Sufjan Stevens has never been one to shy away from pulling on emotional strings. But it’s clear on the album opener and title track that these strings he’s pulling have quite a strain on him as well. His voice has never sounded so pained, and this makes for a wonderfully dramatic way to begin. According to its website, All Delighted People is “a dramatic homage to the Apocalypse, existential ennui, and Paul Simon’s “Sounds of Silence.” Three lofty entities to homage, but Stevens, who earlier in his career set out to make an album for each state (so far only Michigan and Illinois) doesn’t mind being overly ambitious.
Stevens’ 2005 Illinois was an absolute masterpiece. For being so obsessed with an album, I didn’t see much to follow with Stevens after that. However All Delighted People finds him returning to form. Swirling horns and percussion, delicate songwriting and gorgeous melodies are all present here. What’s also exciting, is that though only 8 songs, this album is about an hour long, with Devendra Banhart/Crazy Horse-style closer, “Djohariah” clocking in at 17 minutes. It seems as if Stevens has something to prove after his pseudo, post-Illinois haitus; he has also announced the LP The Age of Adz will come out this year.
The title track is here twice, in both an original and classic rock version (I prefer the original), and it is one of Stevens’ strongest works yet. “Heirloom” is a short but sweet Stevens standard. “All Delighted People” finds him playing with layers and structure, whereas “Heirloom” is a strait-up singer-songwriter beauty. I hate to say this album lacks energy, because it is so richly filled with passion, it just isn’t as upbeat as past works. The first single from The Age of Adz sounds 100% different from anything on this album, so make sure to take time with this EP, it shouldn’t be ignored in anticipation of the LP. All Delighted People confirms Sufjan Stevens as a brilliant songwriter and talented composer, let’s hope his next album continues the trend.
The only other time I’ve come across an interactive music video was a while back when the Cold War Kids allowed you to switch their individual instruments on the video for “I’ve Seen Enough”, thus changing the sound of the song itself as well as the visual performance seen on your computer. The Arcade Fire teamed up with Google (the reason why this video is viewed best in Google Chrome) to create a different type of interactive experience for the song, “We Used to Wait” off of their recently released Suburbs LP. When you reach the webpage of the video, you are asked to type in the address of your childhood home. The program then takes this into account and employs Google Earth to use that location as part of the experience. It’s a pretty cool concept, but I would recommend not having too many other programs open at the same time as it takes quite a bit of juice to run smoothly.
To check out the Arcade Fire interactive video, go here.
To see the Cold War Kids video that I talked about at the beginning of this post, go here.
Note: You should probably waste as much time as possible and check out both of them. It’s Monday..what else do you have to do?
The big purchase I’m looking to make as the season changes from scorching to perfectly crisp is a nice pair of boots. While these are described as moccasins, they look to have the sturdiness and warmth I’m looking for.
So first of all, if you have yet to see this video, then you must do so immediately, for entertainment purposes. (If you haven’t, don’t be embarrassed because the video already has over 12 million views and I saw it for the first time tonight) Secondly, go to his website here and read his story..if you have the time, because it’s actually quite intriguing. Finally, if at the end of these two activities you love this guy as much as I do — go to his t-shirt page here and feast your eyes on a few brilliantly designed t-shirts. The one I am seriously contemplating ordering is shown below. Why the t-shirt? Because unlike the endless quantities of graphic tee’s created by Abercrombie and Hollister (and sadly enough J.Crew and Urban Outfitters), of which the graphic itself is pretty much pointless and stupid, this t-shirt will probably make anyone who has seen this video laugh out loud. It’s also simple and doesn’t look like an Affliction tee either, which is always nice.
No, the Bon Iver feature isnt a missprint, and yes, the song is good. Can’t wait for this album to drop.
Staying in line with the most recent fall collections that I have featured, Swedish label Boomerang has its newest garments correlating with the current Americana trend (much like everyone else). Rugged boots and thick, wooly sweaters are in my lineup once the temperature starts to cool down.