Monday, January 30, 2006


It's ILLINOISE by Sufjan Stevens! Thank you, J. Marquis of "Are We There Yet" for turning me on to this little work of art!

So far it's the best album I've heard in 2006. Even though I didn't hear it in 2005 when it was released, I will still call it my "Best Album of 2005". I think it's one of the best albums I've heard in the last five, maybe ten years!

This music doesn't really rock in the usual sense of the word, but it may rock your world and rock your soul. Stevens uses a string quartet, piano, acoustic guitar, bass, drums, trumpets, oboes, accordions, banjos and a bucketload of other instruments in his recording. The result is a piece of modern Americana, a kind of musical folk art. Some of the songs touch on grief, and the first time I heard a couple of them I thought I might break in half ("Casimir Pulaski Day" and "John Wayne Gacy, Jr.") Some of the other tunes evoke a sense of place ("Chicago", "Decatur", "Jacksonville"). While Stevens may not paint a detailed picture of a city, he tells of feelings he had when he was in those places; through listening to the completeness of his music and lyrics, I might not be able to say "I was there", but I can say "I now have a feeling that place".

Sufjan Stevens approaches the state of Illinois with a sense of wonder and humanity. His approach yields something personal and timeless. He says he wants to do an album for each of the 50 states... The first one of these was "Michigan", and now here is "Illinoise". I can't wait for the next 48!


Blogger J. Marquis said...

Thanks for giving me credit but in all honesty I have to say good ol' Sleepybomb's praise of the cd motivated me to buy it (and hearing one of my favorite DJs on Seattle station KEXP declare it his favorite album of 2005).

4:43 PM  
Blogger Damien said...

I'll have to start searching for it soon it sounds marvo.

hmmm its the first time I've seen the word verification almost spell something 'greel'.

2:26 PM  
Blogger Donald said...

That sounds like a pretty decent record, Snave. I'll have to see about downloading it in music files though... I think the nearest CD store must be about 5,000 miles from here.

8:53 PM  
Blogger Howard Davis said...

I liked Sufjan until I saw him in concert here in Omaha. It was really bad. I've had a tough time listening to the record since then.

6:08 AM  
Blogger Snave said...

That's too bad... a few artists are that way, that is, they sound much better on studio recordings than they do live. Anyone remember Karla Bonoff? I felt that way when I saw her live. Hopefully Stevens will master the art of live performance as he has the art of studio recording.

6:49 AM  

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