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Illinois

Sufjan Stevens

2005

Illinois

Album Summary

Illinois (styled Sufjan Stevens Invites You to: Come on Feel the Illinoise on the cover; sometimes spelled as Illinoise) is a 2005 concept album by American singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens. His fifth studio album, it features songs referencing places, events, and persons related to the U.S. state of Illinois. Illinois is Stevens' second based on a U.S. state—part of a planned series of fifty that began with the 2003 album Michigan and that Stevens has since acknowledged was a joke. Stevens recorded and produced the album at multiple venues in New York City using low-fidelity studio equipment and a variety of instruments between late 2004 and early 2005. The artwork and lyrics explore the history, culture, art, and geography of the state—Stevens developed them after analyzing criminal, literary, and historical documents. Following its release, Stevens promoted Illinois with a world tour. Critics praised the album for its well-written lyrics and complex orchestrations. In particular, reviewers noted Stevens' progress as a songwriter since the release of Michigan. Illinois was named the best-reviewed album of 2005 by review aggregator Metacritic, and was included on several reviewers' "best of the decade" lists—including those of Paste, NPR, and Rolling Stone. According to aggregate website Acclaimed Music, Illinois is the most acclaimed album of 2005, 7th most acclaimed album of 2000s and 95th most acclaimed album in history. The album amounted to Stevens' greatest public success to date; it was his first to place on the Billboard 200, and it topped the Billboard list of "Heatseekers Albums". 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, Stevens continued a theme of his songwriting career by including multiple references to his Christian faith.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.53

Votes

5501

Genres

  • Pop
  • Folk
  • Indie
  • Singer Songwriter
Reviews
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Thu Jul 08 2021
2

Wow ok, not what I was expecting - I've always thought this guy was a guitarist's guitarist (but one of those ones that fly under the radar cause they write pop songs, kinda like John Mayer or something) - but I was WRONG. This is "big concept" indie pop from the mid-2000s that we didn't ever need, kinda like arcade fire. This shit all follows the same pattern: it goes absolutely fucking nowhere, but takes forever to do it. Just sickly sweet, repetitive, modern easy listening tripe. I'm sure it gets called "ambitious" a lot, but there's no real ambition here; by the 10min mark you've heard everything it has to offer, but it just keeps on fucking going anyway and you start to gaslight yourself and assume there must be more to it that you're not "getting". But in reality it's just art school hipsters turning like 2 motifs into an hour and 15's worth of album, and then the wankers at outlets like Pitchfork act like it's groundbreaking because they are either a) fooled by the length, b) know pretentious art rock is fucking annoying and talk it up to piss normal people off, or c) both. I'm wondering where you'd be most likely to hear this: one of those hipster cafes where you have to sit on chairs they stole from a primary school? a tiny house owned by a girl who mostly wears a combo of overalls and doc martens? at a local theatre before a reinterpretation of Hamlet from Ophelia's perspective? 2/5.

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Sun Oct 24 2021
1

Honestly just the blandest thing I've ever heard. If a yogurt made a sound this would be it.

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Fri Feb 26 2021
5

LOVE LOVE LOVE. I love Sufjan and I love this album. From the epic joy of Chicago to the quiet tragedy of Casimir Pulaski Day to the eerie fun of They are Night Zombies!!, it's delightfully weird, wonderful, joyful, and diverse. I'm so glad he wrote an album for Illinois and I want to go back to Chicago listening to it.

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Thu Apr 15 2021
5

Songs as delicate as a gossamer spider’s web. But wait, spider silk is tougher than kevlar and stronger than steel. And so we come to the artless metaphor of my review. Sufjan’s finely crafted songs appear whispy and delicate, ephemeral things - but a closer listen reveals the rock solid songcraft, astonishing lyrics, transcendent beauty and strength.

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Wed Oct 06 2021
5

One of the greatest albums ever made. Forget the lyrics and concept for a second, just the music alone is incredible. I love how you can hear each individual instrument coming together, but they become something greater than the some of their parts. \"They Are Night Zombies (...)\" is the perfect example of this. And the concept is super creative, and is explored in an amazing way. Absolutely flawless album, easily a top 5 album of all time for me.

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Tue Feb 02 2021
3

This sounds like what a Wes Anderson movie would sound like if it were an album.

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Thu Apr 15 2021
3

Did it allay my suspicions that he's a poser whose experiments with fey grandeur via cutsie-pie rhymes and honeyed vocals don't liberate him from the thrall of easy listening? Yeah, pretty much. That stuff is sorta there but with less pretention, more whimsy and, most of all, melodies that are too full-bodied to ignore. In truth, I heard this as two stars but have bumped it to three as I could see that happening with repeat listens.

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Fri Jan 15 2021
2

Nothing special at all

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Tue Mar 30 2021
2

false

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Wed Oct 14 2020
5

This was a fantastic album in my opinion. It felt so familiar yet so new and refreshing. The lyrics were beautiful and the instrumentation was lovely. I totally get the hype now.

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Wed Jan 13 2021
5

B e a utiful

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Mon Jan 25 2021
5

Love this album, one of my favourites from the last 20 years. Not a bad track, quite impressive considering its length.

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Thu Jul 22 2021
2

Geeze. Someone give this bastard a hug and a cup of strong black coffee. It's nothing but a stack of sad-sack, hipster, pseudo-deep lyrics that are utterly lacking in perspective or passion. The only saving grace is that the musicianship and production are absolutely stellar.

