on 29 October 2010
Wow! After 9 listens it's still revealing itself. Some brilliant tunes cut with a more ascerbic edge - it works. Makes you want to listen to it again and again. Nothing has palled yet and I listen it to it twice every day.
Some of the other albums weren't quite the masterpieces they promised, but this one is. One of the best albums over the last 10 years. Plenty of great stuff like the first two-thirds of Illinoise, but this time it retains it's power all the way to the end - and I love the vocorder efects near the end.
Innovative and experimental without losing its melifluousness (is that a real word?) - what an achievement. Yippee!
on 14 December 2013
I'm going to quote a friends opinion on this album. "Sufjan Stevens' experimental electronic side (as seen on 2001's Enjoy Your Rabbit) finally comes to terms with his softer composer side (as seen on 2005's Illinois) and manages to perfectly balance the two on this album." Stevens ability to compose beautiful melodies and create sonic soundscapes almost seems effortless. I've listened to this album numerous times since it's release in 2010. Every listen gets better and better. Now that it is part of my vinyl collection it feels even closer to my heart. For only £17 this double LP is well worth a purchase.
on 16 October 2011
Until this album came out I was never a huge Sufjan Stevens fan, I enjoyed a few of the songs but found it hard to sustain interest in listening to a whole album. However, since the first time I sat and listened to Adz I've been addicted! It's by no means as easy on the ear as others like Illinios but the bizzare mix of electronic, orchestral and choral bring something infectious and fascinating to the record. My highlights include the beautifully melancholic 'I walked' and 'Vesuvius'. This album may be something of an aquired taste, but it's brilliant!
on 31 August 2011
I am totally the wrong person to give you an objective view of this album...... I am totally addicted to Sufjan Stevens..... the Age of the Adz gives me such a rush. I spent a lot of time watching live concert footage of the album on YouTube before I got the album so the songs were already favourites before I bought it. I spent most of my holiday lazing on a beach listening to Sufjan on my iPod, I love the early stuff, his later albums are just as great, this man is surely a genius. I love it.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 13 October 2010
It's pretty unusual for me to think a record deserves 5 stars but after several listens of the new Sufjan Stevens, I think it deserves nothing else. As one of the reviewers previously says - it won't be for everyone, but it does deserve at least a couple of listens for the real beauty of this record to shine through what at first might appear nothing other than random electronic glitchyness behind each song.
I don't know if I agree that this is the radical departure other reviewers elsewhere have written about - some people may well think this on a first listen, in the way that many fans of Radiohead's OK Computer thought that Kid A was just as far removed; but as with Kid A - which most definitely had its roots in Radiohead's earlier work, "The Age Of Adz" is undeniably Sufjan Stevens and very familiar with it. The Kid A comparison rings true I think, especially in how this album will be recieved. Just as some Radiohead fans want nothing more than that band to produce another OK Computer or The Bends, some Sufjan fans will want him to carry on writing a thousand more songs which sound just like Chicago. This record is - at least for me - a much more exciting prospect, and the sound of an extraordinarily gifted musician, composer and songwriter stretching his abilities and seeking more than just resting on a style I am positive he could have fallen straight back on. This is the sound of an artist evolving.
The album opens with a short, but very pretty acoustic guitar driven "Futile Devices" before the squelchy opening drum beat of "Too Much" - one of the record's many highlights, and probably the closest sounding to previous work - with a great chorus and in the second half, many of the orchestral flourishes you'd expect from Sufjan weaving in and out of the electronics.
Some speculation has been made about Sufjan's mental state during the recording of this record - whether it is a true reflection of where he was during the writing and recordings or not, the themes of the songs often appear to float around depression, and salvation. The album title itself refers to a work by Royal Robertson, an artist who was diagnosed with Schizophrenia. "I want to be well, I want to be well, I need to be well" echoes the refrain in "I Want To Be Well", as Stevens howls "I'm not f***ing around" repeatedly over the top, before album closer "Impossible Soul" - all 25 minutes of it - loops and weaves its way through a myriad of different emotions and musical spaces. It's not only brave, it's beautiful, and it acts as a kind of one-movement concentration of everything that has gone before. By the time it reaches a low drone at around the 22.20 mark, an acoustic guitar returns to the forefront along with a softly intoned vocal. Ending the song he quietly repeats, in a heartfelt relection of his love, "Boy, we made such a mess/Together".
