SUFJAN STEVENS Illinois 2LP set
Sufjan Stevens' classic 2005 concept album recorded entirely by Stevens on a variety of instruments in various locations.
With two states down and only 48 to go, Sufjan Stevens' ambitious musical map of the Unites States of America should be completed, if he puts out one a year, sometime around 2053. It's a daunting task, but if each subsequent record is as good as Illinois, fans who live long enough to witness the project's completion will no doubt find themselves to be scholars of both state history and its narrator's shape-shifting soul. Stevens' soulful folk epics, as played by his signature mini-orchestra, have changed little since his 2003 foray into Michigan, a charge that may cause some grumbling among that album's detractors, but there's a newfound optimism that runs through much of Illinois that echoes the state's 'Gateway to the West' pioneering spirit. Glorious road trip-ready cuts have an expansiveness that radiates with the ballast of history and the promise of new beginnings. Stevens has done his research here.
The varied instrumentation and experimental songwriting on the album invoked comparisons to work by Steve Reich, Neil Young, and The Cure. Besides numerous references to Illinois history, geography, and attractions, Stevens continued a theme of his songwriting career by including multiple references to his Christian faith.
The insane tracklist:
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 Youre Going To Have To Leave Now, Or, I Have Fought The Big Knives And Will Continue To Fight Them Till 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 Jacksonville
5. A Short Reprise For Mary Todd, Who Went Insane, But For Very Good Reasons
6. Decatur, Or, Round Of Applause For Your Step-Mother! One Last Whoo-Hoo For The Pullman
8. Casimir Pulaski Day
9. To The Workers Of The Rock River Valley Region, I have An Idea Concerning Your Predicament
10. The Man Of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts
11. Prairie Fire That Wanders About
12. A Conjunction Of Drones Simulating The Way In Which Sufjan Stevens Has An Existential Crisis In The Great Godfrey Maze
13. The Predatory Wasp Of The Palisades Is Out To Get Us
14. They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From The Dead!! Ahhhh!
15. Let's Hear That String Part Again, Because I Don't Think They Heard It All The Way Out In Bushnell
16. In This Temple As In The Hearts Of Man For Whom He Saved The Earth
17. The Seer's Tower
18. The Tallest Man, The Broadest Shoulders / Part I: The Great Frontier / Part II: Come To Me Only With Playthings Now
19. Riffs And Variations On A Single Note For Jelly Roll, Earl Hines, Louis Armstrong, Baby Dodds, And The King Of Swing, To Name A Few
20. Out Of Egypt, Into The Great Laugh Of Mankind, And I Shake The Dirt From My Sandals As I Run