershing Wadlow (February 22, 1918 – July 15, 1940); the tallest person in history.

Vera Baldé

Lovely 11/8

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