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coverpic flag US - New York - Full Moon 173 - 10/23/10

Sufjan Stevens
The Age of Adz
Asthmatic Kitty Records

Almost as a surprise attack Sufjan Stevens is all over us towards the end of the decade. The Age of Adz follows, rather rapidly in the footsteps of the acclaimed All Delighted People EP. Stevens' 6th regular album is a massive piece of work. If not a masterpiece work. Again.

Like always when we're dealing with Sufjan Stevens' works we're talking another epic pop opus. This time he's flirting with the electronic world, like he did on his second album, Enjoy Your Rabbit (2202), even though his trademark widescreen-orchestrated music, complete with angel-like choirs and musical virtuosity is more like what we're used to from Sufjan Stevens' golden pen. The album title refers to Royal Robertson (1930-1997), a black Louisiana-based artist and sign-maker (working with poster boards, magic markers, and glitter). A self-proclaimed prophet (suffering from schizophrenia), dealing with "...space aliens, futuristic automobiles, eccentric monsters, and signs of the Last Judgment, all cloaked in a confusing psychobabble of biblical prophecy, numerology, Nordic mythology and comic book jargon..." ! In other words: The perfect inspiration for a theme album by Sufjan Stevens. And, a perfect mixture of darkness, despair and loneliness on one side, and hope, romance and happiness on the other. Apocalypse now, but with light at the end of the tunnel.

The Age of Adz (which is pronounced odds) is massive. M.A.S.S.I.V.E. It's a grand and majestic journey, musically as well as lyrically. The record's first 10 tracks are somewhat normal in length and format, but the album culminates with the 25 minute 34 seconds long "Impossible Soul"! Radio-friendly is not a word in Stevens' dictionary. Sufjan Stevens' music and storytelling means layers upon layers, or multiple Chinese boxes, and needs a long, long for full digestion and total enjoyment.

Copyright © 2010 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Sufjan Stevens articles/reviews: All Delighted People EP, Blue Bucket of Gold (remix), Carrie & Lowell, Come on feel the Illinoise, Greetings From Michigan - The Great Lake State, No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross, Seven Swans, Silver & Gold, The Avalanche: Outtakes & Extras from Illinois Album, The BQE.

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