The Age of Adz (pronounced "odds") is an album by Sufjan Stevens released on October 12, 2010 by Asthmatic Kitty Records. It is Stevens' first song-based full length album in five years, since the release of Illinois in 2005. The album features a heavy use of electronics augmented by heavy orchestration, and takes inspiration from the apocalyptic artwork of schizophrenic artist Royal Robertson. My Brightest Diamond frontwoman Shara Worden is featured on the track "Impossible Soul".
Following his 2005 album Illinois, Stevens did not produce another song-based full length album for five years. In 2006, Stevens released an album of extra material left over from Illinois (originally conceived as a double album), titled The Avalanche, as well as an album of Christmas music titled Songs for Christmas (produced in parts between 2001 and 2006). Following the release of The Avalanche, Stevens expressed a dissatisfaction with his music, stating in interview with Pitchfork Media in 2006: "I'm getting tired of my voice. I'm getting tired of...the banjo. I'm getting tired of...the trumpet". In 2009 Stevens released The BQE, an orchestral suite accompanying a home-made film dedicated to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. In an interview with BeatRoute Magazine in 2010, Stevens stated "[The BQE] kinda sabotaged the mechanical way of approaching my music, which was basically narrative long-form. It really opened things up for me. It also confused things as well. I don’t think I ever really fully recovered from that process". On August 20, 2010, without prior announcement, Stevens released the EP All Delighted People, and less than one week later announced The Age of Adz to be released on October 12.
The Age of Adz debuted at number 7 on the Billboard 200, with 36,000 copies sold, giving Stevens his career's best first week sales to date.
The Age of Adz has received critical acclaim. As of October 19, 2010, the album has received a normalized score of 80% at Metacritic, based on 28 professional reviews.
Perhaps the most discussed track of the album among reviewers was "Impossible Soul", which at 25 minutes comprises a third of the overall album length. Pitchfork Media reviewer Ryan Dombal described the track as having "more engaging ideas than most artists could muster in a career", while No Ripcord reviewer Alan Shulman criticized the middle sections as being an "epic train wreck", saying that the closing minutes come as "a breath of fresh air". One Thirty BPM reviewer Rob Hakimian commented that the track would "make or break" the album for listeners, describing it as a successful "proclamation of love", but that it is "bloated" and "way over the top".
All songs written and composed by Sufjan Stevens.
1. "Futile Devices" – 2:11
2. "Too Much" – 6:44
3. "Age of Adz" – 8:00
4. "I Walked" – 5:01
5. "Now That I'm Older" – 4:56
6. "Get Real Get Right" – 5:10
7. "Bad Communication" – 2:24
8. "Vesuvius" – 5:26
9. "All for Myself" – 2:55
10. "I Want to Be Well" – 6:27
11. "Impossible Soul" – 25:35