88.1 WKNC’s Pick of the Week 10/28
By WKNC DJ Margot
Sufjan Stevens has been silent for the last five years. His last album, Illinoise, was released early in the summer of 2005 and consisted of his usual, brilliantly haunting pop that is anything but normal.
The Age of Adz, released in early October of this year, follows a different path for Stevens. Instead of the orchestral arrangements we have come to know and love from his older albums, Age of Adz is brimming with electronic sounds and synthesizers.
For many Stevens followers, such as myself, this album instilled shock and anger. Stevens already took the originality that we loved and threw it to the ground. Everything has changed.
Stevens is no longer following his quest to create an album for each of the 50 states. Shocked fans discovered that the states mission was only an advertising scheme.
Listening to the new album, there is hardly a hint of Stevens’s famous banjo. This news hurts.
But, by giving The Age of Adz a chance and a good listen, fans are able to see Stevens as the artist he represents. He is no longer a one-sound musician, but a genuine talent who has more to offer the world.
For those who have not experienced any music by Stevens, this is the time. Stevens covers a full spectrum of sound. The Age of Adz gives listeners a taste of the future for music.
Brass instruments mixed with electronic, constant beeps followed by trills and Stevens’s known harmonies alongside auto-tuned tracks – this combination of sounds, both old and new, shows the expanse and brilliance of the artist that is Sufjan Stevens.
For fans who are like me, take a deep breath, plug-in and listen to The Age of Adz with an open mind. Stevens is still there, under all of that new sound. We first fell in love with him for his originality. Now we can fall in love with him all over again.
Instead of following Stevens through the past and present of Michigan and Illinoise, let him guide you into the future with The Age of Adz.
We expected great things and he followed through with something greater than we could have imagined.
If you are still looking for the old Stevens, listen to the first track, “Futile Devices,” which falls closely in line with Stevens’s 2004 album, Seven Swans. The best example of his combination of sounds is, “I Want to Be Well,” which is featured toward the end of the album.
With Stevens, nothing can go wrong.
88.1 WKNC Pick of the Week is published every Friday in the print edition of Technician, as well as online at technicianonline.com and wknc.org.