On August 10th, Sufjan Stevens and Angelo De Augustine put out two new songs, “Back To Oz” and “Fictional California.” The former was inspired by the 1985 film, Return To Oz, while the latter was inspired by Bring It On Again. Both tracks are taken from the duo’s forthcoming collaborative album, A Beginner’s Mind. The album is due out on September 24th.

Of “Back To Oz,” Angelo De Augustine has said “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.” This is apparent in lines like “I survived, but I’m still afraid.” The fear that the narrator – presumably Dorothy – is feeling exists because she still doesn’t fully remember who she is.

According to Sufjan, “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.” This becomes apparent right off the bat, and it falls into the category of “happy-sad” (see the scene from Sing Street below).

According to the release, “A Beginner’s Mind’s 14 songs are inspired by films Sufjan and Angelo watched while writing together for a month at a friend’s cabin in upstate New York. Choosing a movie to unwind after each day’s work, they soon began finding inspiration in their nightly entertainment, using the Zen Buddhist concept of shoshin (literally “a beginner’s mind”), the I-Ching and Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies as guiding principles.” Based on the singles, this will be a phenomenal output, and the next few weeks can’t pass fast enough! Let us know your opinions on Sufjan and Angelo De Augustine on their own and working together, and check out the Alex Horan-directed music video for “Back To Oz” below!

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