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Wed Sep 08 2021
2

I was bored by this. Lots of people love sufjan and never really given him a chance, maybe this was the wrong place to start?

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Thu Sep 17 2020
5

<3

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Fri Sep 04 2020
5

Amazing

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Mon Dec 14 2020
5

Yay, another one I've already listened to! Love this album very much. :)

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Tue Feb 02 2021
5

What a fantastic album. Even more amazing when you learn that Stevens played most of the instruments on the album. Loved the interludes between songs as well. The grandness of the compositions reminded me of Pet Sounds. Ambitious, but pulled off perfectly.

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Mon Jun 21 2021
4

crazy this dude still has 48 states to write an album for. also kinda pissed I was trying to study and spent 45 minutes reading about John Wayne Gacy instead

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Tue Nov 02 2021
4

I know every nook and crannie of this record. It was something that was played heavily in the tour van when Those Transatlantics were traversing the Eastern U.S. 2004-2006. We used to play the song about Chicago when we pulled into town for a show. It's a record with a lot of emotional weight on its own. Add the nostalgia for those times and it feels almost inappropriate to listen now. Like I'm an outsider to my own memories. Musically, this is so interesting. And his voice is beautiful and sweet. Sad he only made it through a couple states in his quest to write a record for each in the Union. But I'm happy Michigan was one of them (it's good, but this is his peak in my opinion).

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Wed Sep 08 2021
3

Wow this was well confusing. I've never known how I feel about Sufjan Stevens tbh, and this confirmed this .. again. I really loved some and utterly hated others. Strange place to!

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Tue Nov 09 2021
3

OK, this is going to sound really bad. But I thought Sufjan Stevens was the lead singer from System Of A Down. Oops. Definitely not. Yeah, so this isn't bad. But it is a bit.... different. It's a bit noodle-y in places. Experimental music has (to me) sometimes the feel of pretentiousness. "Look, I can put together anything and package it and people will buy it." I get the point of the concept album, and maybe if I was from the midwest I could appreciate it more. As it is, it just didn't hit me like I was expecting. Not something I will revisit.

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Tue Nov 17 2020
5

Odd sound, but I like it. I like \"Chicago.\" good, solid album.

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Mon Nov 30 2020
5

I really like this album. It is a soothing listen even with some heavy concepts.

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Fri Mar 26 2021
5

Love love love

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Wed Jan 13 2021
5

Very pleasant.

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Fri Feb 12 2021
5

A surprise

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Fri Jan 22 2021
5

4 stars, would listen to again.

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Sun Mar 14 2021
5

2000-luvun alun merkittävimpiä levyjä, joka tulee löytymään pitkään klassikkolevylistauksilta. Jos Oasiksen (Whats the story) Morning Glory oli itselläni 1990-luvun kuunnelluimpia levyjä niin tämä on aika lähellä samaa 2000-luvulta. Lumoavaa äänimaisemien maalailua, joka pitää otteessaan levyn alusta loppuun.

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Mon Jun 21 2021
5

Still great after all these years

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Thu Jan 28 2021
5

Classic emo/indie rock

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Thu Feb 11 2021
5

AMAZING. One of my favourite albums.

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Wed Jan 27 2021
5

already loved it

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Tue Jan 19 2021
5

There's something special there, despite the overuse of children's choir.

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Fri Jan 15 2021
5

The greatest Sufjan album ever. I was a jr. in high school when this album came out and it was like nothing i'd ever heard.

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Thu Jan 14 2021
5

Absolutely a perfect example of the Genre. Many songs I've heard before, but have never listened through the album completely. Definitely worth multiple listens.

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Fri May 21 2021
5

Realmente único, creo es la mejor forma de hablar de este disco, no hay nada que se le parezca ni en su música ni en su concepto. Música muy variada y en todos los casos bien pensada y armada, sencilla cuando debe de serlo o elaborada y bombástica en otras ocasiones, sin sentirse forzado en ninguno de los casos. La orquestación realmente inventiva desde el inicio del disco no para de sentirse creatividad cambiante que mantiene un mismo concepto. La idea original de hacer un disco para cada estado de los EE.UU. y terminar con 50 discos obviamente era absurda, aunque al escuchar este en realidad termina uno con ganas de que fuera un proyecto real. Se siente el trabajo y la investigación sobre el estado que realizó, hay tantas referencias que más de una vez me lanzó a Wikipedia a investigar de qué hablaba, siempre terminando en algún tema que fue interesante y, aun así, terminé con muchas que me hubiera gustado entender. No conocía nada de Sufjan Stevens, de hecho en mi cabeza el nombre en algún momento se mezcló y confundió con Matisyahu (que no me agrada) y nunca puse su música. Que bueno que este ejercicio me ha hecho corregir ese error, con este disco y después de leer un poco sobre él me quedan bastantes ganas de conocer algo más sobre sus proyectos. Nunca creí que habría un disco concepto que hablara de Superman, Chicago, la esposa de Lincoln, avistamientos de OVNIS y John Wayne Gacy que pudiera ser tan bueno y cohesivo. Por cierto esa canción de John Wayne Gacy realmente lúgubre y con un final de mensaje un poco inesperado. En realidad estaba pensando en contras que ponerle para no dar un 5 y sería buscar minucias, la verdad es que la música, las letras, el concepto, todo me parece excelente y creo que a pesar de serme totalmente desconocido hasta hace unos días, para mí si se gana el 5.

