Sufjan Stevens | The Age of Adz – 2010

Bringing back the neon space opera rock.

This is my album of 2010. This is how all pop music should be. My enjoyment was increased by watching Sufjan performing this album in concert at the State Theatre, as part of the Festival of Sydney (this was the antidote for the booing of John Malkovich in the Opera House, but that’s a different story).

Marg and I saw the very colourful, all singing, all dancing Sufjan Stevens at the State Theatre a couple of weeks ago performing The Age of Adz. All was double drums, electronic, triple trombone and neon. Musically and visual a stunning concert. The only time I’ve enjoyed a concert built around an album. It’s noisy and messy and, due to the skills of the 11 musicians, it had all the right measures of control and chaos. The album is the same, with degrees of chaos and discord that pop music needs to avoid the dangers of middle aged diabetes. There is no saccharin in this album. The was a spectacle of a concert and an album.

Stevens’ earlier albums are almost fey folk acoustic with  either big complicated arrangements or Christian Christmas songs. The Age of Adz is a Sci Fi Space Opera, with limited banjo input and complete with UFO’s, weird graphics and dance rhythms (r-hymns?). The album is a tribute to the Prophet Royal Robertson, a schizophrenic artist with strange future visions. Not great art, but it inspired a great album.

Despite all the big space opera weirdness, this is an emotional album. The songs are about Vesuvius, UFO’s, insecurities, excess of passions. Sufjan’s voice is very good at conveying a fraility of emotion. His voice is never strained, although the emotions behind it may be. He experiments with some voice treatments on this, to great effect. The use of both auto tune and vocoder are fun and surprising. It is an album of surprises, the final song is a 25 minute opus, with the catchiest of dance breaks in the middle.

Wow, this album is great. It is big and full and complicated – difficult on the first few hearings, but persist and be rewarded. Suddenly Sufjan Stevens can be compared favourably to Bjork. Go and listen to this.


“Futile Devices”
“Too Much”
“Age of Adz”
“I Walked”
“Now That I’m Older”
“Get Real Get Right”
“Bad Communication”
“All for Myself”
“I Want to Be Well”
“Impossible Soul”
This entry was posted in 2010. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Sufjan Stevens | The Age of Adz – 2010

  1. Pingback: A life in albums | michaelsprott

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s