When You Live, You Give It All You’ve Got

The tagline above are lyrics from Sufjan Stevens’ album The Age of Adz.

The song has the same name as well. I have been a big Sufjan fan since college. I was a dj for my university’s radio station, and we had to “program” cds, which pretty much means, make sure they didn’t say any words banned by the FCC, time each song, and write a little bit about the album itself and if it was worth playing or not.

Greetings to Michigan came out during that time, and I took it home to listen. It was like nothing I had ever heard before. I went back to his older albums which had a bit more religious overtones, and required a bit more patience I think. Of course after this, I was waiting for everything he would make and looking forward to a concert.

Seven Swans came next (which I still can listen to from start to finish), and then Come on and Feel the Illinoise, which pushed the introvert into the indie limelight, all thanks to the film Little Miss Sunshine.

There were somethings in between….B sides from Illinoise, Christmas albums, the film in honor of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. But The Age of Adz is the first full length album Stevens has released since Illinoise.

It is a far cry from his other works. Not as sparse and landscape-esque as Michigan. There are very few bells and chimes in this album. It addresses some of the same heavy subject matter of Seven Swans, but with a more upbeat tone.The sweeping, turn of the century musical feel of Illinoise is also absent. This album is rooted in the 2010s–with autotune, lots of synthesizers, and dare I say it, dancey beats.

The song writing of Stevens is one of his strengths. You feel as if you are privy to all the fears, hopes, and dreams that he might not articulate in any other way.

I highly recommend it.

Standout Tracks to me– Too Much; Impossible Soul; Get Real Get Right; Futile Devices


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