Sufjan Stevens
The Age of Adz


4.5
superb

Review

by onlyonthursdays USER (2 Reviews)
December 10th, 2010 | 7 replies | 1,503 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This time round Sufjan makes you work for your sweet, sticky caramel centre.

1 of 1 thought this review was well written

It’s been 5 years since Sufjan unleashed with adorable furor his seminal album Illinoise. While back in 2005 he may have portrayed a wide-eyed boy, brimming with wonder, excess, cheery melodies and knowledge of his home state; 2010 brings the inevitable crashing down of puberty. The excess is more excessive, and the cheery melodies are still cheery, just deeply buried under a carefully constructed pile of apocalyptic electronica.

Sufjan still has his signature orchestra and choirs, and there are moments where he reverts to the minimalist folk of Seven Swans. The bulk of the album however, is awash with IDM influence. At points it is jarring, and when combined with the thick layering of organic sounds, it sounds downright excessive, and even intimidating. However, there are beautiful melodies buried in there. Unlike the immediacy of Illinoise, this time round Sufjan makes you work for your sweet, sticky caramel centre.

But boy when you get there it is worth it. This is a carefully crafted album, and every single bleep, blip, flute trill, orchestral swell and group shout has been placed where it is for a reason.

That’s not to say that there is nothing to take away with a shallow listen to Age of Adz. The leading track Futile Devices is pure folky Sufjan, the sure-to-be-single I Walked recalls Radiohead’s Kid A on happy pills, and Vesuvius is just a damn good song. The album closes with the 26 minute Impossible Soul, a journey through Sufjan’s mind, which contains more than a few surprises (autotune?!).

Overall I don’t think this album is quite as good as Illinoise, but I must say, every time I listen to it I like it more. It unfolds with each listen. At first listen it is confusing. Second listen it is intriguing. Third and fourth, still intriguing. Fifth? If you’re lucky, it might just click. Those swiftly passing rays of sunlight you noticed when you first played the album, are now warm and comforting to bask in, and there’s nothing quite like it. I think I will stay here for a while.


user ratings (888)
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4
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
outline
December 10th 2010



563 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well-written, but very very short. Try to stay concise, but long enough to actually communicate.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
December 10th 2010



23798 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

so many sufjan reviews

not that I'm complaining

Digging: Ought - More Than Any Other Day

thebhoy
Emeritus
December 10th 2010



4459 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

basically yeah, don't sacrifice style for pithiness. Example:

The leading track Futile Devices is pure folky Sufjan, the sure-to-be-single I Walked recalls Radiohead’s Kid A on happy pills, and Vesuvius is just a damn good song
.

Sort of non-sequitors and half-analysis. Why is Vesuvius a good song? And explaining the sound of one song through counterfactual use of another song doesn't really work. Otherwise decent for a first. Try in the future to avoid albums with lots of reviews, just for your own sake. But as your first, this is a red herring. Keep it up.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
December 11th 2010



7135 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Solid review, especially for a first. Try to improve the transitions between points in your review, as oftentimes it feels like you're progressing by saltation - skipping and jumping between ideas that don't really flow together that well.

But welcome to the site! Hope to hear more from you soon!

Piglet
December 11th 2010



4651 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Recommended by Reviewer:
Radiohead Kid A

The only comparisons I see between this and Kid A is a certain degree of experimentation with electronics.

kingjulian
December 11th 2010



1297 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Welcome to the site, man. I love Sufjan but this album still has a lot of growing to do on me.

Review is a great first. Have a pos.

onlyonthursdays
December 13th 2010



3 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks for the comments! I'll be working on my next, probably a more obscure one...



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