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Tue Jan 19 2021
5

Super, complexe instrumentatie, van typisch singer songwriter tot hard

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Fri Apr 16 2021
5

I've listened to this album before once or twice maybe, and it never really grabbed me, but paying more attention to it this time around and it's _wonderful_. Gorgeous music, poignant lyrics, amazing stuff. Fave track - "Chicago", although I can imagine that might change with a few more listens...

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Tue Feb 09 2021
5

love

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Tue Feb 02 2021
5

Love this album, specifically Chicago, feel the illinoise!, and Casimir Pulaski day. The experimental nature and samples feel intimately eccentric, like reading a journal.

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Fri Feb 19 2021
5

One of my favorite albums. Love it!

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Tue Apr 20 2021
5

One of my favorite albums that helped get me through a lot of my emo highschool days. I still listen to it every so often when I am in the right mood. Fave Track - Decatur (or something something step mom)

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Tue Apr 20 2021
5

i listened to this album a lot in high school. sometimes i'm not feeling his style but today it was hitting me right

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Thu Jul 22 2021
5

This sounds like someone has mashed together the Flaming Lips, Neil Young, Super Furry Animals, the Polyphonic Spree and the chorus of a musical. What comes out is unlike anything ever, and quite brilliant. Big, orchestral, great melodies, with unusual and interesting lyrics. All complimented and contested with Sufjan Stevens' quiet, breathy vocals. A triumph of song writing and recording. 5/5.

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Sat Feb 27 2021
5

Una maravilla de disco, no he podido parar de escucharlo. Me ha encantado

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Tue Jan 26 2021
5

Great album! Can't believe I hadn't heard it earlier.

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Sun Mar 14 2021
5

Varsin megalomaaninen teos aina kappaleiden nimiä myöten. Sufjan on epäilemättä jonkin sortin musiikillinen nero niin säveltämisen kuin useamman instrumentin hallitsemisen puolesta. Hyvän kontrastin monimuotoisiin sävellyksiin tuo miehen hyvin rauhallinen ja miellyttävä lauluääni. Ensimmäinen itselle ennaltaan tuntematon artisti ja levy, minkä kohdalla nappasin koko levyn talteen myöhempää kuuntelua varten.

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Sun Feb 14 2021
5

Even if he never finished the other states in this Grand and ambitious project, this is a beautiful loveletter to the time and place.

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Sat Apr 03 2021
5

De orkestrale composities, en de vrolijke noten in dit album hebben mij positief verrast! De korte instrumentale intermezzo's zorgen voor leuke afwisseling. Zeker een album om nog eens opnieuw te beluisteren

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Sat Apr 03 2021
5

Really a nice surprise for me. Recent (younger than me) music that’s right up my alley.

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Sat Apr 03 2021
5

Prachtig album.

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Sat Mar 20 2021
5

Sufjan en estado primigenio. Mágico como siempre, folk pop maravilloso y melódico. Genial

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Thu Feb 18 2021
5

Muy bueno, me ha encantado

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Tue Feb 16 2021
5

none

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Tue Mar 09 2021
5

Fand ich völlig gile!

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Wed Mar 03 2021
5

muito show de bola curti bastante

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Tue May 25 2021
5

This album is a masterpiece.

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Mon Mar 29 2021
5

Amazing

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Thu Apr 15 2021
5

Was pretty gutted when this ended. Will always love this.

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Tue Jun 01 2021
5

Well I've not really ever listened to Sufjan, but I like this so far and I'm only on song 3. As long as the rest of the album holds up, I can see giving this a 4 or 5. Ok I was told this might get depressing, yeah I can see it in song 10. I like the sounds a lot. Yes. A 5.

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Tue Apr 20 2021
5

very good and sexy

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Tue Jun 08 2021
5

Incredibly easy to listen to from start to finish. Had previously had a few Sufjan Stevens songs but the album as a whole was a great listen

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Wed May 19 2021
5

shockingly good. the third song and Chicago are great songs and the whole album is kinda a vibe. Definitely an album to come back to 4.5/5

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Wed May 12 2021
5

Humorous, heartbreaking, groovy, beautiful. Such an enjoyable listen. Really, really unique.

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Tue Jul 27 2021
5

I recognize there is some hypocrisy in praising this album when it hits a lot of the same criteria that I nailed Soundgarden to the wall for just last week, not to mention all the "psychedelic" rock I've lost patience with. Album longer than it needs to be? Probably. Tracks that run well past five minutes without much tonal distinction? Sure. Lyrics that are trying to be deep, but don't seem sincere? Very objective, but I could see it. I can't tell you what the difference is here. Maybe it's the exceptional production. Maybe it's the track titles that inject the perfect amount of levity and bring you in on the joke. Maybe it's more palatable to my Millennial tastes, alongside a recognition that maybe rock isn't an appropriate genre for every application. Whatever the case, this album worked hard for me.

