The Age of Adz - Sufjan Stevens
User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 122 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 10 out of 122

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  1. Oct 13, 2010
    10
    I'm not sure how or why anyone would rate an album without actually listening to it first. Why even waste your time posting a review. This album is a 10 and any BS vote of 6 without any frame of reference besides Sufjan's former album from 5 years ago is not accurate and meaningless.
  2. Oct 13, 2010
    9
    A soul searching, heartfelt, electronic masterpiece- with Sufjan's trademarks all over the album. I really liked Illinoise!, but I think I love The Age of Adz.
  3. Oct 19, 2010
    10
    This may be a divisive and unexpected album, but I love the experimentation and the heart-on-the-sleeve mentality of it. I find it very amusing that some people are thinking Sufjan is now suddenly acting "unpredictable" and " weird." Come on people, he's always been that way, people. This is a guy who named one of this songs: "A Conjunction of Drones Simulating the Way in Which Sufjan Stevens Has an Existential Crisis in the Great Godfrey Maze." I don't think you should be freaked about by some electronic elements or autotune. Expand
  4. Oct 18, 2010
    6
    It's by no means a bad album, and i applaud him for trying something different. Well, sort of. Maybe it isnt fair that i had listened to illinois and seven swans right before i heard the age of adz, but its just not the same. its got its highlights and improves with each listen, but man did sufjan take an odd turn...
  5. Oct 13, 2010
    10
    The greatest album of the year. And I think this is the best album Sufjan has ever made. One of my favorite songs is the closer "Impossible Soul" a 25 minutes epic piece you'd love to listen.
  6. ScS
    Oct 12, 2010
    10
    Two things are obvious about The Age of Adz: this album is bold, and this album is pure genius. Sufjan combines his signature melodiousness with complex, lush orchestration, a frantic aesthetic, and a knack for surprising his demanding audience. The result is possibly the best work of his prolific career.
  7. Oct 13, 2010
    10
    This is easily Sufjan Stevens' best album! So what, if it doesn't sound like Illinoise...good! It is only expected after five years of not releasing anything - right? Wouldn't you want something completely different? This album is dark, honest, and mesmerizing.
  8. Oct 15, 2010
    3
    Sufjan has completely turned his back on his older material, to the point where he only played 3 old songs at his live show in Toronto, all off of Illinois. The audience did not respond to his new material. Its irritating, repetitive, self-indulgent, lacking melody, and Sufjan can't connect properly to the audience. Its great for him that he went off on a new path and can't stand playing his gimmicky old material, but where does that leave us? It's weirdness makes for rock critic fodder, but it's a crap listen, front to back. Expand
  9. Oct 17, 2010
    5
    After listening to this album all the way through, I found this album overly pretentious and nothing close to Sufjan's masterpiece Ilinois. The album sounds the same throughout, and I had a difficult time differentiating the songs from each other. There is a lack of melodies in the album leaving a compilation of songs that are not memorable in any way. With these statements said, The Age Of Adz is not a bad album. Sufjan attempts to create an innovative album abandoning the orchestral arrangements replacing it with electronica sounds. While I am not a connoisseur in electronic music, the album sounds like nothing I have ever heard before. It is unique and enjoyable if taken in small amounts. The standout track is obviously the 25 minute "Impossible Soul," which blends many of elements Stevens is known for. The song is eclectic, and truly a masterpiece. But I wish I could say that about the rest of the album. The rest of the songs are repetitive and overly ambitious. Many of the songs are just electronica messes. Sufjan Steven's The Age Of Adz is a step in a different direction; while the first attempt is essentially very average, it is not a failure. "Impossible Soul" makes this album strive, but the rest is disappointing and ultimately ambition gone wrong. Expand
  10. Oct 12, 2010
    10
    Nice BigBrother. "With time" we will understand this is **** huh? And you have some special insight that provides you with the ability to make the proclamation that this is "shite" without the passage of time? Give me a break. All the bloggers saying, "The Pitchfork crowd just love this because it's Sufjan, blah blah" sound like the pathetic broken record that they are. This is gorgeous, brainy stuff, no matter how you slice it. It is telling that some critics and fans have noted that "I Want To Be Well" sounds like Sufjan doing his best Thom Yorke because, if, with his name, the Radiohead frontman released this exact same album, you know it would be showered with every accolade possible (How do I know? Because this album is superior to not only Yorke's excellent "The Eraser," but also Radiohead's last critical darling "In Rainbows." Yes, only time will tell just how good "The Age of Adz" really is. But I strongly suspect, like the other masterpiece from 2010 "The Suburbs," that this will be regarded as one of the most important albums of the year, if not the decade. Expand
  11. Oct 12, 2010
    10
    Dense with sound. Hyper-saturated maximalism. Quite brilliant and bold. Distills a wide range of styles and influences. Really impressed with the brass and woodwind elements.
  12. Oct 12, 2010
    10
    there is so much more going on here than songs on an album with funny noises. this album is the most vulnerable and confessional we have ever heard sufjan. we are hearing the struggle of â
  13. Oct 15, 2010
    9
    As a disclaimer, I should state I have always been reserved in my response to Stevens' work. I appreciate the mastery he displays over his craft, but for some reason I have consistently failed to connect with his work. A subjective judgment, I know, but such is the nature of music. So, I didn't have high expectations for this album, however, I must say this may be the album that *finally* offers me a window into the world of Sufjan. As much as it is a departure from his previous work (darker, less concept oriented, electronic influences), it retains a distinct Sufjan feel with its idiosyncratic musical structures and instrumentation that, at times, make you work hard as a listener. It is ultimately, however, the incorporation of electronic instrumentation (though at times it sounds a little too much like Postal Service for my taste) and a more pessimistic outlook (though plenty of hope is still here) that draw me in. This Sufjan seems more self-aware than I have ever seen him, and he ridicules his own fame while still offering bittersweet hope to his listeners.

