It only makes sense that Sufjan Stevens
would write a song about Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding, in two keys, nonetheless. Stevens' long musical catalogue is full of complicated stories told with complicated arrangements with staves and staves of instrumentation.
Stevens says that he's been planning to write this song since 1991, when he first saw her skate at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. He describes the infamous skater as a "strange and magnificent American hero," who accomplished so much before she even turned the age of 30. Apart from the Nancy Kerrigan incident, she raced cars, boxed, played in a band, and remained under the media's spotlight and scrutiny for the majority of her young life; she constantly reinvented herself and dug her nails into everything she did.
Stevens' song paints Tonya as a human being, asking if she's lonely at night in a floating melody, rather than a thickening plot for the tabloids. While the Eb Major version features only keys and Stevens' voice, the D Major version echoes with claps and dreamy harmonies. The two versions of this track fit in perfectly with Sufjan Stevens' identity, which can be summed up as controlled and intentional chaos.