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Fri Aug 06 2021
5

Landmark in indie folk of the 21st century. Each track is beautifully arranged with carefully crafted instrumentation and introspective lyrics that draw from classical compositions and great poets. Subject matter is focused on Illinois topics and his own Christianity, making for a very personal experience. I could point something that stuck out to me on each track. For example, "Come on Feel the Illinoise" has a distinctive Chicago sound that reminds me of the musical. It's feels like a classical arrangement divided in movements, still cohesive, but flows naturally. In "John Wayne Gacy Jr", we see inspirations of his Christianity to humanize one of the most infamous serial killers in history, an individual who has a soul just like everyone else but grew up in circumstances that unfortunately led him down this past, teaching us that we can make the difference to prevent further massacres or redeem them as productive citizens. "Jacksonville" and "Decatur" remind me this is indeed a folk album with instruments like the banjo and a clear focus on the vocals. Oh and while I'm at it I love all the back vocals. You can tell there are different people on each track and it helps give each of them an identity. But then we get back to "Chicago" and the mood shifts from small time folk to big city feels (more like indie pop) with busy instruments and loud vocals, inviting the audience to sing along. And again it feels like a musical (Chicago) with the focus on the narrator given those momentary soliloquies about his personal experiences. Love the coda but I'm not sure it fit with the rest of the song since the rest of the song didn't feel particularly holy. This is followed by "Casimir Pulaski Day" which is another favorite of mine, for its simplicity and all-over-the-place story that reflects youthful grief and confusion. "The Man of Metropolis" is probably the next most complex song after "Chicago", fusing many different genres, especially rock. Love the distorted guitar sound at the end. "Prarie Fire" to me starts out sounding like it has a mystery theme turning into some holiday-themed Eastern European folk song between the chorus vocals and strange Christmas-like instruments in the latter half. Again, I could talk about the rest of the songs, but the point is that each shows Sufjan's creativity and masterful display of how to use the limited tools at his disposal to the full extent, playing with instruments and vocals in a million ways that doesn't sound experimental or repetitive, making each song stand out while still putting emphasis to his poetic lyrics. From start to finish, this album is a masterpiece to show indie musicians just what is possible with pure talent.

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Wed Aug 25 2021
5

Awesome album, Chicago stands out.

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Wed Aug 25 2021
5

Epic tender melancholia with cheer creeping in

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Thu Sep 23 2021
5

Indie chamber prog? I’m a fan.

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Fri Oct 22 2021
5

Nice to listen to this again

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Sat Oct 23 2021
5

Was soll ich sagen ausser diesem Ding nahezu die Perfektion zu attestieren, die es anstrebt, aber dadurch minimal weniger verdient, als späteres und für viele zu viel überfrachtetes "Age of Ads", in welchem Sufjan beweist, was er in "Illionis" (wie auch "Michigan") geradewegs andeutet: statt Singer / Songwriter ist er ein wahrer Composer ! Sobald man das verinnerlicht und die early years ("Seven Swans") und aktuelle Anbiederung ("Carrie and Lowell") als umfassende Klammer ausklammert, wird hier schnell klar, was diese quirky Kreidestimme mit treuer Gefolgschaft zu schaffen im Stande ist. Klar, Repetition in der Struktur mag ermüden, aber wird nicht Schicht für Schicht draufgebuttert? Zu Traurigkeit & introspektiver Dunkelheit ("John Wayne Gaycey Jr.") viel Liebe ("Chicago") und Gottesfürchtigkeit vor der Allgegenwärtigkeit des Todes ("Casimir Pulaski Day") in die Marmelade eingekocht wird das Ganze eingemacht; haltbar, über Jahre, Jahrzehnte, vielleicht ein Leben. Ich mache bislang immer wieder gerne ein Gläschen auf, es hält mich lebendig, es macht mich immer wieder klar und auch wenn ich den Geschmack nur allzu gut kenne, mich fast dran überfressen habe...ich brauche es, um über jeden Winter zu kommen. 4.9

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Thu Oct 28 2021
5

Ambitious and sprawling. This one grew on me as I listened, so I went back for a second dose and it still felt fresh. Has to be considered a modern classic. Best track: Chicago

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Thu Oct 28 2021
5

Super cool album! Was initially nervous, but man, Stevens brings indie to a whole new level. Enjoyed thoroughly.

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Tue Nov 02 2021
5

This is already one of my favorite albums from Sufjan, definitely appreciate an excuse to listen to it today!

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Tue Nov 09 2021
5

Sufjan Stevens' Illinois(e) is an interesting musical journey through the core of a songwriter's beliefs. The Christian undertones are there without ever being in your face. Chicago is an amazing tune (a masterpiece perhaps) and the highlight of the album but certainly not the only song worth mentioning. The opening track sets the mood for the album. A beautiful ballad all played by Sufjan containing the haunting line "history involved itself" which for some reason gets me every time I hear it. Come on feel the Illinoise picks up the mood. It seems to be about the 1893 worlds fair in Colombia. Also could be about the divide between art and commerce. I could go on about the rest of the album but this would be a long winded review and the treasures on hear should be explored by the listener. This album needs multiple listens to fully sink in.

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Tue Nov 09 2021
5

Already one of my all time favorite albums. Have listened to it many times, was fortunate enough to see Sufjan in concert when he was touring this album. Saw him again on the Carrie and Lowell tour.

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Mon Nov 15 2021
5

Really nice melodies and pacing. The background chorus is really good.