    "I Walked" may be the best lost love song in recent memory. The understated pulse of electronics overlaid by Sufjan's beautiful falsetto drives home the sense of ache the lyrics communicate. And who has the right to write lyrics like "Lover, will you look from me now / I'm already dead / but I've come to explain / why I left such a mess on the floor / For when you went away / I went crazy. I was wild with the breast of a dog / I ran through the night / with the knife in my chest / with the lust of your loveless life?"

    Sufjan Stevens clearly has a lot more to offer. Despite my aforementioned skepticism over his music, this album has instantly entered discussion for 10 best of the year!
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  14. Oct 15, 2010
    10
    Listeners familiar with Stevensâ
  15. Oct 18, 2010
    10
    My favorite album of the year. Whats good about Sufjan is that he mixes it up a bit. This album is very different from past albums and i give the guy credit for trying to change his sound. Most bands and artists try the same material over and over again, but this guy likes to push himself. Sufjan is like the Mozart of our time. In Illinois he brought in all the instruments and in The Age Of Adz he brings electronics and simplicity. It takes some time to take in this masterpiece, but when you do, you realize how great it really is. One of the best albums of the year, and also an album that will be looked at more in the future. Good Job Sufjan! Your The Man! Expand
  16. Oct 12, 2010
    10
    Evolution is a natural process for all living things. We see it in the plants, the trees, and the animal kingdom. We see it in human beings, we see it in art, and we see it in music. What Sufjan has presented here is musical evolution. He had accomplished what so many other once-prolific artists have failed to - he has continued to adapt his sound and push the envelope in new directions. Is he the first artist to utilize a mash-up of lo-fi electro and stringed/classical instruments? Surely not. But he has done it in such a way that is so captivating, so creative, and so entertaining that I find myself coming back to it day after day. If you're a seasoned Sufjan fan, you may be surprised at some of the decisions he has made on this album, but give it time. After one listen you'll realize you have just experienced one of the most sonically-beautiful albums of the new millennium. If I was to somehow travel back in time to the days of Mozart, or Beethoven, etc. . . I would play them songs from this album and tell them, "Yes, this is the music of the future." Expand
  17. Oct 12, 2010
    10
    Don't be put off by some reviews saying The Age Of Adz is too inaccessible or weird. The electronic aspects only add to songs that are as tuneful, melodic and lovable as ever. Lyrically and thematically this is the most honest and personal album Sufjan has ever made and I love it just as much or more than anything he's done before. It's different to Illinois, but no less amazing or treasuable. It does take a few listens (at least) to fully appreciate though. Expand
  18. Oct 12, 2010
    6
    I haven't heard this album, but it sounds promising. (I'm giving it a strong 6, based on the over-rated Illinois.) As for the Radiohead's In Rainbows, I think it is one of their top 3, and that's saying a lot. Arcade Fire? Shrug. I find The Suburbs to be competent indie rock fare, that is frankly a little boring. I was really looking forward to it, but they kind of lost me this time. That said, I did like Neon Bible, and will be giving them another chance next time around. Cheers. Expand
  19. Aug 10, 2011
    10
    The first time I left a review for this album I was dumb struck by all the great reviews it was getting upon it's release. It took me a lot more time than usual to get into this album. There is so much depth and levels to this album that it just takes some time to fully digest it. At this very moment it is now my very favorite album in the world. I've seen him on tour with this album and it was my most very favorite tour ever! I can't say enough good things! Expand
  20. dtb
    Oct 22, 2010
