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Sufjan Stevens: All Delighted People


Tyler
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Link to the Sufjan Stevens!?! (Update: Interesting Review) thread where the All Delighted People EP has been discussed some already. Link also to the site where you can stream and buy the album.

I just finished my first listen, and it seems like a combination of Sufjan's quieter early-career music (Seven Swans, Michigan, his Christmas collection) and the experimental kitchen-sink freakout song "You Are The Blood" on the Dark Was the Night record, sometimes both at the same time, which doesn't seem like it should be possible. If you're looking for the chamber-pop feel of Illinoise, you might be a little put-off, though.

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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I've only been able to give this a cursory listen, but I like what I've heard so far. I've got an Amazon gift certificate, so I'll be buying it on Monday as quickly as possible.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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The last song, "Djohariah," appears to be named for Sujfan's sister. From Wikipedia:

He also has a sister named Djohariah, who he claims has the most complicated, most whimsical, most monumental laugh in all of mankind.

Does anyone know if that's Sufjan playing electric guitar on the song? If it is, I have underestimated his ability as a guitarist.

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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I've been listening to the EP all morning, and it's really growing on me. The production style took a little getting used to -- it sounds a little more abrasive and more "in your face" to my ears -- but that's a minor thing. I've really been stuck on "Djohariah", which is such a perfect fusion of Sufjan's many quirky sides -- experimental flourishes, bombastic orchestral arrangements, intriguing lyrical examinations, quieter folksy passages, etc. -- which all build to a triumphant, emotional climax.

And according to Asthmatic Kitty's website, "Djohariah" features Sufjan's "first recorded epic guitar solo".

Edited by opus

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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I just listened to that last track. At what point did Sufjan Stevens morph into Neil Young? It sounds like what 'Words' and 'Down by the river' would have sounded like if they were segments of Tubular Bells or Ommadawn.

And I like that very much.

Edited by stu
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Now a new album!!! Cannot wait.

http://asthmatickitty.com/the-age-of-adz

I've already pre-ordered my copy.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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Very much enjoying All Delighted People. The title track has been stuck in my head since I downloaded the album. And I'm remembering why I loved Sufjan so much three years ago (has it really been that long?) Now I suppose I'll have to track down Avalanche. And the new album.

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  • 2 weeks later...

PopMatters gives it a 6/10:

All Delighted People’s release was a complete surprise which allowed for a management of expectations. With no fanfare or hype, fans were unable to wait anxiously in hopes of another masterpiece. This was a smart move on Stevens’ part because All Delighted People is a minor letdown, but it could have been a major one had he allowed anticipation to build. Most damning of all is the EP’s title track: an absolute clusterfuck of hubris. It rages on for almost 12 minutes—winding through a gratuitous number of sections, piling on string and choral arrangements until there is no room for the song to breathe. It feels like he couldn’t decide how to execute the track, so he just did everything.

Stevens adds insult to injury by including a second, “classic rock” version of “All Delighted People” which fares slightly better simply by being less cluttered and grating. In fact, it could almost pass for an outtake from Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy’s Beware until the finale’s brain-scrambling guitar solo kicks in. The EP’s third, and final, misstep is its closing track, “Djohariah”. All snark aside, this 17-minute monster barely constitutes as a “song”. It’s composed of almost nothing but a choir singing the song’s title as an endless refrain and an equally endless, ragged guitar solo that echoes Neil Young so loudly and clearly, that Soof might as well send Young a thank you card with a check.

Re. the assessment of "Djohariah": did the reviewer even listen to the song's second half?

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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I don't know. For all of the wonderful lyrics, there is so much cacophony on this album, so much zany layering, that I find myself losing patience with it. Its high points are very high, but I have a feeling I'll be fast-forwarding through the first half of Djohariah just to get to, well, the song.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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I don't know. For all of the wonderful lyrics, there is so much cacophony on this album, so much zany layering, that I find myself losing patience with it. Its high points are very high, but I have a feeling I'll be fast-forwarding through the first half of Djohariah just to get to, well, the song.

I certainly understand that. But I find "Djohariah"'s opening guitar freakout to be rather exhilarating in how "out of character" it is for Sufjan. And it serves as the perfect foil for the song's second, more "traditional" half.

Edited by opus

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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  • 2 weeks later...

I certainly understand that. But I find "Djohariah"'s opening guitar freakout to be rather exhilarating in how "out of character" it is for Sufjan. And it serves as the perfect foil for the song's second, more "traditional" half.

Not that out of character. He did the same thing with 'Sister.'

Hmmm

Everything that matters is invisible.

-- Robert Bresson

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I certainly understand that. But I find "Djohariah"'s opening guitar freakout to be rather exhilarating in how "out of character" it is for Sufjan. And it serves as the perfect foil for the song's second, more "traditional" half.

Not that out of character. He did the same thing with 'Sister.'

Good point, but FWIW, I couldn't stand that song. Probably because it's so out of character for the quieter, more contemplative Seven Swans.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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