As you can notice, I’ve been very Sufjan heavy lately, ever since the All Delighted People EP released I haven’t been able to keep my ears away from his beautifully made music. I’m not even going to mention how crazy this guy is, or mock the 50 states project fiasco. Let’s be serious here, people.When I reviewed All Delighted People I praised its beauty and its long, yet fulfilling anthems that reached their climax in several occasions. If I remember correctly, I might have mentioned that if Age of Adz was filled with themes and moments like that, I would be very happy and satisfied. I wasn’t expecting this type of album, at least not until I heard “I Walked” back in August. This is a very big departure from Sufjan’s history-telling, and at times even religious instrumental folk. You know, what Sufjan used to do. Like, in Illinois most of the lyrics and themes were historical, biographical or just were based on external factors, with occasional faint personal remarks made by Sufjan. In this release, it’s all Sufjan, just the way you like it.
But the lyrics are not what’s most interesting about Sufjan’s “(sort of) new path”. Let’s talk about all the fucking instrumentality thrown in here just because. Of course, that’s what Sufjan does, anybody who listened to Illinois could notice how there’s usually about 2 symphonies playing in the background, however, it rarely got overwhelming, at least not because of the instrumentation. The thing is, it’s very different when your army of instruments consist mainly of electronic stuff. You hear this and you get a constant bombardment of synths and drum machines and then even more synths and more drum machines and then all the voice effects and the backing vocals and the echo and delay and the AUTO–TUNE and the noisy guitars and the backing voices and the weird sounding flutes and then robot voices and it’s really hard to keep up! It’s not hard to listen to, no it’s not. Nor is it hard to get into. It takes a while, but it’s not hard. There’s just too much of everything (ha! get it? because there is a song called “Too Much”? no?), and it makes it harder to connect and get the feel of this album.
Then there are all the Sufjan moments. You know, the highly emotional, drowsy, sometimes overwhelming, usually backed up by a dozen instruments moments. Yes, they are still here. “Vesuvius”, “I Want To Be Well” and “Impossible Soul” come to mind. Speaking of “I Want To Be Well”, I really like that song. I don’t really have songs that I like in this album, it’s more like moments that I like in it, but I do like “I Want To Be Well”, and “Impossible Soul”. There’s this moment in “I Want To Be Well” that reminds me of Radiohead’s Kid A and there’s also a moment that reminds me of that album in the end of the album that also reminds me of Radiohead, but apparently nobody likes to compare Radiohead to anything because Radiohead is Radiohead and nothing comes close to it. I don’t know about that, but those two moments really remind me of Kid A. Just sayin’. WELL I WANT TO BE, WELL I WANT TO BE WELL. Great song. And then there’s the chaotic end of the song with the “I’m not fucking around” line that sounds like Radiohead. Yes, it does.
And then there’s the end with the 25-minute “Impossible Soul”. Let me just say, that song does not feel like 25 minutes AT ALL. If anything, it feels about 10 minutes long. But there’s auto-tune in it. It’s actually a very awkward moment, I could do without it but I guess it serves its purpose in Sufjan’s twisted mind. May I mention that I really like the second part (after the auto-tune) part where Sufjan sings “We can do much more together!”? It makes me very happy. It sort of reminds me of that other song, “Djohariah” that closes the All Delighted People EP, except that “Djohariah” is much less focused and that makes it more beautiful and let’s face it, that song is the most beautiful song Sufjan has ever done, so, sorry Sufjan, but nice try! And also, sorry “Chicago”!
Favorite songs: Age of Adz, Impossible Soul, I Want to be Well, Vesuvius.
Least favorites: Not really any.
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