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Tue Nov 16 2021
5

all my homies love sufjan stevens. i actually did not remember a lot of songs on this album and its very fun to revisit

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Wed Nov 17 2021
5

Liked it. Had heard it a few times.

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Tue Nov 30 2021
5

Testing.

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Mon Dec 06 2021
5

love it.

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Tue Jan 04 2022
5

Sublime album - somehow been avoiding it but it’s a masterpiece

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Sat Jan 15 2022
5

Never heard of this artist before. I knew the song Chicago but not who sung it. This is an excellent album and one I will return to and recommend to others.

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Tue Jan 18 2022
5

Genre: Chamber Pop 5/5 Sufjan Stevens put a lot of effort into this record, and it pays off big time, as Illinois is one of the best pop albums from the last 20 years. While I was certainly on my way to give this a 4, the album never got old, never got boring, and always sounded fresh and engaging. From the opener to the outro, this thing is chock-full of gorgeous pop arrangements, beautiful production, and immaculate songwriting. Although Sufjan certainly had some strings/brass help throughout this project, Sufjan pulls a McCartney and plays nearly every instrument completely by himself. His bass playing alone should give you all you need to know in terms of his playing prowess, the guy can play. Shades of the Beatles, Donovan, and the Beach Boys, Sufjan Stevens used all of his influences to knock this thing out of the park. Wrigley Field, I guess. Come On! Feel The Illinoise!, Chicago, and The Tallest Man… are some of my favs from my first listen, but I’m sure this will reward repeat listens, and a few of these songs will end up forever favorites. Really great record.

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Thu Jan 27 2022
5

Bom pra escutar trabalhando

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Mon Jan 31 2022
5

Uma-obra prima! Não achei outra forma de definir esse álbum. 1h14 minutos de pura contemplação. Pelo o que li, as músicas falam sobre o Estado de Illinois, contando acontecimentos marcantes do lugar. Os títulos são geniais também!

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Tue Feb 01 2022
5

listened to many times his best album, imo

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Sun Feb 20 2022
5

This is my current favorite album. Sufjan Stevens is a master of weaving history, emotion, place, and music together into an unassailable whole. His instrumentation is expansive enough to accompany his diversity in lyrical content and his use of melody rank him among the best. This album means a lot to me personally, but it’s the cinematic, suite-like, textured, ambitious whole that brings me back.

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Tue Mar 01 2022
5

Low 5, Really hit the mark for me, but not sure what the mark was

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Thu Mar 10 2022
5

Wow this album is amazing. It’s so different, but not “out there”. Honest music with a Bob Dylan feel. I don’t know what I feel, but I feel different listening to this album. Will definitely listen again.

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Sat Mar 12 2022
5

03/11/2022 One of my favorite albums.

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Thu Mar 17 2022
5

This is a beautiful beautiful album. Gently and inspiring, melodic and touching. Heard many of these tracks live but together on this album they fit so well together. A great concept

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Thu Apr 07 2022
5

Was a lovely surprise.

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Fri Apr 08 2022
5

9/10. Likely even a 10/10 on a relisten. The song titles felt a little too shot though.

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Fri Apr 08 2022
5

9/10 really good

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Fri Apr 15 2022
5

Front to back great.

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Mon May 02 2022
5

Quintessential

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Sat May 21 2022
5

Illinoice

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Sun May 22 2022
5

Beautifully composed album that I wish I knew of before today. Even the banjo doesn't turn me off, there's definitely something to be said for tasteful banjoplucking as opposed to the usual disgusting twang *spits*. Love the Cure call backs and all of the beautifully arranged horn accompaniments. Fillled me with positivitand optimism.

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Tue Jun 07 2022
5

This is really the only Sufjan album I’m familiar with but it’s a stunningly beautiful and staggeringly ambitious piece of art that would be incredibly difficult to reproduce. The fact that he had ever planned to do an album for each state is completely fucking bonkers.

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Sun Jun 12 2022
5

will stevens end up as the poster boy of the aughts indie scene? is he already? will he be the face of music in general from the aughts? i'd go with probably, maybe, and unlikely but wouldn't surprise me. in the indie scene only arcade fire, new pornographers, bon iver, the walkmen, and the hold steady can make a case. in the overall category there's a tad more competition, but he's still got a punchers chance.

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Wed Jun 22 2022
5

This is absolutely excellent

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Wed Jun 22 2022
5

I have loved Sufjan ever since a friend put "For the Widows in Paradise, For the Fatherless in Ypsilanti" as her MySpace song in 2006. I prefer his Michigan album for obvious reasons, and I think basically all of his work is brilliant, but Illinoise remains his biggest "hit". Hard to pick a favorite track, but John Wayne Gacy Jr. has some of the most fucked up lyrics I've ever heard.

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Thu Jul 14 2022
5

I fucking love Sufjan Stevens. Subtle vocals, subtle guitar. It all comes together in such a wonderfully done package. It’s 90 mins that flies by.

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Wed Jul 21 2021
5

Nice concept album, that is a welcome surprise in this 1001 albums generator. An instant classic for me.

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Fri Sep 09 2022
5

One of the albums of all time PREFS: TOUT MOINS PREF: RIEN

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Tue Sep 20 2022
5

Sadly goated. Sounds like you're in a small town in the corn fields of Illinois

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Tue Sep 20 2022
5

- Already own on vinyl - Best Sufjan album - Top 10 album of 21st century

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Thu Sep 22 2022
5

Really enjoyed this whole album. Light chill music with a variety of instruments. stevens has a great soft voice. I liked the use of the piano and flute

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Mon Oct 03 2022
5

Love it!

