Sufjan Stevens
The Age of Adz


3.5
great

Review

by Sam Feldman's Rating USER (66 Reviews)
October 8th, 2010 | 39 replies | 4,267 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist


2 of 2 thought this review was well written

It's remarkable now, to me at least, how amazingly familiar and yet harder hitting "Futile Devices" is than the bulk of folk-y compositions that plagued the underwhelming and at times lifeless Illinoise. It's remarkable because the seemingly out of place first song on the wildly modern and out-of-its-own-skin The Age Of Adz could have fit in anywhere on Illinoise and quite easily been the best track on the album. But instead "Futile Devices" works as an introduction to this new world of Sufjan Stevens, a heartfelt goodbye to the past and a lead in to The Age Of Adz where Stevens finally loses his mind through waves of electronic confusion and serenaded drops of acoustic guitar, something he has been hinting at throughout his career. It's no doubt his most accomplished work to date, an album that feels like the most honest work of his, as Stevens attempts to find comfort in knowing that he's completely lost.

And it's quite beautiful in a way, looking at being completely and utterly lost as not a burden but a freeing of the mind. One could say what Stevens has achieved here is enlightenment, where one loses his sense of self as he is submerged by the world around him, perception being thrown carelessly out the window. Throughout The Age Of Adz it seems as though Stevens knows the perils of being out on the fringe of sanity, yet revels in it as a sort of revolution. The title track is a glorious and triumphant composition of lasers and rushes of noise as Stevens states that "this is the age of adz / eternal living" in a way that sounds celebratory, a release of any fear Stevens may have. As crazy and all over the place the sounds are at times, it all comes together as a complete track whch is a testament to Stevens as a composer. There are quite a few tracks on here that seem like they could be weightless and sporadic, yet Stevens keeps the songs coherent and down at ground level by being a great songwriter; "I Walked" is a quiet piece that uses spastic beats and wonderous synths and a swaying Stevens; "Get Real Get Right" is a dense and trippy voyage through fluttering intruments; "I Want To Be Well" has arguably the climax of the album as Stevens, if only for a moment, drops all the craziness for just him and an acoustic guitar as he repeates "I want to be well / I want to be well" in a truly honest outreach.

And then there's "Impossible Soul", a 25 minute closing track that's as beautiful and unbelievable as it is pointless and self-indulgent. The track is astonishingly well constructed and fluid for its running time and ventures into auto-tune freak outs and electric seizures, but truthfully doesn't hold enough power or memorable moments to warrant such an ending (even if the quiet, pulsing beginning is quite lovely). It's arguably a summation of The Age Of Adz; a borderline insane recording that is at times beautiful, honest, and pointless. As ambitious as this album is, I can't help but feel that this could have been so much more refined.



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user ratings (891)
Chart.
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excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
robertsona
Staff Reviewer
October 8th 2010



14990 Comments


illinois? lifeless?

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
October 8th 2010



17920 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

As ambitious as this album is, I can't help but feel that this could have been so much more.


what i get from this review is the opposite - that you think it's too much already

idk

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
October 8th 2010



15727 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

As ambitious as this album is, I can't help but feel that this could have been so much more refined.


dont think sufjan was going for refined

Digging: Alvvays - Alvvays

Romulus
October 8th 2010



8412 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

agreed with you on illinois and agreed that this is a step forward. nice review chambered, pos'd

Gyromania
October 8th 2010



15200 Comments


where one loses his sense of self as he is

I would re-word this as 'where one loses himself'

Stevens knows the perils of being out on the fringe of sanity, yet revels in it as a sort of revolution

This is perhaps nit-picky of me, but I'd find something synonymous to replace 'revels', just because it's a little awkward.

As crazy and all over the place the sounds are at times, it all comes together as a complete track whch is a testament to Stevens as a composer.

This too reads awkwardly and you're missing an 'i' in 'which'.

As ambitious as this album is, I can't help but feel that this could have been so much more refined.

I definitely disagree here. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but saying that this isn't refined is just ridiculous. It's precise, elegant, and above all things, polished... I think you should rethink that concluding sentence. Otherwise, this is a good review, and I will definitely pos after corrections.


foreverendeared
October 8th 2010



14678 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sweet review. I agree with you more than the 5 rating reviews

Ire
October 8th 2010



41749 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review. I got this last night.

thebhoy
Emeritus
October 8th 2010



4459 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

remember when you had this at a 2 aka remember when you were LYING TO YOUR VERY SOUL.

Gyromania
October 8th 2010



15200 Comments


Haha, I remember when your rating was fluctuating by the hour!

Irving
Staff Reviewer
October 8th 2010



7144 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Tight review. Very well-written. The final paragraph is particularly good and brings with it a good sense of closure. I enjoyed reading this - pos.

Enotron
October 8th 2010



7695 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

i was afraaaiiid i'd eat your brains

oops wrong album ma bad

AggravatedYeti
October 8th 2010



7684 Comments


awww shit 3.5 sputnik is about to explode.

astrel
October 8th 2010



2614 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

illinoise was kinda soulless.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
October 8th 2010



14990 Comments


wow. of all things illinois could be criticized as, i wouldnt think "soulless" would beo ne of them

thebhoy
Emeritus
October 8th 2010



4459 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

what

SoapySoap
October 8th 2010



865 Comments


Impossible Soul feels shorter and shorter the more I listen to it.

Enotron
October 8th 2010



7695 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

that chant is so pretty

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
October 8th 2010



23798 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Chambered, nooooo!

Good review, your rating is soooooo wrong, etc.

bab808
October 8th 2010



456 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

astrel i'm afraid your opinion is wrong. you clearly haven't listened to john wayne, the predatory wasp, or casmir pulaski enough

Enotron
October 8th 2010



7695 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

"your opinion is wrong"

are you retarded?



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