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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sufjan battles the pink robots
This is a record that is going to divide opinion. Like many I became aware of Sufjan Stevens during the Michigan and Illinoise period, and like many I absolutely adored those records. I then explored his back catalogue and generally became a huge fan. Offerings since Illinois / Avalanch have been fairly sparse, and not so much to my liking, so the anticipation for...
Published on 11 Oct 2010 by Don Panik

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for me unfortunately
I'm surprised by the positive reviews expressed regarding this album. I want so very much to 'like' this album even if not 'love' it like I do (some of) his previous efforts. I have a lot of respect for artists willing to try things radically different from their previous releases - after the incredible 'Illinois' album I'm sure many people (myself included) expected more...
Published on 5 Jun 2012 by Charlie


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5.0 out of 5 stars Ambitious and operatic masterpiece, 25 July 2011
By 
Mr. J. Evans "jerry-built" (Bristol, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Age Of Adz (Audio CD)
Unlike most reviewers I am new to Sufijan Stevens' work and I started writing this after my first listening as this album grabbed me immediately.

I will check out his back catalogue and understand that it can be upsetting if it is a radical departure from previous work. To be open about my tastes I am also a fan of bands such as Animal Collective, Broken Social Scene, The Flaming Lips, Caribou and Gang Gang Dance so I like densely layered music with synth and samples in the mix. If you break down music into ever more specific genres and you decide that there is something called "electronica" that you don't like you will miss out on some fantastic music. Forget about what is producing the sound and enjoy the orchestration on this album. This is the right word to use because the richness of sound and the instruments sampled suggests a complete orchestra. It is like the score to a movie you haven't seen (but you want to see after hearing the soundtrack). I don't think it matters what is producing the sound. What is more important is whether it is contributing to the track and here it pretty much succeeds, whether providing an original rythmn section or hooks and riffs. Some of the tracks seem dense and deranged - definitely not background music - and the whole album repays concentrated listening.

Highlight tracks for me:'
The Age of Adz - a richly textured song - a manic and theatrical opening reprises throughout the song, sometimes with shimmering strings, settling into a quieter melodic section sporadically punctuated by hisses and drums, moving towards the beautiful ending when all the accompaniment dies away to leave just plaintive voice and guitar.

I Walked - a gentle and melodic anthem with poignant lyrics and choral accompaniment

Impossible Soul - a long jaw-dropping operatic suite with a confection of styles and sounds including heavily auto-tuned vocals, brass and string instruments as well as the whole panoply of electronic beats.
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5.0 out of 5 stars mindblowing, 11 July 2011
This review is from: The Age Of Adz (Audio CD)
I took a few listens to fall in love with this record, it is so epic - there are many songs that are three or more songs within-a-song - but then i fell really hard. It is a marvelous record, so full of innovation and longing that it regularly blows my tiny mind. Anyone who loves music must give this a listen because Sufjan pushes all sorts of boundaries all the time. Swelling choral voices and digital squelches, wild vocoda solos and horn sections... it is hard to accept what comes at you.

There is a good contender for the finest atheist hymn of modern times:
when I die
when I die
I rot
when I live
when I live
I give it all I've got

True rapture.
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5.0 out of 5 stars brilliance, 25 May 2011
This review is from: The Age Of Adz [VINYL] (Vinyl)
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!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome back, 19 May 2011
By 
Syriat - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Age Of Adz (Audio CD)
In recent interviews Sufjan Stevens has stated that he is more interested in noises than lyrics and creating music. If that makes no sense then you are yet to experience The Age Of Adz. This is the first full offering since the quite brilliant Illinois. Part of the alleged 50 states project. And this work feels a bit like the death knell of that project. What was hinted at in the All Delighted People EP is all over this. That being squelches, long tracks and then end of the folk approach.
If you listen to Futile Devices, the opening track, you would think that what I am writing about is a different CD. Its beautiful, breathy and Sufjan at his Illinois best. And then Too Much follows it with electronic squelch, swagger and electronics all over it. Its here you realise the rules of the game have changed. Don't get me wrong. You know its Sufjan, its an evolution of the sound you are used to. But its a real departure that some find too far removed from previous work.
The title track is not my favourite track on the disc. But it pushes this new sound further as do the following tracks, orchestral vocals, electronic sounds swooshing, brass instruments and at the core the voice, the music and the thrill of a man confident enough to push his boundaries. Some of this is quite upbeat. Get real, get right is very much an upbeat number when it gets going. And yes some of these tracks take a while to hit their stride. And may take even longer to grow on you. But give them a chance.

And then this turns into that rare thing. A CD that has a better second half than the first. Vesuvius is a real grower of a track. All for Myself could almost sit well on any Sufjan CD. I Want To Be Well goes along at high tempo and the swearing in the refrain towards the end is unexpected and a tiny bit thrilling. In those words Sufjan encapsulates his whole approach to this project.

