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Illinoise [Import]

Sufjan Stevens Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 14.75 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Illinoise + Michigan (Vinyl) + Seven Swans
Price For All Three: CDN$ 53.53

Some of these items ship sooner than the others.

  • Michigan (Vinyl) CDN$ 22.79
  • Seven Swans CDN$ 15.99

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

Product Details

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 Gonna Have To Leave Now, Or, 'I Have Fought The Big Knives And Will Continue To Fight...
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 Conjunction 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 Neighbors!! 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
See all 22 tracks on this disc

Product Description


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

Product Description

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Most helpful customer reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow. Aug. 2 2005
Format:Audio CD
I absolutely loved "Greetings from Michigan" but I must admit, I thought the whole "50 albums for 50 states" was a pretty thin premise and that he'd have quite a tough time outdoing the debut. Then along came "Illinoise".
Stevens' skill as a composer of complex, emotionally-laden melodies is only increasing with time and practice, as is his ability to tap into the legends, triumphs and shames of a populace.
The album is a suite, designed to immerse the listener into the cultural identity of the place, and for that reason it is a shame to give any of the songs precedence over the others. However, if there is one song on this album that deserves special mention, it has to be "John Wayne Gacy", a truly chilling and heartbreaking piece that highlights Stevens' real gift: sympathy - for victim and aggressor alike. He uses simple words and a soaring, theremin-like vocal line to bridge the gap between horror and acceptance, exposing the good an evil that lies in every heart. It still brings me to tears even after repeated listens.
Once again, his gentle take on the Christian faith comes to the fore, but as in "Michigan" it is less a cloying tack-on than a simple and truthful expression of thankfulness the source of his immense creativity and hope. It can't help but leave the listener thinking that if everyone knew Sufjan's version of God, the world just might be an immeasurably better place.
I came away from "Illinoise" with a renewed sense of faith -- in Sufjan himself. If he continues as strongly down this path he's set for himself we may be seeing the emergence of a true American musical genius, an unflinching Chronicler-in-Chief of the nation's dreams, crimes and acheivements.
I live in hope!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars illinoise - pitchforkmedia Jan. 18 2008
Format:Audio CD
Two years after his breakthrough album Greeting From Michigan: The Great Lakes State, Sufjan Stevens offers the second installment of his absurdly ambitious "50 States" project, the 74-minute spectacular Illinois. In the wake of last year's quieter Seven Swans, this album finds the baroque, full arrangements of Michigan reaching new stunning, nuanced heights, with the help of a small army of backers (including a choir and string quartet). The result is Sufjan's most inspired album to date: Illinois is strange and lush, as excessive and challenging as its giant, gushing song titles, and as beautiful as the Chicago skyline and lakefront.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mr. Stevens' Opus March 24 2007
Format:Audio CD
Sufjan Stevens' ode to the state of Illinois is probably his best album yet. It is rich in sounds, it is quirky and strange without distancing its listener, and always engaging. The marching band aesthetic gives the album an etheral, innocent, complex sound that carries the album from the odd introductory "Concerning The UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois" right through to "Out Of Egypt, Into The Great Laugh Of Mankind, And I Shake The Dirt From My Sandals As I Run".

Just by seeing this album on store shelves, you know it's no ordinary album. Even the cover art, depicting a fantastic bricolage of Illinois figures and symbols, even the wildly thought-out track titles and the strange way they are arranged, with outros and intros all over the place indicates that this is not for a passive listener. And yet anyone who is remotely interested in something even a LITTLE different than top 40 radio could extract something out of "Come on Feel the Illinoise"... there are just that many layers.

One comment about the album (and I am unsure as to whether this is a criticism or a praise) is that it is difficult for the disc to be broken apart. If one of the songs is separated from the others, it just doesn't sound the same. Folks with ipods: when you're in the mood for Stevens' 'Illinoise' turn off shuffle and pick the album. As a whole, the album is much like a soundtrack to a ridiculously good musical spectacular about Illinois that never was (or will be, for that matter).

Stevens is publically a very spiritual artist, but the album not only refuses to alienate, but actually ATTRACTS secular listeners. Stevens' spiritual sensability lends to a sweeet, calming, intricate listen.
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