    10
    I registered on metacritic just to give this record a 10. It is beautiful and unique and wonderful. Put your headphones on for the full auditory experience, and be sure to listen past the sonic incredibleness and get to the soulfulness. When All Delighted People came out, I thought it was a little harsh to call it an EP because it is pretty complete effort. But now, in context, it makes sense. The Age of Adz is so fully developed that it makes (the really, really good) ADP seem almost like a throwaway effort. Total musical bliss. Expand
  21. Oct 19, 2010
    8
    I would first like to commend Mr. Stevens for creating another unique album experience. As an artist, Sufjan Stevens manages to blend so many interesting styles and instruments together to have a sound all of his own. Is "The Age of Adz" his masterpiece...? To me, no. However, this album has kept me thoroughly enthralled and coming back for more this past week. The album doesn't have the folk roots that both Illinoise, or Michigan had. This may be a problem for many fans of his earlier work. The warmth of his storytelling, and instrumentals have changed for a (what some would call) a colder-electronic feel. For me, this is not a problem. In fact, i embrace his new style on this cd, and it works for the most part. The album truly shines on certain tracks "Too Much," "Vesuvius," and "I Walked". These tracks are beautiful as they mix Sufjan's usual brass and strings skills, with an electronic twist. Another track that has surprised me was the 25:35 minute long "Impossible Soul." I feared that i would quickly become bored with this very ambitious track. However, it's quite the opposite. I love the track. It's entertaining, and changes enough to keep it interesting throughout. The Age of Antz is a welcome and successful change for Sufjan Stevens, an artist who is always changing and experimenting. I can imagine his next effort will be a different experience all together than brings together as well as alienates some fans. I would recommend this album to anyone who wants something new, and emotional. Expand
  22. Nov 22, 2010
    10
    This CD is a lot like Illinois, in that both albums are practices in maximizing what is available to use in music. Illinois was more baroque-ly orchestrated while Age of Adz is more electronic and bombast in its orchestrations. I like the direction Sufjan is taking, and "Impossible Soul" is song of the year.
  23. Nov 6, 2011
    7
    The Age of Adz is a really tremendous feat for Sufjan Stevens. He's put together this massive, huge, record spilling over with content, and it stands up. Its not perfectly coherent, but songs like the title track and impossible soul are so majestic and explosive it makes up for its faults, and delivers on most fronts.
  24. Oct 20, 2010
    8
    This is by no means a "bad" album, but may be a little too dense to make the right impact on the first listen. Listening to this reminds me of something like a Kid A or Amnesiac. I only could appreciate those albums after multiple playthroughs. If you are looking for accessible, look elsewhere. If you want to dissect a lush album, give it a try... or two or three.
  25. Oct 25, 2010
    6
    As others have stated, it's not a bad thing for musicians to explore new territory in successive releases. However, in doing so you're always taking the risk of alienating old fans. The leap from Illinoise to Age of Adz isn't so great that you'd suspect it wasn't even the same artist, but it's still enough to turn some people off. Yes, the instrumentation is different but there's no mistaking that you're listening to a Sufjan song. Itâ Expand
  26. Oct 26, 2010
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I heard about Sufjan Stevens' recent tour the same day I heard about his new EP and album. After so long since anything new, I was stuck in this weird, phosphorescent void of recollecting his "oldies" as if they happened yesterday. I immediately bought tickets to the show (FRIDAY!), and figured I should buy the new album before seeing the show, figuring he would be doing more songs from the album and EP in promotion.