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Tue Oct 04 2022
5

Great one!

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Tue Oct 04 2022
5

Another of my favourite albums, but I'll try and give it a closer listen to see if I hear anything fresh... Wow, I'm really glad I did give it a full and fresh listen, because I just realised that I've been neglecting the second half of the album for a while now. I had forgotten how beautiful "The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades" and "The Tallest Man..." are. Not to mention the last song, which was weirdly the first song I ever listened to from this album, on my sister's iPod shuffle if I remember correctly! There are too many fantastic songs ( and their titles are too damn long) on this album for me to list them all here. But I will say that Jacksonville, Decatur, and Casmir Pulaski Day are some of my favourite songs ever. I often get snippets from these songs (and others from this album) randomly stuck in my head as I go about my day. The instrumentation, vocals and harmonies throughout the album are all delightful. The historical references in the lyrics are so specific that its often hard to get the full meaning without looking things up, but that just adds another element for me. Over all a perfect 10 album, in my opinion.

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Thu Oct 13 2022
5

I liked it

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Sat Oct 15 2022
5

This is the quintessential Sufjan Stevens album

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Thu Oct 20 2022
5

Hadn’t listened to this one forever. Love!!!

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Mon Oct 24 2022
5

The mid-late aughts were the absolute peak of indie rock and this album is a perfect example. A TITAN of the genre. So much instrumental variety but all so beautiful with witty, deep lyrics throughout.

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Wed Nov 16 2022
5

excellent album. Definitely want to listen some more to this one.

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Fri Nov 18 2022
5

Great album. Great lad. He clearly loves Jesus very much!

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Sat Nov 19 2022
5

Brilliant

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Mon Nov 28 2022
5

Htjela sam ga poslusat par puta da se uvjerim da je petica.

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Fri Dec 02 2022
5

I would have to say that Sufjan Stevens is my favourite indie artist. And although he has quite a few doozies out there, Illinoise is probably my favourite album of his. His brand of chamber indie pop is marked by quirky lyrics, weird time signatures and the judicious use of horns, strings and vocal choir that produces a chaotic disjointed sound, but somehow it all flows together so well. Like a good wine with complex notes and multiple layers his music may take a few listenings to get into your head, but once it does, its remarkable.

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Sat Dec 03 2022
5

Beautiful poetic lyrics sung with a wonderful harmonic voice. Lush arty melodies and arrangements. Over and hour long but flows by effortlessly.

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Tue Jun 01 2021
4

Great album, I really love the strings, horns, and other accompanying additions

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Wed Jan 06 2021
4

Solid album overall. Would listen to again.

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Fri Oct 09 2020
4

super mellow. some catchy stuff. 1000 to go

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Wed Dec 23 2020
4

Very good

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Wed Jan 13 2021
4

Tight af. Can’t believe I put off listening to it for so long, I think I’m not as into the individual songs as I am the cohesion of the whole album.

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Fri Apr 09 2021
4

Pretty great album. Folksy feel, but also some more experimental sounds. It's the kind of thing I would expect to hear in a non-chain coffee shop, and is appealing to me today (he says as the dulcet banjo sounds come through on "Casimir Pulaski Day"). I'd listen to it again. Solid 4 stars.

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Sun Jan 24 2021
4

I like the sounds of this albums, between the band and the smooth vocals to the piano and chimes. At the heart of this album you have chicago and casimir pulaski day. Both songs deal with care for fellow human beings. The one negative to Sufjan Stevens is the heavy religious undertones, specifically for christianity.

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Tue Feb 02 2021
4

It’s no Carrie and Lowell but still so very good.

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Tue Jan 26 2021
4

Pretty good. Chill voice and a pleasant listen.

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Fri Mar 05 2021
4

Obwohl alles drin ist, die Arrangements und Kompositionen ganz groß sind, verfängt das Album bei mir (noch) nicht recht. Dennoch: zu gut für drei Sterne.

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Wed Jan 27 2021
4

Probably my favorite album that I've been introduced to on this so far. Some of the songs are really good. I particularly liked Chicago. Overall, the album is melodic and ethereal. Love his voice. Relaxing.

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Fri Jan 22 2021
4

Yes be listened before, he is a great musician, and the album is great. Maybe a few songs too long. But great

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Wed Jan 20 2021
4

Nice instrumental and voice. Some songs a bit odd and too instrumental/long instrumental breaks

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Wed Jan 13 2021
4

The jazz infusion is really well done. Not overwhelming but helps tell the story.

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Sun Apr 18 2021
4

So many standout songs I love by the always worthwhile Sufjan Stevens, though for me the very long album falls slightly short of the highest tier by an element of self-indulgence exemplified by its ridiculous song titles.

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Sat Jun 12 2021
4

Quite chill and good to work by

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Wed Jan 13 2021
4

Excellent - soft

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Mon Jan 18 2021
4

Nice. 22 songs is a lot of whimsy. Listened 18/1/21

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Thu Jan 14 2021
4

Calm and listening concept album. Sounds is consistent but varies in a way that keeps you interested

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Tue Feb 02 2021
4

evident that a story is being told with the carefully crafted tones and nostalgic melodies

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Sun Jan 17 2021
4

Actually really enjoyable.

