Album of the Year 2010: Number 4

Sufjan Stevens: The Age of Adz (Asthmatic Kitty Records) [9.5]

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It’s with a heavy heart that I place this here, three places below where it was only a few weeks ago. It’s been a tough choice separating the conscious decision about what the best music of the year and who my favourite artist of the last few years is and coming up with a list that works…

So putting the fact that Sufjan is some sort of music god to one side and admitting that three albums this year are better (one of those keeps climbing) has been hard but necessary and so we see him here, with his third top five spot in five years (number three in 2005 with Illinoise and number one last year with The BQE).

So why has he finished up at number four and not higher this time? It’s as much to do with Sufjan’s attempt to find the perfect sound than with anything else, as in this album we get a real sense of the two sides of Sufjan: first is the Sufjan that needs no real explanation of quality, the side that marries gorgeous tunes to his presence-filled voice…

 

Sufjan is as Sufjan does

Followed by the Sufjan that infuriates, even though I understand exactly what he’s doing, that is the experimental Sufjan, playing around with styles, instruments and even his voice to see what the results are. It’s funny, as it’s rare to hear him described as experimental, mostly alternative, yet he’s one of the most experimental artists I know.

Stevens released this album and an EP this year (All Delighted People) and seeing as the EP is as long as the album, I would have loved him to have done an Eels and released two albums. If he’d done that he could have released one album of experimental tunes and one of the stuff you see above, which would have been easily my album of 2010.

Which, leads me onto an announcement now, and that is the song of 2010 and what better place to announce it, for it is…

 

Taken from All Delighted People 2010.
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About Mark S. Deniz

English teacher, writer, editor, publisher, reviewer and blogger. Founder of publishing company, Morrigan Books and imprint, Gilgamesh Press and editor-in-chief for review site, Beyond Fiction. Also cycles, plays floorball, listens to lots and lots of music, reads a ton of books and tries to fit in some TV, film and writing too. View all posts by Mark S. Deniz

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