Although toting a wild affinity for Come on Feel the Illinoise, I am definitely not a Sufjan Stevens completist. As a matter of fact, my second favorite album of his is probably The Avalanche, a collection outtakes from the Come on Feel the Illinoise sessions.
And really, reviewing him itself seems almost like a goofy activity — so great were the scope and magnanimity of his 2005 indie rock opera that he must surely be elevated now to an especial status, exempting him from criticism somewhat, or at least granting him some leeway (favorable reviews of The Age of Adz being fine evidence of said leeway).
And like what’s up with how he’s always wearing like a wife-beater, but he sounds like such a fagget when he sings? Here on Planetarium, it’s not all these people singing, but rather just him, at the opener, and he’s taking on that same gentle, funboy tone he had on Adz and the beginning of Illinois. “Jupiter” comes in very ADORNED, the way a song named “Jupiter” should, let’s face it, with echo chamber which will eventually give way to similar sporadic, celestial synth. This song works better by and large than most Adz and Carrie & Lowell material, replete as it is with unorthodox phrasing and ebullient kick drum, albeit that same gentle vocal we’ve come to know so well. I pretty much just despise the altered vocals which come in halfway through “Jupiter,” which is saying something since I usually like modulated vocals, but the thunderous roar of sixteenth-note kick drums which comes in then is a certain reward.
Look, I’m gonna bet honest: the rest of this album seems composed of that same stupid faux-electro-pop brandishing as if it’s Stevens’ goal to have his songs played in Hooters Bar & Grille or something — there’s no real exploration of instrumentation itself, but rather it seems all to be synth and stupid straight kick drums, like The Age of Adz except… even more like The Age of Adz than The Age of Adz was, if that makes any sense. And why would it.