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Tue Jun 29 2021
4

Blown away by the album. That John Wayne Gacy song will haunt me.

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Thu Jan 14 2021
4

The names of the songs are so long but everything was really sweet

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Fri Feb 05 2021
4

love this lol

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Fri Jan 15 2021
4

zajímavé na poslech

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Fri Feb 05 2021
4

What a strange album

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Thu Jan 14 2021
4

Interesting concept album, not something you bump in the car with the homies but it does manage to tell an interesting story with most of the expression coming from the minimalist vocals and overwhelmingly diverse instrumentation. There is room for improvement but a solid 7 for sure

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Mon Jan 18 2021
4

Great album

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Tue Jul 13 2021
4

Quiet, worth a try

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Tue Jan 19 2021
4

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Tue Feb 02 2021
4

I enjoy this album.

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Mon Mar 22 2021
4

Soc molt fan de Sufjan Stevens. I aquest àlbum és pur Sufjan 100%: excessiu, recarregat i amb moments inoblidables. Temes con "Concerning de UFO", "John Wayne Gacy Jr" o "Chicago" formen part dels meus temes preferits de tots els temps. El disc és irregular i molt dens, amb 22 cançons i una durada que supera els 75 minuts. Tot i així, és un dels seus millors i més inspirats àlbums. Segueixo preferint "Carrie & Lowell" i l'EP "All delighted people", però "Illinoise" és un molt bon àlbum.

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Sat Jan 30 2021
4

Finally some music I looked forward to hearing. Reminded me of Aerosha and good times. Very comforting.

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Thu Jul 15 2021
4

4/5

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Thu Jan 21 2021
4

Never heard this before (only a couple of songs sounded familiar) but I really enjoyed it. Will listen again.

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Thu Jul 22 2021
4

I remember reading at the time that this was meant to be the second album in a series of albums for every US State. Having gone back and checked...... that didn't happen. But I do like the grandiosity of the arrangements on this album. Reminds me of The Flaming Lips at their most orchestral

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Fri Apr 02 2021
4

The layers and textures of this album is so lovely. It's the type of album I could drive around with around with for weeks and have a different experience through every listen. Until I actually start to understand the lyrics and feel myself growing into it.

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Tue Apr 20 2021
4

I thought it was an interesting concept & good music. I feel like I would discover even more to like listening to it again more closely. A little long & some of the songs felt a little too down, but overall I enjoyed it.

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Sun Mar 14 2021
4

Kun näin levyn kannen, niin en uskaltanut alkaa kuuntelemaan vielä samana päivänä, vaan keräsin ensin rohkeutta sunnuntaihin saakka. Tuntematon esittäjä ja levyn kannessa lukea "Illinoise" saivat epäilemään, olisiko kyseessä noise-genren levy. Kun viimein sain kerättyä itseni ja laitettuani levyn soimaan, kivi vierähti sydämeltäni. Pakko kyllä tunnustaa, että vasta toisen biisin aikana pystyin rentoutumaan. :D Musiikki oli miellyttävää, vähän tuli mieleen Yann Tiersen ja joissain kohdin Belle & Sebastian. Tämän voisi laittaa joskus uudestaankin soimaan, ainakin taustalle.

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Mon Jan 25 2021
4

Great songwriting. A little overly indulgent with length of songs and flowery instrumentals.

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Thu Jan 28 2021
4

-Beautiful. Listen to a few select songs but never the whole thing. A very cinematic, broad and eclectic album.

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Fri Apr 30 2021
4

So strong and immersive album, I loved the whispering tone which was present almost the entire album.

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Tue Feb 09 2021
4

I liked it! Calming

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Fri Feb 12 2021
4

Lekker achtergrondgeluidjes

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Fri Jun 04 2021
4

An attractive album with acoustic sounds and pleasure man vocal.

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Sat Apr 17 2021
4

Klug und gut aber vielleicht ein bisschen verkopft

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Wed Mar 31 2021
4

This is an album that really needs more than one listen. Doesn't initially feel as cerebral as other works, but the depth is there and it certainly grows

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Thu Apr 15 2021
4

A unique sound. Always immediately recognisable. Melancholic and uplifting all at once. Do the song titles imbue the tracks with more poignancy? Yeup. More than deserved? Noup. Love it.

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Thu Apr 15 2021
4

Beautiful lush arrangements, plays like a prog rock concept record; King Crimson meets The Flaming Lips. Needs more listens to read into the lyrical themes.

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Thu Apr 15 2021
4

Slogs at the end

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Thu Apr 15 2021
4

I like the vibes. It’s very easy for it to fall in the background and not pay attention. But overall it’s a solid album

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Fri May 21 2021
4

Great Album, very enjoyable

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Tue May 25 2021
4

Great album. Weird and sad.

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Tue Jun 15 2021
4

I can tell this album is a gem, I listened to the whole thing. But it doesn't make me happy, just more melancholic and pensive. Therefore, I tenuously have to give it 4 stars, while knowing it deserves 5 for being creatively powerful and clear in its expression.

