(Oh, oh, it rots
Oh, oh, it rots
Oh, oh, it rots)

Well I have known you
For just a little while
But I feel I've known you
I feel I've seen you
When the Earth was split in fives

And in your words, I
Should let it out, I
Would see it die
But I'm a watcher
I see it watch her

It's in your afterlife
This is the Age of Adz
Eternal living

Oh, keep from trying
Oh, keep from caring
You are the life

We see you trying to
Be something else that
You're not, we think you're nice

The circumstances
Of what I thought, I
Could see it now
I wouldn't be so
I wouldn't feel so
But it's a running wild
This is the Age of Adz
Eternal living

When it dies, when it dies
It rots
And when it lives, when it lives
It gives it all it gots
This is the Age of Adz
Eternal living

(Oh, oh, it rots
Oh, oh, it gives it all it gots
This is the Age of Adz
Eternal living)

And all reflections
I see your method
I see it all
And what about you?
And what about me?
Are we the lost of lost?
Don't speak to soon, don't
Be fruit o' loom, don't
Excite yourself

For what you see is
Not fantasy, it's
Not what it gets, but gives
This is the Age of Adz
Eternal living

And all reflections
I see it mentioned
I see it all

The gorgeous mess of
Your face impressed us
Imposed in all its art
This is the Age of Adz
Eternal living

When it dies, when it dies
It rots
And when it lives, when it lives
It gives it all it gots
This is the Age of Adz
Eternal living

(Oh, oh, it rots
Oh, oh, it gives it all it gots
This is the Age of Adz
Eternal living)

When I die, when I die
I'll rot
But when I live, when I live
I'll give it all I've got

When I die, when I die
I'll rot
But when I live, when I live
I'll give it all I've got

Gloria, Gloria
It rots
Victoria, Victoria
It lives in all of us

Gloria, Gloria
It rots
Victoria, Victoria
It lives in all of us

I've lost the will to fight
I was not made for life

I've lost the will to fight
I was not made for life

Now I have known you
For just a little while
I feel I must be
Wearing my welcome
I must be moving on

For my intentions
Were good intentions
I could have loved you
I could have changed you

I wouldn't be so
I wouldn't feel so
Consumed by selfish thoughts

I'm sorry if I
Seem self-effacing
Consumed by selfish thoughts

It's only that I
Still love you deeply
It's all the love I got


Lyrics submitted by browncrayon, edited by Mellow_Harsher

Age of Adz song meanings
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24 Comments

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  • +6
    General CommentI can't believe how good this song is
    jeffenwolfon September 28, 2010   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI feel like this song could be a reflection from the perspective of a small worker who is a relatively insignificant cog within a larger industrial society that values the community over the individual. He is reflecting upon the age at hand, and its (sarcastic?) utopian promise of “eternal living” and the merits of hard work and duty, and he is also pondering his individual mortality within that society’s framework (acknowledging he will eventually rot into nothingness, but finding some sort of purpose in a mantra of giving maximum effort in life). It somewhat reminds me of the world described by the book “Brave New World,” or of any society that is more focused on productivity, stability and the “greater good” than upon the value and purpose of individual lives. The line about the world being “split in fives” reminds me of Brave New World’s storyline where the population is divided up into five distinct castes, but the line could very well represent any sort of cold, broad statistical categorizing of a population by governments, corporations, etc. — yet another way of dehumanizing individuals and lessening their value while propping up large entities and the greater community. “Victoria” may be a reference to the Victorian Era and Industrial Revolutions in Europe and North America, as they seem an appropriate setting for the narrator of the song within this interpretation. As an Adze is a woodworking tool, it is possible that the “Age of Adz” could refer to an age that values hard work and industry above all else (serving as a symbol not unlike the sickle and hammer are to communism), though the spelling difference makes me question this. I’m also wondering if “Adz” could mean, “odds,” “ads” (as in “advertisements,” consumerism), or “adds” (as in adding small value at different stages along an assembly line). I still don't have a firm grasp on this song (or album), and I'd like to look into the Royal Robertson connection people are referencing.
    Browns0286on December 11, 2010   Link
  • +3
    Song MeaningAs explained by Sufjan himself: Adz is a misspelling of "odds."

