Sufjan Stevens is one of the most interesting musicians that I know of. The fifty states project, a symphony devoted to an expressway, Christmas EP's, the list of intrigue goes on and on. After dabbling back and forth with the idea of ending his public music career for the last couple years, his All Delighted People EP surprised the heck out of most of us. Then the announcement came about The Age of Adz, and years of built of anticipation have culminated into this LP. No, I'm not exaggerating.
Technically Sufjan Stevens has released several projects since his earth shattering Illinois album, but this is the first one people are truly looking at. It's not outtakes, remixes, a compilation, an EP, or symphony. It's a bonafide, brand new, traditional album with lyrics, music, and interesting cover art. This album does exactly what it needs to do.
Though to most people it will probably not hold up in comparison to Illinois, in terms of importance I see the two albums of equal. As if he needed to do so, this album PROVES Stevens' unending skill at songwriting while at the same time exploring new territory. Do many other musicians maintain the balance between creativity and originality as well as Sufjan? I can't think of an example.
I'm not going to go through each song or award the album a number out of ten; there are probably 9000 websites you can go to for that. I am going to say, however, that this album is a spectacular work of art, one of the best albums I have ever listened to, and does not disappoint at all. It's different, but in the sense that each Jones soda flavor is unique yet equally satisfying. The five minutes or so starting at 13:00 of the track "Impossible Soul" are possibly the best five minutes my ears have consumed in years.