Tuesday, September 03, 2013

The Semantic Schizophrenia of Sufjan Stevens

Check this out, from medium,com:

The Semantic Schizophrenia of Sufjan Stevens
On Sufjan Stevens’s The Age of Adz.

I understand (and so will you) the eyeroll-inducing irony of my adopting the exaggeration and melodrama that characterize Sufjan Stevens’s The Age of Adz as rhetorical techniques in a review of said album, but I would be lying if I didn’t say that the album transcends its medium more than any other mainstream piece of art I’ve seen in the last decade (only Animal Collective’s 2009 psychedelic video-album collaboration with director Danny Perez, ODDSAC, comes close). 

The Age of Adz is, first and foremost, a narrative, one that unfolds like a Matroshka doll of meaning: every sound and word has double-, triple-, even quadruple-entendres, and each beat/note/rest/tempo-change is equally as important as the vocals and lyrics with regards to deducing the nuances of the stories Stevens and Robertson have to offer.

Take, for example, the album title: “The Age of Adz” can be interpreted as either “The Era of Ads,” i.e., a time dominated by visual and aural bombardment (“Adz” rhymes with “odds,” and Stevens purposely chooses a word with multiple potential pronunciations); or “The Agingof Adz,” as in the album being a tale of the growth of a creative self, Adz being the alter-ego of  cont

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