Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz
Critic Score
Based on 34 reviews
2010 Ratings: #141 / 924
Year End Rank: #15
User Score
2010 Rank: #16
Liked by 348 people
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CRITIC REVIEWS

100
Sputnikmusic

If the point of music is for us to take something from it - whether it be an emotional response or a change in mindset or any sort of inspiration - then The Age Of Adz is the most selfless album ever recorded, and Sufjan is the most giving composer.

91
Entertainment Weekly

The Age of Adz complements rather than distracts from the heartrending melodies and ambitious orchestration underneath.

90
Slant Magazine
Stevens’s conceptual obsessions continue on this trippy, orchestrated journey that is, in two words, beautifully neurotic.
90
Tiny Mix Tapes

The whole album is a gorgeous mess, and you’ll immediately want to be dragged through it all over again.

90
Pretty Much Amazing

The Age of Adz is a distinct change in style, but it is not, I would guess, a one-off experiment.

90
Prefix
Each pass cements that Stevens has done the impossible yet again: He's released another album that's both genre-defining and genre-defying.
90
Paste

It’s what you hope for from your favorite artists in your best moments—evolution, a little difficulty and, especially, something new.

89
Beats Per Minute

Words such as “experimental,” “bloated” and “different” will be thrown around, but the truth is that despite the new angle The Age of Adz does nothing but solidify Stevens’ position as indie rock’s most beloved and foremost purveyor of orchestral chamber-pop.

84
Pitchfork

But instead of succumbing to trends, Stevens barrels through with another long-form work that requires-- and rewards-- time and devotion.

80
NOW Magazine
In some ways the change in direction makes you feel closer to him than ever – especially if you can digest Impossible Soul, a 25-minute dissection of failed love at the end of this already lofty 75-minute charmer.
80
Mojo

The Age Of Adz ... is problematic for its mind-boggling ambitions, as Stevens harnesses his folkier songcraft and complex orchestration to electronica.

80
Record Collector
Brave and beautiful, this is a thoroughly modern statement of an album – and well worth the wait.
80
Q Magazine
Dazzling with its intensity, the futuristic splice of swooping symphonics and grimy looped percussion once again sets Stevens in his own orbit.
80
The Guardian
You emerge from the other side of it glad not just that Stevens continued to make music, but that he chose to follow his muse to such a radical, potentially divisive place.
80
Loud and Quiet
Mixing the traditional with the tools of the present, Stevens has crafted an album that half stays true to his original blue print but one that also offers a series of collisions between drum machines beats and analogue synthesisers.
80
The Irish Times

On The Age of Adz, his idiosyncratic imagination manifests itself in a sprawling collection of songs that mechanically rattle and clank, hiss, shudder, croon, pluck and elegantly sweep their way through 75 minutes.

80
Evening Standard
This daunting opus of 75 experimental minutes makes the florid indulgences of its predecessors sound like The Ramones.
80
Drowned in Sound

The Age of Adz is not an unqualified success; occasionally it does feel like a little too much, and until the dust has settled it is difficult to say where it will sit in his discography as a whole.

80
Under the Radar

The Age of Adz sonically recalls Enjoy Your Rabbit, where Stevens indulged in more electronics. In other words, neither sounds much like Illinois, with all of its sprightly tunes and exclamation points.

80
Consequence of Sound

The Age of Adz will divide not just audiences but individuals, making them itch for the comfort of Stevens’ banjo and unflustered, literary demeanor on the one hand, while making them thankful for his honesty and ambition on the other.

80
AllMusic
It's refreshing to hear him so candid, even if that forthrightness is festooned by enough bells and whistles to wake the dead.
75
A.V. Club

As an expression of a restless artist trying to stretch his own limits, The Age Of Adz is simultaneously admirable and exhausting.

70
Rolling Stone
It's a semiconcept record, using work by the artist Royal Robertson as a springboard for music that evokes a visionary psyche.
70
American Songwriter

The Age of Adz builds on his previous dabblings in electronica by integrating the ideas he has clearly been stewing with the aspects of his work so dear to fans.

