Sufjan Stevens : Come On Feel the Illinoise
Conceptual 2005 album from the US songsmith ... the second and supposedly final record in his Fifty States project! Includes "Chicago".
Illinois sounds like The Sea and Cake collaborating with the high-school band from a Wes Anderson film on banjo-driven, pulsing meditations on Vince Guaraldi's music for Peanuts. Sufjan Stevens, the singer-songwriter behind the endeavor, is an earnest and whimsical young man who aims to record an album based on every state in the union, though this is just his second attempt since 2003's Michigan. Lavish praise has been heaped upon this precocious twenty-something, who weaves personal recollections, historical narratives, and strange facts together to create lush portraits of Midwestern life. It's not maudlin stuff, and the atypical instrumentation (strings, choirs, trumpets, vibes) is beyond gimmick. Halfway through "John Wayne Gacy, Jr.," when Stevens has you feeling true empathy for a serial killer, it's clear that he really is an artist of the highest order. These are weird and lovely middlebrow ditties; we eagerly await the Broadway adaptation. --Mike McGonigal
1. [2:09] Concerning the UFO sighting near Highland, Illinois
2. [2:14] 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...
3. [6:45] Come On! Feel the Illinoise! Part I: The World's Columbian Exposition Part II: Carl Sandburg Visits Me In A Dream
4. [3:19] John Wayne Gacy, Jr.
5. [5:24] Jacksonville
6. [0:47] A short reprise for Mary Todd, who went insane, but for very good reasons
7. [3:03] Decatur, or, Round of Applause for Your Step-Mother!
8. [0:06] One last "Whoo-hoo!" for the Pullman
9. [6:04] Chicago
10. [5:53] Casimir Pulaski Day
11. [1:40] To The Workers of The Rock River Valley Region, I have an idea concerning your predicament, and it involves an inner tube, bath mats, and 21 able-bodied men
12. [6:17] The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts
13. [2:11] Prairie Fire That Wanders About
14. [0:19] A conjunction of drones simulating the way in which Sufjan Stevens has an existential crisis in the Great Godfrey Maze
15. [5:23] The Predatory Wasp of The Palisades Is Out To Get Us
16. [5:09] They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From the Dead!! Ahhhh!
17. [0:40] Let's hear that string part again, because I don't think they heard it all the way out in Bushnell
18. [0:35] In This Temple As in The Hearts of Man For Whom He Saved The Earth
19. [3:54] The Seer's Tower
20. [7:03] The Tallest Man, the Broadest Shoulders Part I: The Great Frontier Part II: Come to Me Only With Playthings Now
21. [0:46] 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
22. [4:21] Out of Egypt, into the Great Laugh of Mankind, and I shake the dirt from my sandals as I run
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