Review Summary: Vesuvius, fire of fire, follow me now as I favor the host.
As Channing Freeman once said, "This album makes me feel things. Listen to it." in regards to Joanna Newsom's Have One on Me
, the same line applies to Sufjan Stevens' The Age of Adz
for myself. Let's get this straight; this album is a statement. Throughout the 74 minute run-time of The Age of Adz
, Sufjan straddles the fine line between madman and genius, destroying boundary after boundary. The result makes me "feel things" to a magnitude perhaps far greater than most music.
Therein lies the beauty of it all. Orchestras, choirs, electronic bleeps and boops, with even autotune and vocoder on "Impossible Soul," all paint an atmosphere of a distant, previously unexplored planet that Sufjan has created. Whether it's the journey through the anthems "The Age of Adz" and "Vesuvius," or the crazed madness of "I Want to Be Well" where Sufjan vehemently proclaims he's not f*cking around
, the immense beauty created by the instrumentation takes on the form of artificial sunshine. Listening to it is almost akin to a man who lived in a cave his entire life stepping outside into sunlight for the first time; it is a joyous, unforgettable experience, only The Age of Adz
is that experience caught on tape. Rarely does it ever falter in consistency, with the somber and mundane "Now That I'm Older" being the only misstep, and even that contributes to the overall mood and ultimate greatness of the album.
Sometimes, the sound becomes so transcendent that I can forgot where I am, who I am, that the sounds filling my ears are even music. The Age of Adz
goes beyond art at times, a window to the human mind and soul. The smooth mesh of bombastic orchestral music, pulsating electronics and Sufjan's trademark style can be perhaps described best in three words; happy, beautiful, and jarring. What it provides is not only a look through the mind of Sufjan Stevens, but maybe even a look into the inner emotions of us all.
And it's pure magic.