    Why did you call the album The Age of Adz?

    [Laughs] I don’t know! I don’t know… I mean the [word] "Adz" is really a misspelling of "Odds." That’s taken from Royal Robertson, he has all kinds of text in his work, and his visions are all written out in this messy script. He was a sign painter for a living before he was an artist, and his signs became double entendres, messages that had dual meanings, because of all the misspellings and grammatical mistakes. The Age of Adz is reflecting the subconscious, free association way of thinking that happens when you’re not censoring yourself. Royal’s work is very much about impulsive free association, and the lyrics on The Age of Adz also follow that [impulse].

    eyeweekly.com/music/interview/article/…
    ampedbifon February 04, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis new album has blown my mind. I was so in love with his song, You Are the Blood, that it was kinda sad that it was the only one that sounded so grotesque and powerful. But now there's a whole album that's like it!
    Great lyrics, too. Sufjan, always the spiritual enigma.
    parcelsisterson September 29, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI saw Sufjan this week and he said this song is about love and the apocalypse. How loosing a love can feel like the end of the world and be so dramatic...
    'When it dies, when it dies
    It rots
    And when it lives, and when it lives
    It gives it all it gots
    This is the Age of Adz
    Eternal living'
    I think this is about the struggle in your mind when a relationship is ending, do you give it all you got, or let it rot.
    still not sure what the lyrics 'Age of Adz' means, and adz is a tool used for shaping wood, maybe because you feel like one has been taken to your chest after a heartbreak. Seems like a lot of the songs on this album concern heartbreak.
    muzkfrkon October 27, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Commentfirst of all, i don't think sufjan is addressing royal in this song, as a previous commenter said. i was at his concert last night and after he played this song he said that it was his apocalypse love song, and how a relationship ending is the same thing as the end of the world. he said it kind of jokingly but i think he was partly serious. the song that he said was about royal robertson was "get real, get right."
    jowrites365on November 02, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentGloria, Gloria
    It rots
    Victoria, Victoria
    It lives in all of us

    to me his use of names here is rooted in the concept of one's motivations in love and life. ..fighting for Glory loses while fighting for the Victory of one's cause brings out the best in us. perhaps Sufjan is relating this to a love interest [being Gloria] but he wants to let it rot and keep looking for Victoria.
    harvestmenon November 13, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHaving now heard I Walked, Impossible Soul, Too Much Love and Age of Adz, I think it might take some time for me to get used to Suf's new sound. I guess I just need to go through a grieving period over what seems to be the end of his old style, but I understand that he needs to grow as a musician and evolve in whatever direction interests him. We could see this change coming based on the interviews he's given over the last few years, but it will still be hard to accept the change.
    sufstuffon September 08, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis site is supposed to be about interpreting the lyrics...there's about a zillion other sites where people can complain about how Sufjan's "changed." Personally, I love it.

    Anyhow, the lyrics: most are correct above (there's a few spots it's off) except the entire ending is missing:

    When I die, when I die
    I'll rot
    but when I live, when I live
    I'll give it all I've got

    (repeats)

    Gloria, Gloria
    Victoria, Victoria
    It lives in all of us

    (repeats)

    I've lost the will to fight
    ?

    I have known you for just a little while
    I feel I must be wearing my welcome
    I must be moving on

    For my intentions, were good intentions
    I could have loved you
    I could have changed you

    I wouldn't be so
    I wouldn't feel so
    Consumed by selfish thoughts

    I'm sorry if I seem self-effacing
    Consumed by selfish thoughts
    It's only that I
    Still love you deeply
    It's all the love I've got
    reduxinteriorson September 28, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhat a beautiful song.
    epilepticteenon October 13, 2010   Link

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