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Sat Jul 17 2021
4

Sufjan Srevens has many gifts. His voice is beautiful even otherworldly. He has a gift for writing simple, beautiful melodies and his talent for complex and beautiful arrangements is undeniable. He certainly has a talent for stupid song titles. There is a lot to like about this album; it's certainly ambitious and is filled with some excellent songs of varying styles; John Wayne Gacy, Jr., Chicago, Casimir Pulaski Day, The Man of Metropolis Steals our Hearts, They Are Night Zombies..., The Talkest Man, The Broadest Shoulders . Does it's reach exceed its grasp? Perhaps. Could it be 10 or 15 minutes shorter? Absolutely! Is it a satisfying, rewarding listening experience? Yes it is. 3.75 🌟 that I think will go higher with more listens, something which I look forward to. I think I'll buy the vinyl

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Fri Jun 25 2021
4

Was really nice and calming, had a cool album cover and nice names of songs. Think it went on a bit too long though, lost attention.

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Thu Aug 19 2021
4

Eclectic but really upbeat

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Sat Aug 21 2021
4

Strong 4 stars. One of my college favorites. Looking forward to going through the whole album again. So many great songs that make me nostalgic about my home state. The only think keeping it away from 5 stars are the little instrumental tracks.. too overdone

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Thu Sep 02 2021
4

When listening in the background, really good albums often force themselves into your attention. In other cases, it can take a while to realize how good an album is. I had this playing in the background, found it pleasant, but didn't pay much attention to it. During the final third of the album I finally realized this is really good, starting paying more attention and was enchanted by the dreamy, ethereal beauty. Now I'm halfway through the second spin. The arrangements seem deceptively simple. However, underneath is a wide range of variety with an astonishing depth of feeling, packed in a whimsical shell of not taking itself too seriously. I'll give it a 4 for now, but possibly it would be a 5 after more listens, which it will most likely get from me.

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Mon Sep 06 2021
4

Initially wasn't in the mood but warmed up to it and eventually ended up really liking it. Maybe it's my soft spot for Chicago, or some of the great vocals with backing from Shara Worden. Would listen again.

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Thu Sep 09 2021
4

Sad, dramatic, pretty

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Tue Sep 21 2021
4

Good slo-fi listening.

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Wed Sep 22 2021
4

Meget spændene album og et kæmpe projekt. Meget vellydende og selvom der er langt bliver det aldrig kedeligt eller dårligt. Kræver flere gennemlytninger, men harmonierne hans stemme kan altså noget. 4,5 stjerne

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Mon Sep 27 2021
4

Upbeat and a bit weird. What a great combination.

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Sun Oct 03 2021
4

A pleasant listen.

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Mon Oct 04 2021
4

Great album I was aware of, but never committed to listening to

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Thu Oct 07 2021
4

Rating: 8/10

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Fri Oct 22 2021
4

Força soroll va causar en el moment que es va treure, per la novetat del seu so, per la seva ambició i pel cacarejat pla de dedicar un disc a cada estat dels EUA, que després del 'Michigan' anterior i aquest va acabar quedant en no res. És un disc admirable, dens, de digestió lenta, amb no més de dos o tres temes que puguin entrar de primeres... però és un d'aquells discos que trascendeixen moments i períodes i acaben quedant allà... per sempre

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Tue Nov 02 2021
4

So, this guy wrote, recorded (almost all the instruments), and produced an entire "soundtrack" based the history of people of an entire state? It doesn't get any more indie-folk than that people! It took me a little bit to get into this album - but I eventually did. It does play very much like a movie or Broadway score, though (which I think is the intent), but that makes it feel like it's missing something at times. Still - I really dug a lot of the songs. Jacksonville, Decatur, and Chicago were probably my favorites. On pure listening enjoyment, I'd probably give this a 3, but the feat that Stevens undertook (and pulled off), definitely makes it worthy of this list. People should hear and appreciate this. So - 4.

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Sat Nov 06 2021
4

I've tried to get into this album for years and it only just clicked today. One of those that must be listened to as a complete product - no single song defines this LP, nor sets the tone. It's the collective themes (coupled with great melodies and lush production) that make this album whole.

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Mon Nov 08 2021
4

Lovely. Sam introduced me to Sufjan Stevens a couple of years ago and it is just my sort of music. Indie-folk.

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Tue Nov 09 2021
4

I know what I said about the last two indie rock albums and I know this one is a similar genre, but Illinois struck a chord early. Maybe it was Stevens' more diverse use of instruments or his more varied sound and tempos across the album, but I really liked it. It won't take me 5 or more listens to really appreciate it. Some highlights for me were Come On Feel the Illinoise (Part II), Jacksonville, Chicago, The Man of Metropolis... (my favorite song on the album), The Predatory Wasp..., and The Tallest Man...(Part I). I think it could've been packaged a bit tighter (some unnecessary reprises, long run-time) but as a concept album, it's pretty cool.

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Tue Nov 09 2021
4

This is an oldie-this is a goodie-meant for a chill evening. Slightly sad but epic. Your the main character

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Thu Nov 11 2021
4

Twee but loveable.

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Thu Nov 11 2021
4

Really appreciate the stories within.

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Tue Nov 23 2021
4

I knew a couple of these, but the rest were fun! Top marks for track names 🏆 Fav new track: The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades Is Out To Get Us

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Thu Nov 25 2021
4

I'd never heard Sufjan Stevens before, but he's going to score my quirky indie film one day.

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