Sufjan Stevens
All Delighted People


4.0
excellent

Review

by Kiran EMERITUS
August 22nd, 2010 | 99 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Sufjan rebounds from musical indifference by going completely over the top.

Ever since Sufjan Stevens announced his intentions to record an album for all 50 U.S. states, not even the most cynical could question his musical ambition. Though the project was more or less discontinued after Michigan and Illinois, to even think about embarking on such a monumental task seems absurd to the common man, let alone going two chapters into it (with huge critical-acclaim at that). The fact that this sprawling hour-long EP comes barely a year after he shocked fans with a question that seemed to indicate he'd begun his free-fall into some sort of inescapable existential crisis ("What's the point of a song?") is truly another testament to his character. This is a man not afraid to go completely balls out for his craft.

Think about it; the very same man who had become disillusioned with the art form itself has now unleashed upon us a track as massive, indulgent and spectacular as "All Delighted People" (two versions of it, nonetheless). It's not just his mood that's changed either; in terms of songwriting, songs like the title track, the classic rock version of it, and the huge 17-minute closer "Djohariah" are staggering leaps forward in his musical palette (guitar solos in Sufjan Stevens songs still seem like an oddly foreign concept) and show a boldness he seems to have picked up on his way back up from the doom and gloom. "From The Mouth of Gabriel" jumps right ahead of the pack as perhaps one of the best songs he's ever written, showcasing emotiveness in his voice that goes beyond the hushed tone of tracks like "Romulus" and "John Wayne Gacy Jr".

It feels like a comeback story. What have we had from Stevens since 2006’s Illinois? A Christmas album, b-sides, re-releases, and a mixed-medium piece dedicated to a highway that, all things considered, wasn’t very interesting to the average man. Not great output from a guy who at one point seriously intended to write an entire orchestral indie-pop album about Wyoming. And then, completely unannounced, this: huge track lengths, backing choirs, electric guitars, Sufjan’s usually hushed tone going far beyond that, electronic bleeps and bloops, cryptic, Simon & Garfunkel referencing lyrics, and a self-proclaimed “17-minute guitar-jam-for-single-mothers” closer that’s 10-minutes of chanting and guitar/electronic wankery and 7-minutes of absolutely typical Sufjan Stevens folk music. If anything, it's all but secured the word 'typical' ever being used to describe him again. All Delighted People is something else.

Here’s the trump card that makes his peers look even more like chumps: this is an EP - a behemoth of an EP, perhaps, but an EP nonetheless. It’s a staggering return from his alleged creative crisis, a terrific addition to his discography, and a wonderful addition to an already fantastic 2010. If this is Sufjan Stevens’ idea of an EP, his next LP is going to be colossal.



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user ratings (278)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Kiran
Emeritus
August 22nd 2010


6001 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i love this, can you tell?

AggravatedYeti
August 22nd 2010


7685 Comments


Ill listen to this someday.


Ponton
Emeritus
August 22nd 2010


5793 Comments


this hasn't really grown on me at all like i wanted (expected) it to

Gyromania
August 22nd 2010


15716 Comments


I'll probably never listen to this, but nice review Kirg

thebhoy
Emeritus
August 22nd 2010


4461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Didn't expect a review so soon for this

Kiran
Emeritus
August 22nd 2010


6001 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i was excited

Athom
Staff Reviewer
August 22nd 2010


17213 Comments


shit that was what, a half hour?

Digging: Inigo Kennedy - Vaudeville

thebhoy
Emeritus
August 22nd 2010


4461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I guess it is an EP yes, but an hour long one. But I mean I did do a review of maudlin of the well's last one a day after having it, so who am I to judge really.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
August 22nd 2010


17213 Comments


i had this dibsed but just relinquished it earlier today

Ponton
Emeritus
August 22nd 2010


5793 Comments


what do you think of this keelan?

Kiran
Emeritus
August 22nd 2010


6001 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i had about a third of this written for a sound off but yeah this was really easy to write, ive been listening to it non-stop so i had a lot of the ideas already bouncing around my head

might be a bit premature but i guess even if my opinion changes it's still valid even if i'm easily excitable


WatchItExplode
August 22nd 2010


3243 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is just awesomely over the top...as you said Kirg, nice work. I was almost inspired to write a review for this, which never happens anymore

brutebeard
August 22nd 2010


1655 Comments


I am pretty excited to give this a listen

conradtao
Emeritus
August 22nd 2010


2090 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great review, Kiran. This sums up my feelings about the "EP" perfectly, and you're right, it whets my appetite for what's still to come.

DBlitz
August 22nd 2010


1690 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

omg

joshuatree
Emeritus
August 22nd 2010


3742 Comments


holy shit i did not know this existed

Inveigh
August 22nd 2010


24968 Comments


Illinoise and Michigan were both pretty stellar; stoked to hear this.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
August 22nd 2010


15737 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

and the people bowed and PRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYED

Digging: Ricky Eat Acid - Three Love Songs

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
August 22nd 2010


2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Has anyone heard how many people downloaded this off of bandcamp? I feel like Sufjan could make some serious bank off this EP, being at such a great price.

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
August 22nd 2010


4927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I paid the measly 5$ for 320 quality. Well worth it.



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