    I popped the CD in my car's stereo as I took a strange, unsolicited journey back home two hours to the coast. Having only heard the opening track, I got to feel the thrill of hearing a song for the first time, only duplicated tenfold by an entire album. "Futile Devices" is, really, the only recollection of "the old Sufjan" that so many people are **** about. A beautiful, atmospheric ode to simple love.

    "Too Much" begins a long string of songs that any long-time Sufjan fan would understand as nothing new, just expanded. The electronics scream over the blaring brass, much like "Enjoy Your Rabbit" touched on, except that instead of purely experimental noise, Stevens finds a perfect balance between his lofty dreamscapes by complimenting them with raucous cacophony, and it works.

    "Age of Adz" and "I Walked" swell to the eventual choirs of "Get Right Get Real" (a throwback to religion and Sufjan's God complex) and "Vesuvius", which tapers to a softer interlude of "All For Myself" before the album's nearly orgasmic climax of "I Want to Be Well". A master of tricky time signatures and odd arrangements, Sufjan shows off with, more than likely, his rawest track to date. Filled with droning, cussing ("I'm not **** around..."), and swirling orchestration, you'll need a cigarette by the end.

    As your enjoying that breath of fresh air, breathing a sigh of afterglow relief, he lets you rest your weary head with the epic, 25-minute "Impossible Soul". Built of five parts, opening with a very quiet, steady 4/4 electric piano sonnet, it builds to an Auto-Tune interjection, to which upon first listen, I actually proclaimed "What the hell is he doing?!" Raunchy guitar, chanting choruses, and a breathtaking outro of beautiful strings (guitars? mandolins? violins?), it fades out, with you wanting to start the whole thing over again.

    For those who thought "Illinoise", once proclaimed as the decades best album, was his magnus opus... "The Age of Adz" may be a contender. I change of pace, for sure, but nonetheless, a mindblowing masterpiece, and an easy candidate for a Grammy. It's been a long time since I've felt as emotionally moved by an album as this has left me feeling. A total body high.
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  27. Nov 5, 2010
    9
    This is not my favorite sufjan stevens album...
    it is my second favorite. I always like it when a musician breaks off into different genres and tries new things. some might find the Experimental nature of the album in audible, but i have loved every single beat of it.
  28. Nov 27, 2010
    9
    While not as immediate as his previous albums, the Age of Adz, like many great albums, takes some time to sink in. Once you dive into all of its beautiful subtleties you'll realize it's greatness. A beautiful and sublime piece of art.
  29. Jul 1, 2011
    10
    This album is just as masterful, if not more so, than Illinoise. It's rather sad to see some of these low ratings and general under-appreciation in the critic reviews. This will be remembered at the end of the decade as one of the best albums.
  30. Oct 12, 2010
    2
    Perhaps the most disappointing album of the year. This self-indulgent, pretentious album signifies everything that is wrong with the current trend in indie rock. Instead of developing actual songs, which I know he's capable of (see Illinois), he produces mediocre glitchy electronic noise. The one actual song on the album (I Walked), is destroyed by his inability to edit himself. His ego has become so monstrous that those around him are unlikely to challenge his musical decisions. This album's positive reviews here are undeserved and with time people will understand what a complete and utter failure it is. Expand
  31. Dec 20, 2010
    10
    This is the real beautiful dark twisted fantasy. I was skeptical when I heard samples of the album before its release, but after I downloaded and listened to the whole album a couple times through, I was blown away. Sufjan Stevens has truly reinvented himself as an artist. And despite what some people and critics say, it's still undeniably Sufjan. You can hear his strong sense of melody, not to mention, through all the electronics, mind you, the alternate instrumentation, i.e. strings and woodwinds, that's kind of his signature. The lyrics, the melodies, the atmospherics, everything about this album is mind-blowing. Expand
  32. Oct 27, 2010
    1
    I was appalled by the quality of this album. Especially, "Futile Devices" which is quite average in a sense that it sounds the same as every other song on the album except it has added nihilism which makes the overall quality of the album inappropriate and downright shameful to be called The Age of Adz.

