Day 155: [THEME WEEK] I Walked by Sufjan Stevens (+Too Much)

16 Nov

Hey there!

Once again, I present SUFJAN STEVENS THEME WEEEEEEK!

Mask atop his head.

Today, I picked two songs off his newest CD to preview for ya today. Why two songs and not just one? Well there’s just too much of his music to keep away from you! Besides, I wanna give you guys a reason to buy his latest masterpiece Age Of Adz. It’s that good.

I listened to “I Walked” first, mainly because about four people recommended it to me, and I was impressed.

But what I didn’t realize was the idea that Age of Adz is on a whole different mindlevel than that of  Illinois or his other albums (Greetings From Michigan or Seven Swans…). What Adz has is deepness. It has melancholy. It has an extremely creepy feel to it. And it is quite possibly one of the most intense albums I’ve ever listened to.

Sufjan’s crooning voice is forced and backed by an array of strong orchestral sounds and booming electronic blips and beeps… something he is not used to. And while I was taken by surprise to hear that the adorable banjo-lover had put down the folky sound to pick up the new-age fads, I was completely drawn to it.

The reason this album is on my list of best albums of the year is because it is a creatively genius album. Sufjan has poured his heart and feelings out on the album, creating a sense of self-reconcilliation that he is going through. At one point (in the beautiful lyrics of “Vesuvius”) he begins to talk to himself: “Sufjan, follow the path/It leads to an article of imminent death/Sufjan, follow your heart/Follow the flame/Or fall on the floor/Sufjan, the panic inside/The murdering ghost/That you cannot ignore…” Now I’m not entirely sure if the album is his preparation of death from the illness he contracted (it involved some sort of serious nervous system virus), or if this is his mind… but all I wanted to do was give him a huge hug. “I want to be well/I want to be well/I want to be well/I want to be well…” he sings over and over in the song titled “I Want To Be Well.” Apparently he’s “NOT F***ING ARROOOUNNDD” either about this!

Regardless, Age of Adz is a reflection of how genius Sufjan Stevens actually is. He can go from sweet, light-hearted Illinois to the dark, metropolis-like* Age of Adz and pull it off! I feel like I’m watching a moving picture of his mind when I listen to each song, which is difficult to comprehend with all the sub-par music out there these days.

*when I say “metropolis-like”, I mean it kind of reminds me of the old, silent film Metropolis (1927). Watch it if you haven’t watched it before

Anyways. The first song I want to feature today is “I Walked.” It’s the closest thing to what would be a “single” off this album, but it’s solid nonetheless.

Finally, as a bonus, I wanted to throw on my favorite song off the whole album (it’s actually tied with another of his songs that I want to feature on a later date). It’s called “Too Much”, and while it’s a little strange and overtly techno, it’s still a fantastic song.

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