Thursday, October 21, 2010
Sufjan Stevens | The Age of Adz
A couple days ago I bought Sufjan Stevens' newest album, The Age of Adz. I had read some reviews beforehand and knew that it was going to be different than Michigan and Illinois, which gave me some hesitation about buying it. I really like the folk stylings of those albums (as well as Seven Swans), and I wasn't sure how I was going to deal with change. And now that I have the album...well, I'm still not sure.
The music is actually right up my alley, even more so than the folk music I had so much fallen in love with. It's a mix of orchestration, electronica, pop, and vocal effects that somehow manages to stay true to Sufjan in the process. He doesn't get lost in the technology, like I had feared would happen when I heard about the change in musical direction he was taking. He has such a distinct sound and style, and I thought that might disappear. Fortunately, it isn't.
The lyrics are, well...I'm not sure what Sufjan is trying to tell us. Some people think he's struggling to reconcile his homosexual inclinations with his Christian faith. Other people think he's telling stories from the perspective of multiple characters in his music, and some of those characters are females. Or is the whole album about Royal Robertson, the artist whose art and life inspired it in the first place? I don't know how to interpret the lyrics of The Age of Adz because I'm not sure what perspective he's writing from.
Is Sufjan gay? I don't know. Is he a Christian? Yes. Is he a talented artist who has managed to take his music in an entirely new direction and still create something both amazing and true to himself? What a ridiculous question. Of course. Do yourself a favor: Get real, get right with the Lord, and buy this album.