Skip to content

Illinois – Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens Illinoise

Illinois

(2005), 9.5/10
After the excellent sideline of Seven Swans, Stevens moved one state south of Michigan to Illinois. While the two albums are similar is style, this time around it’s a lot more confident, and the more overblown pieces come alive in a way that their counterparts on Michigan never did. Stylistically, Illinois covers similar ground to Michigan, although it’s infused with touches of Chicago jazz, giving the state its own sense of musical identity. Despite a seventy five minute running time there’s little that needs cutting, only tailing off right at the end with a couple of experimental instrumentals, but after seventy minutes of unmitigated entertainment it’s difficult to begrudge them.

Among the introspective material, highlights include the charming piano opener ‘Concerning The UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois’, the paean to one of Illinois’ most notorious citizen’s ‘John Wayne Gacy’ (with the perceptive line “in my best behavior I am really just like him/Look beneath the floorboards for the secrets I have hid”) and the honest ‘Casimir Pulaski Day’, which throws around questions of inter-connected suffering, spirituality and sexuality, raising more questions than it answers. ‘Decatur’ pulls out a myriad of amusing rhymes (emancipator, alligator, debater, and aviator) and the peppy, breezy ‘Jacksonville’. Among the epics, ‘They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From The Dead!! Ahhhh!’ is the standout, a string laden groove, while ‘The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Heart’ alternates between abrasive guitar and soothing balladry.

Illinois is terrific song-writing topped off by creative arrangements.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

Reel and Rock

Exploring non-fiction film, rock music in movies and on record and related adventures on pop culture's time-and-place continuum

Legacy Records Southport

Only The Best In Vinyl

FanView: Music Blog

Enjoy reviews and interviews brought to you by fan love and inspiring artists.

50th Music Anniversaries and Other Musings

Grab a Cold One and Let's Talk Tunes!

BuriedOnMars

The World Revolves Around Mars

Douglas Harr's Media Blog

Ear Candy for the Hungry Audiophile

%d bloggers like this: