This week's Spotify playlist: A guide to Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens can be a difficult musician to summarize. At times, his music is spare acoustic folk, intimate, nostalgic, and heartbreaking. At others, it's grandiose and exuberant, full of baroque-style horn flourishes or electronic white noise. He has built albums around his youth in the midwest, the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, the passing of his mother, and the work of schizophrenic artist Royal Robertson. His live shows have featured cheerleader costumes, wings, and giant game show spinning wheels. Themes range from religious allegory to odes to pop culture flotsam. The best way to understand, though, is to listen, and at almost 3 hours, this week's Spotify playlist will give you quite the sampling. We end the list with some selections from his multi-volume Christmas album series.

Listen here:

Sufjan is playing Cincinnati tomorrow (Friday) at the Aronoff Center. Tickets are available here:

You'll see Sufjan's name again next week when we begin our 3-part "Best of 2015" playlist series.