Which brings us to the last track. All 25 minutes and 34 seconds of it. Through the various arcs of Impossible Soul Sufjan ends this on a high. Yes it can be annoying that you have to listen for a while for this track to get going. But 13 minutes in the highlight (for this reviewer) of the whole CD starts. The middle of Impossible Soul is a wonderful piece of music. Uplifting and downright brilliant.

If you loved Seven Swans and thought that Enjoy Your Rabbit was a mistake then avoid this. If you are prepared for something different and prepared to listen to it a few times before it hits then this is for you. Certainly this is a departure. But its going to be very interesting to see the next direction.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gargantuan ambition and madcap aspirations, 25 Jan 2011
By 
technoguy "jack" (Rugby) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Age Of Adz (Audio CD)
Based on the schizophrenic prophesies of Royal Robertson,an American visionary artist,this is Sufjan Steven's 1st
album after 5 years,one hotly anticipated,considering his near despair a year or two ago at writing songs..Greatly inventive orchestration, providing glittery electronic soundscapes with depths of personal feeling and chorale harmonies, strings and wind arrangements,replete with infusions of manic energy.Here it is track by track:-

1)Futile Devices:guitar-picking,piano,double track voice"Words are futile devices" describes the fallibility of love.Simple opening track.
2)Too Much:Beautiful melodic sound tapestries with musical themes,repetetive song phrases weaving in and out ,with electronic flurries,synthesisers,string connections, distorted trombones,bursts of backing vocals,and climaxing in orchestral breakdown.
3)Age of Adz:Lovely choral sound backing to his poignant voice,string washes and wind instruments elevating the mood,industrial beats emphasising the vocals.
4)I walked:syncopated beat and synthesiser rising and falling.Choir assists Stevens lament the collapse of a love affair over glitchy beats." I'm already dead but I've come to explain why I left such a mess on the floor".Also " I walked away with a knife in my chest".
5)Now that I'm older:sad refrains,subdued tone:"Somewhere I lost whatever else I had".Gentle washing sounds,harmonies of choir.
6)Get Real,Get Right:electronic beat and sound:" Have you mistaken me for someone else?"Military drums,massed backing vocals,wind instruments,rising chords."Get right with the Lord". Apocalyptic.
7) Bad Communication:organ and double-track voice,electronic blips.
8)Vesuvius:piano,doubletrack voice and backing vocals,syncopated slow beat:"follow
your heart,follow the joy",electronic dripping noises amidst an ending of flutes.
9)All for myself: Stevens voice with backing vocals,piano and flutes,electronic ripples.
10)I want to be well: drums,flutes,electronic beeps, repetition of vocals:"Well I want to be"," I'm not f....ing around"overlappping each other,background vocals.
11)Impossible Soul:25 minute piece, huge multi-sectioned arrangement tracking the singer's emotional excavation of a failed romance, which builds to a climactic self-help chant ("It's a long ride, better hit yourself, put your face together, better stand up straight - boy, we can do much more together, gotta get it right, get it right, it's not impossible") before fading to the first of several fake endings, refusing to die,coming back again. Beautiful guitar breaks,doubletrack voice,harmonic chorale.
This record grows on you after a few listens,rewarding you with this young man's great talent.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brave new world, 16 Nov 2010
By 
R. O'NEILL (Leeds, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Age of Adz (MP3 Download)
It does need the patience to listen to the album through a couple of times, but what appears is a grand epic. In many ways a much more adventurous than previous albums.
With Michigan, Illinoise and the outtakes album Avalanche, I'd personally got a bit tired of the twee beauty of Sufjan's folk output (blown away initially by Illinoise, but less so with each additional similar purchase). Don't get me wrong, they are great recordings, but I yearned for some of the beauty of Illinoise with some of the madness/Creativity of Enjoy your rabbit and this is definitely it. Illinoise may have been the album you could play to your mother and she'd tap her feet along to it, but Adz is an album to sit back and take in on your own, headphones on, appreciating the originality and sonic experimentation.

It doesn't have the hits of Illinoise and some of the noises will initially jar, but there is so much to take from this album, I'd advise all to spend the pittance that it costs and give it some time and love.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bittersweet Bliss, 29 Oct 2010
By 
This review is from: The Age Of Adz (Audio CD)
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!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just gets better with every listen, 2 Nov 2010
By 
Mark Bradley "Leadgate Len" (West Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Age Of Adz (Audio CD)
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.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A modern masterpiece., 14 Oct 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Age Of Adz (Audio CD)
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.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sufjan does it again...but 'it' is different, 8 Dec 2010
This review is from: The Age Of Adz (Audio CD)
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.
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