Song 429: John Wayne Gacy, Jr.

Sufjan Stevens generated one of the more creepy AND elegant songs of the 2000s with “John Wayne Gacy, Jr.” from the Illinoise album. Once you begin listening to the lyrics, you realize the song’s namesake is one of the mass murderer horrors of the 20th century.

And yet… and yet… the piano meanders beautifully throughout the song in a way both somber and fear-inducing. Sufjan’s vocals are haunting both in words and in tone. Sometimes it almost sounds like a love song, sometimes it sounds like a release of grief.

It’s a masterful work and almost a guilty feeling when you consider the reality of the story.