Posted by Eli Cohen
Sufjan Stevens, the Detroit-native Indie artist best known for his ambitious 50 state project, has, it seems, once again taken himself in a new direction with his latest album "The Age of Adz," (pronounced "Odds"), which was released by Asthmatic Kitty Records on Oct. 12.
Already the album has proven its worth, landing a solid eighth place on the Billboard Top 100 albums. An artist known for his instrumentation as well as his elaborate orchestration, on his latest album Stevens added a new weapon to his arsenal — it appears he is a terrific electronic composer as well.
The album's opening track, "Futile Devices," is a relatively short track comprised of very simple, straightforward lines. The track has a similar sound to earlier Stevens work, such as his hit song "Chicago" off the album "IlliNOISE," the record that catapulted Stevens into the indie spotlight.
"The Age of Adz" quickly transforms into a very new sound for Stevens with the second track "Too Much," which starts off sounding much like a generic electronica song. But Stevens' instrumentation takes over, working in conjunction with the computer-synthesized sounds that open the track.
From there, the album oscillates back and forth between typical Stevens lilting ballads and heavily electronic experimentation, culminating in the 25-minute epic "Impossible Soul," a song unlike any tracks on previous Stevens albums. "Impossible soul" is heavily layered with choirs, Stevens' vocals and electronic beats.
The album is not without its downsides, as no album truly can be. The track "Get Real Get Right" has an overbearing and immovable repetition that makes it difficult to listen to all the way through. Also, the second to last track "I Want to Be Well" wallows in sickening self-pity, where Stevens laments the fact that (in his mind) people do not take him seriously. "Did I go at it wrong/Did I go intentionally to destroy me," Stevens asks.
As mentioned before, Stevens' previous claim to fame was his impressive goal to release a different album for every state. However, at 35-years-old with only three state-oriented records under his belt, this goal is becoming less and less likely. With the release of "The Age of Adz," music-lovers everywhere are beginning to agree that the idea was probably more of a media-grabbing ploy than a serious possibility, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
This new hit album is a refreshing new sound in a time when music has begun to come more and more from a certain mold. "The Age of Adz" is definitely positive overall, and will not displease fans of any genre.
Eli Cohen is a junior who likes to talk about music.