It’s been five years since Sufjan Steven’s last full-length album of original songs, 2005’s Illinois. His new effort, The Age of Adz, is like Stevens opening the diary contained within his heart… and from the very first song, he is revealing in his words: “It’s been a long long time since I memorized your face/It’s been for hours now since I wandered through your place/And when I sleep on your couch I feel very safe/And when you bring the blankets I cover up my face/I do love you/I do love you…” From this very first stanza, the listener is once again drawn back into all the reasons why they fell in love with Sufjan Stevens in the first place.
In the next song, “Too Much,” he continues with his confessional lyrics – he has taken his ability to expose himself completely to a whole new level on this album; all while keeping his adventure for experimenting with sounds and instruments in tact. With “I Walked,” he delves into both synthesized electronics and the heavenly voices of a rich, soulful choir in the background – a contrast that not only works surprisingly well, but also redefines Stevens as one of the best artists of his generation.
The Age of Adz does not shy away from any topics. There is exploration into not only love and heartache, but age, maturity, and even death. Despite the often somber themes, the final song, “Impossible Soul,” is over 25 minutes of hopeful singing heavy in loops and horns – a high note to end an album that is so dark with meaning in some places. Yes, he made us wait five years, but after listening to this new album, it was well worth the wait.
The Age of Adz will be available on double vinyl on November 9th, for those of you looking to keep your record collection up to date and impressive.
By: Amanda Chatel
Here’s “Too Much,” live: