2011 Year in Review
Blue Whales
Christmas Carol
Duty to Object
Evenhanded Pursuit of Truth
Flood and Bush
Never There or Here
Review: Sufjan Stevens' Age of Adz
Space Flight
Success With Values
Terrible Kids Music
The Nineties
Year in Review

The Basiks Review: Sufjan Steven’s Age of Adz - Water

Return of the King So, I think we are all agreed that Sufjan is pretty much the best.  Wheat, you touched on a lot of the reasons, and I’ll add a few of my own:

  1. He’s about as unlike a rock star (in all the right ways) as you can be.  You see pictures of him, and he’s wearing a t-shirt with a hole in it, and he looks like someone stole his comb, and he looks at you with his soulful eyes, and you just want to take him home and feed him some soup and tell him that everything’s going to be all right or something.  I mean, look at the guy:
  2. Can someone get this man a brush?
  3. And then there’s his tender, delicate, quavery, whispery voice, which is about unlike the powerfully, yawping vocal style that we’ve come to expect from our rock stars.  He’s the unapologetic un-rock star.
  4. This is "The Jump" →

 Associate Attorney
 Hydrogen, Hydrogen, and Oxygen, L.L.P.

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The Basiks Review: Sufjan Steven’s Age of Adz - Wheat

What is a Sufjan Stevens?

I must confess at the outset that I think Sufjan Stevens is a powerful artist and probably my favorite musician.  He is an outsider and yet widely loved and respected.  He maintains distance that has always made him seem fragile to me.  He is like a person who speaks softly, but with a heavy voice.  You stop to hear his perspective.  In addition, this gives me the feeling that Sufjan is my friend.  That if I saw him at a restaurant I could pull up a chair sit down and discuss big ideas as old friends.  This is as anti-rock star an element as I can think of.

Age of Adz does not blow this perception completely out of the water with the first song, “Futile Devices.”  Sufjan is still tender, vulnerable.  But quickly he puts up a layer of electronic resonance that moves to dissonance many times beginning in his second track.  This layer of electronic noise/music has replaced the varied musical instruments that accompany most of Stevens earlier work.  Though the instruments are still there, they do not play a starring role.

This is "The Jump" →

 Alliterative Name
 Driver of the Economy

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Re: Evenhanded Pursuit of Truth - Water

Note: If you have not read Evenhanded Pursuit of Truth by Leaven and the response thereto by Wheat, then please read before continuing below.  This is continuation of the conversation that began there.

Speak up, son Leaven, Leaven, Leaven.  You’re never going to make it on the interwebs with that attitude.  Where’s the rage?  I didn’t read any baseless ad hominem attacks or gross misstatements of fact used to support your position.  I don’t remember any ludicrous hyperbole or thoughtless stereotypes being carted out to demonize your opposition.  For the sake of Glenn Beck, son, you didn’t even type anything in all caps!  How do you expect anyone to read that?

How do we even out these hands? Out of the many, many things that terrify me and give me serious second thoughts when I think about starting a family and bringing new babies into this scary world*, one of the scariest is that our society seems to have lost the ability to have a reasonable and, to borrow Leaven’s term, evenhanded discussion about, well, anything.   Rage and bombast are necessary if you’re going to discuss politics, religion, sports, hairstyles, coffee, favorite toothpaste, whatever.  It isn’t sufficient for the other side to be wrong (even about matters which are entirely opinion), they must also be stupid or selfish or driven by evil motives.  If you’re running for office, you can’t merely state and defend your position and qualifications, you must also characterize your opponent as an anti-American communist or fascist.  In sports, a coach or manager isn’t doing his job right unless he has enough “fire” or “passion,” which usually consists of constantly screaming at everyone in sight, be it his players, the referees or the opposition.**  The ends justify the means, and uncivil behavior is praised as long as it gets the job done.  Strangely, in a world in which the greatest virtue is supposedly tolerance, we are increasingly intolerant and strident.

This is "The Jump" →

 Associate Attorney
 Hydrogen, Hydrogen, and Oxygen, L.L.P.

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