After 5 years of waiting for an official follow-up to Illinois and the latest chapter to his so-called “50 States Project,” Sufjan Stevens surprised us in August with a brand new EP and LP, All Delighted People and The Age of Adz, respectively. While we knew that Sufjan had written off his previous state-themed plans for at least a year, his new electronic experiments — on the full-length, that is — marked a slightly jarring yet intriguing fresh direction. So why did Sufjan ditch the geography-based concepts that inspired Michigan, Illinois, and The BQE in favor of an evolution of the sonic landscape he first explored on 2001’s Enjoy Your Rabbit? In an interview with Irish Times (via Largehearted Boy), Stevens says he “felt burdened by the conceptual weight” of his earlier work as he wanted to “express those feelings in very matter-of-fact, almost cliched terms.” In short, Sufjan sought to narrow the scope of his ambitions:
The size of [The Age of Adz] is a response to all the theatrical clutter that characterized all my previous work. I was getting tired of that self-conscious, rambling psychobabble. I got really sick of myself and my own flawed, epic approach to everything.