This is just an absolutely intimate album with a beautifully heartbreaking narrative. I'd say it's flawless, solely because the themes of parental love, loss, and ultimately that mere blip of forgiveness are so subjective. Every time I listen to this album, I draw parallels from my own life and find myself in tears without even realizing it. An experience such as a parent leaving can change you in ways you could never imagine: the constant dwelling, the need for an answer when there is none, the need for validation. Sufjan drove that feeling home in a way that makes the kids who experienced this feel seen.
Throughout the album, Sufjan has this desperate, almost childlike tone in the pieces where he discusses his mother. You feel his pain of wanting an explanation for her leaving. Fourth of July and Should Have Known Better in particular encompass that perfectly. As for Death with Dignity, again one of my favourites. I do think it should have been last on the album though, as it feels like it resolves all the darkness of the other songs. The last verse when Sufjan says "I forgive you, mother" would have definitely hit the spot at the end of the album.
10/10 nothing else to say