    But that's just my opinion,
    - Jamie Valerio
  33. Nov 18, 2010
    10
    This album was an unexpected delight after _The_BQE_, which was good, but not very accessible. _The_Age_of_Adz_, on the other hand, is charming and energetic. Lyrically, it is thoughtful and transcendent, and it suggests the complexity of human emotion without making lists of grievances. Sonically, it is dense and lush, but so skillfully crafted that it both surprising and listenable. "I Walked" is, I think, the loveliest song of the year.

    Further, I think it's interesting that people are calling this album just an experimentation of noise of experimentation's sake. No, that was _Enjoy_Your_Rabbit_ or possibly "The BQE." Anyone with even a cursory familiarity with Stevens's work would know this.
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  34. Nov 23, 2010
    9
    I think anyone who negatively reviewed this album negatively perhaps has some sort of agenda against electronic music in general. This album instantly hit me as a contemporary classic. Songs of that burst in vast and complex waves of pretty layers combined with lyrics the likes of which are rarely heard these days. It's electronic music as it should be: Challenging but always fun, clever and beautiful. This album is all three and should not really be thought of with Ilinois in mind. It is a separate entity and a superb one at that. Moments that you know you will end up adoring pop up in every song of the album that slowly endear you to each and every one of them. Masterpiece. Enough said! Expand
  35. Dec 1, 2010
    5
    I'm pretty shocked at all the high reviews here and I was also pretty shocked after listening to the album but I wouldn't say it was in a good way. I really love experimental albums and I certainly appreciate what Sufjan Stevens was trying to accomplish, however I think he lacked the focus and polish to pull it off here. There are is a lot of good material on the album don't get me wrong (more than enough to fill an entire album), but in order to get to it you have to endure a lot of rubbish. This album is a bloated beast and will try the patience of all but the most devoted of fans.

