Sufjan Stevens ∞ Illinoise

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1. Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois
2. The Black Hawk War, or, How to Demolish an Entire Civilization and Still Feel Good About Yourself in the Morning, or, We Apologize for the Inconvenience, But You’re Going to Have to Leave Now, or, “I Have Fought the Big Knives and Will Continue to Fight Them Until They Are Off Our Lands!”
3. Come On! Feel the Illinoise! Part I: The World’s Columbian Exposition / Part II: Carl Sandburg Visits Me in a Dream
4. John Wayne Gacy, Jr.
5. Jacksonville
6. A Short Reprise for Mary Todd, Who Went Insane, But for Very Good Reasons
7. Decatur, or, Round of Applause for Your Stepmother!
8. One Last “Whoo-Hoo!” for the Pullman
9. Chicago
10. Casimir Pulaski Day
11. To the Workers of the Rock River Valley Region, I Have an Idea Concerning Your Predicament
12. The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts
13. Prairie Fire That Wanders About
14. A Conjuction of Drones Simulating the Way in Which Sufjan Stevens Has an Existential Crisis in the Great Godfrey Maze
15. The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades Is Out to Get Us!
16. They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbours!! They Have Come Back from the Dead!! Ahhhh!
17. Let’s Hear That String Part Again, Because I Don’t Think They Heard It All the Way Out in Bushnell
18. In This Temple as in the Hearts of Man for Whom He Saved the Earth
19. The Seer’s Tower
20. The Tallest Man, the Broadest Shoulders, Part I: The Great Frontier / Part II: Come to Me Only With Playthings Now
21. Riffs & Variations on a Single Note for Jelly Roll, Earl Hines, Louis Armstrong, Baby Dodds and The King of Swing, to Name a Few
22. Out of Egypt, Into the Great Laugh of Mankind, and I Shake the Dirt from My Sandals as I Run

When this album first came out, I knew very little of Sufjan Stevens, mostly meaning that I had never heard of him before, but Illinoise started getting critical acclaim. I’m a sucker for critical acclaim, so I got of the album. At this time in my life I had never heard anything like this before. It was all completely new to me. What was this strange sound that I was hearing? A quiet man singing in front of a small orchestra while he played it banjo. And what’s better, it sounded good. What struck me the most about Illinoise is the absolutely brilliant composition, especially on a track like “The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades Is Out to Get Us!” which still gets to me every time that I hear it again. But just about every song is like this. Take beautiful layer, mix with another, add on another, add another, take away another, and so on, and many times I was reminded of the genius of Steve Reich. There are points in songs where it all comes together and I’m blown away by how majestic it all sounds. Aside from the gorgeous music, are the lyrics by Sufjan. One highlight is probably, “John Wayne Gacy, Jr.” where he sings a little ballad about the pedo-serial killer. It’s creepy, yes, but at the same time it’s sad and heartbreaking. Also, I put forth Exhibit A from the song “Decatur, or, Round of Applause for Your Stepmother!”: “Steven A. Douglas was a great debater, But Abraham Lincoln was the great emancipator.” Really, I don’t know why I am putting this for people to download, everyone should have this already! Either way, we are helping the musically impaired.

5/5

download (NOW!) | buy

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~ by Babaganoosh on March 29, 2008.

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