I think it would be a real shame for people to take a listen to this record - realise there's no "Chicago" and switch off from it. There is true beauty here and the electronic instrumentation only adds to the music by simply making it that much more interesting - something sadly lacking in many releases of late. Give it a chance - this one is destined to be a classic.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 2 November 2010
Other reviewers do a finer job than me in extolling the wonder of this latest Sufjan Stevens release, so I'll keep it brief.
Having read a couple of dismissive reviews in the press, I was prepared to be disappointed. I did, however, download the 'all delighted people' EP from Asthmatic Kitty's website and was impressed enough to think the critics might be wrong about the impending new album.
And how wrong they were! Few musicians could get away with combining folk, choral, electronica, auto-tune R&B, orchestration, rock and roll, psychedelia and wonderful 'pop' sensibilities in one album, but Sufjan does it on one track (Age of Adz)!
The first time you hear it, it's like listening to the sound of an orchestra falling down the stairs, being chased by R2D2 and C3PO, but after two or three repeats, it's wonder emerges - especially at the 5.00 mark when the emotive key changes and the cry 'I lost the will to fight' brings the song to its quiet, contemplative acoustic close.
I think this is one of the most remarkable records I've ever heard (so I'm looking back through the Stevens catalogue right now). if OK Computer was the record of the last century, maybe we've the first real contender for the new one. Mesmerising.
on 25 May 2011
Give this record more spins and you'll learn to love it. Let go of all the expectations you have from Sufjan and enjoy his creative, innovative, and brilliant music once again!
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 8 December 2010
Having read the BBC and NME reviews for this I was obviously cautious but still intrigued. I awaited the arrival of my copy in the post along with a bunch of other CD's, but despite my caution this CD was the one I really wanted to hear, which I think says something about Sufjan Stevens, his music is so unique you know you are going to experience something that stands alone without anything to really compare it to. This my friends is the beauty of this record, it is completely unique.
The CD arrived, I listened, I was blown away.
Both the BBC and the NME reviews said that the main problem with this album was that it is not accessible enough, almost stating that Sufjan was so in his own mind whilst creating it he had made no effort to connect with the listener. Now maybe this says more about me than the album, but i can connect with this more than i could with any of his previous releases, it is raw, with ragged, jarring, electro sounds all fitted nicely into the usual smooth melody's, perfect singing and song structures associated with Sufjan's music, which in my view makes it the most accessible record he has made NOT the least. At a few points during the album Sufjan's voice actually becomes angry as he let's rip with a swear word repeatedly in the process, which is a delight, of sorts, that makes him sound all the more human.
Now i'm not saying i don't like the beauty of Illinois, it is indeed one of my favourite albums and the funny thing is this album is no different in style other than having an edge as sharp as a razor blade added to it, thanks to Sufjan experimenting with electronic sounds, added to real instruments, which have together created this briliant album.
I am not going to talk about individual songs, as like other Sufjan albums they should be heard as a whole not in parts...Now go and buy it and trust me when i say you will love it.
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 14 October 2010
Finally... someone to pi%$ in the face of the everythingallofthetime primetime music scene that clutters the airwaves like dead cats being thrown at a broken fan
Okay read the other reviews for all the bumph.
The melodies are just amazing.
His voice sounds incredible on this album.
Yes it's 74 mins long and the last two tracks are 20 mins plus, long and have, like, three songs in each, one of which is full-on pop, with autotune and everything!
There is some guitar, but it is sparsely used. Apart from this ripping solo later on in the album.
All in all, this album blew me away.
on 8 July 2015
Disappointing, just a lot of empty noise