Sometimes an artist needs to make changes in their music for their own sanity. It’s understandable that bands and artists want to break out of their mold and try something different. Sometimes it’s a successful venture. Sometimes it’s a tragedy. Sufjan Steven’s latest confuses me.
I liked most of the All Delighted People ep he released earlier this year. The experimental and more electronic pieces weren’t my favorite and didn’t make a ton of sense at the time but they weren’t bad. I’m starting to wonder if All Delighted People was released to get fans used to an electronic version of Sufjan.
The Age of Adz has all the makings of an excellent Sufjan Stevens record. The songwriting is the same and you can hear how the songs should sound. But instead of the great lush instrumentation that we’re used to hearing from Sufjan Stevens, we get a mostly electronic record. Where banjos, guitars, and rich horn sections would’ve filled the stereo we now get a cold synth sound. Wherever there is live instrumentation, it’s overtop these drum machines and synth bass lines.
While the songs are fine in and of themselves, the instrumentation really throws me for a loop. I really would love to hear these songs given the normal Sufjan treatment. This album could’ve been amazing and a record of the year contender but Sufjan was his own worst enemy on The Age Adz.