Fresh off of his newest album Age Of Adz, Sufjan Stevens has just released his the first music video.
Featuring the song “Too Much” the video features some out-of-this-world dancing mixed with extremely trippy effects throughout. There’s not a lot to ponder here, just a lot of dance moves and crazy video tricks. And isn’t that what we all really want anyways? Enjoy!
Catch it right here.
Sufjan Stevens can make anything sound beautiful. Even a song that sounds like it came straight from a Gameboy, which he skillfully demonstrates in his most recent album, Age of Adz. It opens with the typical Sufjan sound that we all know and love. “Futile Devices” is hushed vocals and delicate guitar strumming, interrupted by cheerful plucking. However, any resemblance of another Seven Swans album quickly disappears as soon as the first beat from the next track hits. Burbling synths and subtly erratic beats in “Too Much” ease the album in a new direction. And despite the warped trombones and weird synths, “Too Much” preserves the simple beauty that Stevens manages to create in every track.
After “Too Much” the “easing” into a new direction ends abruptly, and the album quickly takes off with agressive immediacy. Title track, “Age of Adz,” is sudden and loud, with industrial beats and ominous choruses of “oooohhhs” and “ahhhhhs.” As the song begins, one might imagine standing in a fiery factory, surrounded by angry builders in welders masks. But when Stevens comes in, his voice leaves behind the fiery depths and guides the song to a better, lighter place, assuring that “this is the age of adz/eternal living” (whatever that means). Like most tracks on the album, this song is a true hybrid–fluttering synths alongside a frenzy of stringed instruments and electronic blips blending with majestic horns. But unless you pay very close attention, the contrast of musical styles goes unnoticed and the sounds fit effortlessly together.
Other notable tracks are “Bad Communication” and “All for Myself,” both a little slow and sad. I wouldn’t call them “downers,” but they certainly evoke feelings of longing and heartbreak. But beautiful heartbreak. “Bad Communication” is a subdued, desperate plea to a loved one and “All to Myself” is a gentle, reflective monologue driven by strong lyrics and a passionate, swelling chorus.
From electronic beats reminiscent of Enjoy Your Rabbit to folksy guitars and a full-fledged orchestra, Age of Adz has obvious range. It’s a melting pot of various sounds and styles. Like Enjoy Your Rabbit met Seven Swans, had a quick encounter with Beck, used the “f” word a few times, and created the score for a musical starring Royal Robertson (the shizophrenic artist whose work is referred to by the album title). And then turned it into the soundtrack for a Nintendo game. And as crazy as it all sounds, it’s actually not that crazy at all. Stevens takes contrasting and somtimes difficult sounds and makes it all fit together in a beautiful, cohesive song. Which is even more admirable when you place that into the context of a 25-minute closing track. “Impossible Soul” is 25-and-a-half minutes of musical mayhem. Yet, that half hour consists of well-structured melodies and strong phrasing that thread the song together and turn something that one might hope to be “endurable,” into something that is remarkably enjoyable.
While Age of Adz might be seen as going in a “new” direction for Stevens, it is, in fact, a culmination of “old directions.” Stevens has gathered his experiences from previous works to create an evolved–but somewhat familiar–collection of strange and beautiful songs.