    The album is really an extremely frustrating listen because the pattern is repeated on every single track - bursts of really great music interrupted with moments where you wish the album would just end already. Every time I started to really get into a song there is a drastic jarring interruption of electronic weirdness. And most of it doesn't sound modern or innovative, but kind of backwards. He doesn't seem comfortable at all with electronic music and it shows. The whole set of tracks just ends up seeming like a jumbled muddy mess after a few listens. Maybe it will grow on me but I doubt it.
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  36. Feb 8, 2011
    10
    Great! Sufjan Stevens is a genius, everything he does sounds new, not only the first time you listen to it, but every time. Again, he offers pure magical moments.
  37. Mar 10, 2011
    9
    This is easily the greatest album that sufjan has made to date. Revolutionary is the way to describe this album. Sufjan has his finger on the pulse of the indie music scene and now that he has gone electronic you will see several more bands going that way. Not only is this album superb musically but is also superb lyrically. This album is the deepest album in terms of emotions and lyrical depth.
  38. Jul 5, 2011
    10
    this is quite possibly my favorite sufjan album. it's actually disappointing to me how many people were expecting a quote-unquote normal album after the past few things sufjan had done. the bqe was anything but orthodox, and all delighted people was basically sufjan's farewell to folk songwriting. some of the lower ratings say that anyone who is a "real fan" can't possibly like this because it's so different. i guess we live in an era where artistic experimentation and growth are a bad thing, and real fans want their favorite artists to constantly dwell on the albums that made them famous. Expand
  39. Aug 1, 2011
    10
    I have never heard such sounds!!
    When I was hearing it I was thing"dam,you gt to know about music to do this album.
    The only problem I found was that no songs are as good as Impossible soul.
    But anyway It is pretty good!
  40. Aug 27, 2011
    9
    Such a thrilling album, it really took me a while until I fully appreciated it's genius but well worth the listening effort. The combination of all Sufjan's learned over his previous albums, especially Enjoy Your Rabbit, Illinois, and The BQE, is amalgamated to become what I consider his finest piece. The song that displays the strengths of Sufjan's songwriting and production skills is I Want to be Well. The crisp clasps of percussion juxtaposing the extended trills of flutes really does it for me. Expand
  41. Nov 19, 2011
    10
    I love Sufjan Stevens!! This album is a new thing I've hear from him. You're used to sweet soft sounds but here you have a new side of him. And this is noise but good noise. ALL music is noise. He put a new darker side to his music on his album. I think very well job. As sad in I want to be Well, He is not **** around.
  42. Jan 2, 2012
    9
    "Futile Devices", the album's dark, haunting intro leads as a foreboding to the oncoming apocalypse. "Too Much" is an upbeat track featuring bubbling percussion and an orchestra of synth. "Age of Adz" is an apocalyptic cry that brings on a full explosion of operatic pleasure in the newfound destruction. "Too Much" retreads the percussive ideas found in "Too Much" with cautious optimism. "No That I'm Older" is Sufjan howling at the moon surrounded by angels of death. In "Get Real Get Right", trumpets blare and flutes flutter while Sufjan sings with desire and hunger without an overblown passion. while in "Bad Communication" is almost a reprise to gather his thoughts and emotions. "Vesuvius" is a beautiful song about following ones heart (but without sounding clichéd). "All For Myself" is a piece that could've made it's way onto one of his older works, capturing his trademark cheer. "I Want to Be Well" begins fairly tame, but grows into an explosion of words and ideas. "Impossible Soul", the final track is a 25 minute cinematic experience that sounds like it could've made it's way to the Dark Side of the Moon. Truly an excellent work by Sufjan Stevens. Expand
  43. Jan 26, 2012
    9
    Sufjan is one of the greatest songwriters of this generation, and The Age of Adz is one of his most extravagant ventures. I feel like Sufjan explored some of the darker elements of his mind on this album. Insanity, lust, rejection, self doubt, and the apocolypse are just some of the themes he delves into. I wouldn't recommend this album to someone who is unfamiliar with Sufjan, but for those who are familiar with his other works, Age of Adz is another great addition to his already stunning discography. Expand
  44. May 20, 2012
    9
    Without losing a single flute trill from his last two proper albums, Sufjan has shifted his sound to a unique meld of his signature orch-pop with a dark and dramatic glitchiness that suits him well and, all in all, combines to make a finely crafted album that will be remembered among his best. It is, in all respects, a breakup album, but while an idea like this could have easily led to a set of unlistenably dull or, knowing Sufjan, more likely overindulgent, songs, each song is finely crafted, unique and refined to a standard almost beyond their Illinois counterparts. "Too Much" starts off as a calm song that could have been taken from almost any of his past albums before building into an anxious climax; "I Want to Be Well" saves the second half of the album from a potential dreariness with a fast beat and jumpy melody, and the 25-minute epic intricately detailed "Impossible Soul" brings the whole thing to a fantastic ending. Overall, simply an excellent followup to Illinois. Expand
  45. Oct 20, 2010
    2
    The album descends into experimentation for experimentation's sake. This is a shark-jumping effort in which the promise of the first two tracks is broken over and over again.
  46. Oct 26, 2010
    3
    This review contains spoilers. It's a terrible mess. Most of the song is bad .. I do not know what else to Vic wrote assessment is probably more apt. His previous work and know the experience of The Age of Adz it or not going to find. Collapse
Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. Jan 11, 2011
    70
    The combination is ethereal and transcendent.
  2. Dec 23, 2010
    88
    Stevens ventures widely on this 85-minute disc to find the best way to express what turn out to be basic home truths.
  3. Dec 21, 2010
    70
    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.