I feel a bit dumb that I have only just sussed that Sufjan Steven’s gentle ballad John Wayne Gacy Jr  from his 2005 album Illinoise is about a notorious serial killer.  If you read the Wiki entry on Gacy and then listen to the song, you realise what a masterly job Sufjan did of capturing the sadness and horror caused by this monster who preyed on young men.

I like the way the quietness of the song is so at odds with the dark subject matter. This is obviously what got me fooled on my original superficial listening. That, and pure ignorance!

I just came across this video using a 1950s public information film  which captures the mood of the song perfectly.

While on the subject of Sufjan, whatever happened to his much lauded project to release an album for all the United States. After Michigan and Illinois, zilch ….. was it all a publicity stunt?

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