70
Coke Machine Glow

Where he used be be so proficient at letting us hear the sound of his sad, sad heart, the directionless elliptical clutter that defines The Age of Adz just sounds to me like he's manufacturing an idea of what a sad heart might sound like. What's worse, it sounds self-indulgent.

70
SPIN

Stevens sated his jam-band jones in a borderline amusing way on August's All Delighted People EP, but here all the engine-revving too often feels lazy, especially considering how vibrantly he embraces the album's fresh musical direction elsewhere.

70
NME
Breathtakingly de trop in almost every regard, ‘The Age Of Adz’ also conjures just enough moments of heart-stopping gorgeousness to foot the bill for its dizzying excesses.
60
Uncut
The downside of Stevens' inward journey is that it seems to have eroded his confidence, leading to a maddening tendency to sabotage his best tunes.
60
The Needle Drop
Sufjan's latest LP isn't going to go down in history as one of my favorites, but it's not like it's all that bad either.
60
PopMatters

Like its concluding song, The Age of Adz is occasionally transfixing, but overall inconsistent.

50
Billboard
“The Age of Adz” pales in comparison to Stevens’ past acoustic masterpieces, but considered on its own terms, the set offers an intriguing take on electro-folk.
50
No Ripcord

Sure there’s some nice stuff here and no one ever said Stevens lacked ideas. But I’m telling you that despite this, The Age of Adz is a major misfire from an artist of uncommon depth and talent.

46
Spectrum Culture

Electronic dabbling frequently has a way of making songs feel distant and hollow, and The Age of Adz is no exception, its thick layers of gadgetry preventing some of its songs from making any type of lyrical connection with the listener.

40
musicOMH

This is an extravagant and undisciplined album that is nearly impossible to digest.

amw100
92

is it a complete and utter mess? yes.
is the mixing a little off on a few tracks? yes.
is it still absolutely gorgeous? yes.
am i one of those weirdos that think that this is on parr with Illinois and Carrie & Lowell? you bet.

Toasterqueen12
97

Ⓢⓣⓞⓡⓜⓘⓝⓖ Ⓣⓗⓔ Ⓒⓐⓢⓣⓛⓔ 🏰🏯

I mean...what the fuck. How.

While I would say I am a fan of Sufjan, I kinda considered him a one trick pony a lot. Every album I heard from him was basically "Illinois...but worse!" That sad baby voice and some light string accompanying the music. It just never appealed to me. Besides Illinois with it's massive brass bands and chaining melodies ontop of melodies. And even then, I feel like the first half of the album ... read more

ConcreteCastles
93

SUFJAN!

Honestly, I wasn't expecting myself to enjoy this album that much. Sufjan Stevens is quickly becoming one of my favourite artists, and I think at this moment he IS my favorite artist (Sorry Radiohead). I haven't listened to a single release that falls short. In terms of Sufjan solo albums, I dont think one exists (with the exception of A Sun Came, which I haven't listened to, but I've heard it's mediocre.)

I literally finished this album and immediately replayed it. I adore this ... read more

JacobHingst
89

I prefer illinois by a bit but sufjan has really been pushing the boundaries of what just one Mandan do for his entire career. This album is so beutiful just like all his projects.

larkwashere
92

this is the sufjan that we know and love. this is on par with illinois and easily clears carrie and lowell. the creativity on this thing through the roof.

i mean, there are so many beautiful and emotional moments on this album. of course, there's the sad quiet ballads that we all are familiar with, such as "futile devices". on this album, he experiments with electronic sounds, and that creates beautiful moments too -- like the cathartic "impossible soul" or "all for ... read more

MikeShinoda
90

Mike Shinoda approved.

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Track List

1Futile Devices
2:13
95
2Too Much
6:45
91
3Age of Adz
8:01
92
4I Walked
5:02
89
5Now That I'm Older
4:57
87
6Get Real Get Right
5:12
85
7Bad Communication
2:26
82
8Vesuvius
5:28
91
9All for Myself
2:57
88
10I Want to Be Well
6:28
93
11Impossible Soul
25:34
95
Total Length: 1 hour, 15 minutes
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