Steven’s latest full length LP, his first since 2005’s Illinois, was released on October 12th, 2010 on Asthmatic Kitty.
If you chose to simplify Sufjan Steven’s work up until now into a basic pseudo-mathematical equation it would probably be banjo + heart = Steven’s discography. Well, with a simple adjustment we get synthesizer + heart = The Age of Adz. As much as I hate to see the banjo being replaced by something as cold as a synthesizer, I really like the outcome here. It simply works. It just goes to show that it really is the heart of Steven’s songs that make them so appealing and not the instruments he uses to project said heart.
There aren’t that many artists out there today who’s songwriting sounds as sincere as Stevens’ does. How many people can write a song about John Wayne Gacy that’s truly pretty? One people. just one people. My point is that no matter how electronic this album is, it’s still Sufjan Stevens and it’s still going to be as heartfelt and touching as the last album, or the one before that, or the one before that. You get the idea. I would have been truly disappointed if this album sounded as cold as it could have.
I read on NME.com that Stevens had apparently gone through a tough ordeal concerning his health during the recording of this album. He would not divulge, but whatever it was seemed pretty damn serious and completely explains the lyrics on the track “I Want To Be Well” off the latter half of the album. He also went on to explain that this is one of the reasons why it took so long to release it. I’m not sure anyone was complaining though considering the plethora of EP’s and compilation albums he released in between.
Highlights on The Age of Adz include: “I Walked”, “Get Real, Get Right”, and the 25 minute epic “Impossible Soul” which doesn’t feel forced like a 25 minute epic usually does. I would certainly recommend this album to any fans of Sufjan Steven’s previous work and maybe he opened himself up to a new demographic with his new electronic sound. Who knows?