Sufjan Stevens - The Ascension | Page 25 | The Popjustice Forum

Sufjan Stevens - The Ascension

Discussion in 'Pop & Justice' started by Consideration, Oct 20, 2016.

  1. +1 to everything here, including the pre-order cancel. *buys more Mariah vinyl*
    Euphoria likes this.
  2. dddd exactly!
  3. I feel like I should order the vinyl to make up for others cancelling theirs.
    Even though I rarely listen to vinyl at least I’ll have a large picture of him in shorts.
  4. The album might be overlong and certainly drags in its third quarter, but it's a challenging and frightening record that I think will settle with time and come to be seen as the equal of his prior high points. It actually feels to me less like Age of Adz, and more like an electronic summation of all his work (including the collaborations) since. Despite its lack of warmth and his usual storytelling instinct, it's powerful and moving. The highlights for me are Make Me An Offer, which is the equal of Illinois and C&L's stunning openers, Run Away With Me, Lamentations, Sugar, and especially Ativan, which is like a Trent Reznor panic attack come to life and has four bars of a brilliant 90s ravey bit, which should be the basis of a ten-hour remix.
  5. I think this is my favourite album of the year so far. It’s been the best year ever for singles but albums not so much and this really feels like a proper album. I like electronic Sufjan.
    Zdarlight, Humanracin, andru and 5 others like this.
  6. Saddens me that everyone is cancelling them orders, it's an album that needs tons of listening to appreciate it...
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2020
    andru and Deleted member 6896 like this.
  7. Debuts at #35 in the UK with 2k sales only... So he went from Carrie & Lowell selling 11K on week 1 to just selling 2K... does this mean fans prefer banjo-folk-Sufjan?
  8. Or that this is an entirely different sales market than it was 5 years ago, the album was not promoted very much and the reviews weren’t as glowing as they were for Carrie & Lowell. This album was probably always going to be a tougher sell though.
    aaronhansome, andru and elektroxx like this.
  9. Seems like
    andru likes this.
  10. The first time I tried to listen to this album was in the car and it just didn’t work.
    It’s definitely a headphones album and i think it’s going to be a grower for me.
    But yeah Carrie & Lowell is his masterpiece and was always going to be hard to follow.
    nikkysan likes this.
  11. Way less hype from reviews and sales being split between two weeks as the physical was delayed certainly didn’t help.
    aaronhansome and andru like this.
  12. ^Well, first week he didn't even make the top 100, so streams might have been very little

    It's weird cos indie artists are doing well right now in albums thanks to the vinyl revolution and the multi-formatting (releasing 5 different cassettes and 5 different vinyls etc). Even Lana's album of poems did better than Sufjan :/
  13. The album has grown on me loads since it was released. It definitely isn't as instantly likeable as Illinoise and Carrie & Lowell were to me (my two favourite albums of Sufjan), and in terms of his electronic output I think I prefer Age of Adz to this one, but there's lots here I am enjoying and I think it'll be an album I come back to regularly for years to come just like the three I mentioned.

    In terms of its sales/performance, I think it's to be expected, sadly - Carrie & Lowell was a bit of a beast in the end with great reviews from what felt like every section of the music press and it seemed like everyone was anticipating it by the time it was released. For a while it was completely unavoidable whereas this album seems to have had a limited response from the start, but that's not surprising when you compare what the two albums are offering.
    ItBeats, godspeed, Euphoria and 4 others like this.
  14. I mean the two I mentioned were probably the main contributes, but there are way more factors - most of them end up revolving back to your claim that the majority of his listeners just prefer his acoustic work.

    Carrie & Lowell was hyped upon release, lots of stellar reviews citing it as his best work to date, teaser songs probably got people excited. Much shorter album than his usual for streaming purposes too which helped with repeat listens. The Ascension is a difficult album to sit through, I imagine a lot of curious folk giving up halfway through without intention to go back to it. I also reckon all his projects between C&L and this album somewhat dampened expectations for many considering they're not too far away from albums like Planetarium and Aporia.

    Yeah, he'd probably have doubled those figures at least with variant exclusives dotted around the globe, cassette bundles and signed artcards but as we hear on Video Game he doesn't seem to care what the response to his projects are, Asthmatic Kitty doesn't cater to the charts, they'll put out one coloured vinyl variant and leave it as that. He'll still be kept booked and busy so I doubt he's bothered.

    The album has grown on me too, little bits and pieces have started to get lodged in my head - I've started to skip 3 or 4 of the tracks and I've made peace with that.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2020
    Pat, godspeed, aaronhansome and 3 others like this.
  15. In terms of skipping tracks, and maybe re-sequencing things, every time I listen I feel like it should end on the title track. America feels a bit out of place here to me, and might have served better as a one-off single.
  16. Thought I came into the wrong thread for a split second hhahaha.
    andru and Euphoria like this.
  17. or just not released.
  18. Suf does pretty well with physicals and songs being synced so he'll be fine, but I just think there was something a bit off about this whole campaign from the start so I'm not surprised about the pop girl floppage.

    The pre-release singles were a choice (do you want the 12 minute slog or Owl City?), album itself was too long and bloated, it wasn't a new sound world he was exploring, there wasn't really an interesting/emotional angle to it like Carriel & Lowell apart from just "being old and over it", he only released a new project a few months ago, he's not able to tour and not willing to do any promo outside of a few interviews, etc etc.

    Bits of this record are really good but I do feel like this is maybe just something he needed to get out of his system rather than something that will be a cornerstone of his catalogue.
  19. OK now, hold up.
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