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Sufjan Stevens - Illinois (new lp in his "50 States" project) due 7/5/05

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Sufjan Stevens - Illinois (new lp in his "50 States" project) due 7/5/05

Old 07-08-05, 11:14 PM
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I agree, this album is fantastic, and I'm currently obsessed with it.
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Old 07-09-05, 03:13 AM
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I cannot stop listening to this cd....I showed it to a friend earlier and played pretty much the whole cd for him while hanging out...then went to a different friends and played them the cd....listened to a lot of it...now I'm listening to it at home...so good...and they all agreed and want a copy.
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Old 07-09-05, 06:30 PM
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I'm really digging C'mon, Feel the Illinoise, John Wayne Gacy & Chicago right now.

Definitely will be amongst the best of the year come December.
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Old 07-11-05, 01:15 PM
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John Wayne Gacy Jr. is the most beatifully creepy song I've ever heard about a serial killer. This album just flows from song to song. It needs to be taken in as a whole because individual songs don't do it justice. Actually kind of reminds me of Brian Wilson's Smile (I'm actually starting to like it better, sorry Brian)
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Old 07-11-05, 02:14 PM
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yes...John Wayne Gacy Jr. is my favorite track on the album...just like cungar said, it is very beautiful, yet at the same time, listening to the lyrics and the story of the song, it is daunting and emotional.
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Old 07-16-05, 01:15 AM
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I picked up a free copy at work the other day and will have to give this a listen.

My copy has Superman on the cover. Is that cover no longer worth the big bucks?
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Old 07-21-05, 02:18 PM
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Great CD. It's a wonderful experience to listen to something so fresh. Sufjan doesn't sound like anyone I've heard. By the way, the Hastings Music in Conroe, TX had 1 other copy with Superman on the cover, if one wants a collector's item.
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Old 07-21-05, 09:59 PM
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This album is the best of the year...so far! He did a great job with this album, definately my favorite of his to date. We'll see whats to come.
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Old 07-25-05, 10:31 AM
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Off-topic:

Originally Posted by automator
Gotta love the shout out to my hometown on track 3. (Ypsilanti)
Hey, Ypsilanti denizens, is there (or was there) a drive-in in your town called the "Chick-Inn" which had a "chicken on the sign and neon hot dog"?

There's a Gories song about this drive-in and mentions that it's located in Ypsilanti.

On-topic: I love the "Illinois" album. It's such a great 'album' album that flows so well. A couple of the songs I'd listen to out of context, but overall, listening from start to finish is much more effective.
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Old 07-25-05, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by sundog
Off-topic:

Hey, Ypsilanti denizens, is there (or was there) a drive-in in your town called the "Chick-Inn" which had a "chicken on the sign and neon hot dog"?

There's a Gories song about this drive-in and mentions that it's located in Ypsilanti.
There sure is.

Ate there a couple of months ago. Great onion rings.
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Old 07-25-05, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by automator
There sure is.

Ate there a couple of months ago. Great onion rings.
Sweet. Thanks for the info. The Gories song is from 1990-91 so I was curious if the place was still in business. The next time (which would be the first time) I'm in Ypsilanti I'm going there . . .
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Old 07-25-05, 11:56 AM
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Errr....picked this up because of you guys. And yes, it is the shizzle nizzle. Is that Michigan CD good?
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Old 07-25-05, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by starseed1981
Errr....picked this up because of you guys. And yes, it is the shizzle nizzle. Is that Michigan CD good?

Yeah, the michigan cd is really good. It's quite a bit like the Illinois one. All of his stuff is great. His first cd (A Sun Came!) is different but great. His 2nd cd (Enjoy Your Rabbit) is all experimental instrumental, but still really fantastic. Then in between Michigan and Illinois, he released Seven Swans which is more just solo stuff by himself (more singer/songwriter stuff I guess you could say), and it is really really good. I'd recommend getting all of his cd's, but probably starting with the latest 3.
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Old 07-25-05, 11:43 PM
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I haven't heard the cd yet, and it may be very good. But I'm not very impressed by the idea for a cd for every state idea at this point. If he were on state 38 at this point I would be interested but this being only the second state he's done, it just seems like a lame marketing angle. I'm not trying to knock the guy, he sounds intresting and i want to give it a listen. I just don't like how all the reviewers keep pushing that angle that he is going to make an album for every state when that is so unlikely and just really gimmicky.
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Old 07-26-05, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by jjacobs399
I haven't heard the cd yet, and it may be very good. But I'm not very impressed by the idea for a cd for every state idea at this point. If he were on state 38 at this point I would be interested but this being only the second state he's done, it just seems like a lame marketing angle. I'm not trying to knock the guy, he sounds intresting and i want to give it a listen. I just don't like how all the reviewers keep pushing that angle that he is going to make an album for every state when that is so unlikely and just really gimmicky.
Well, he can't get to 38 states if he doesn't start somewhere. He's a young guy. It's understandable that he would have not released 30+ albums yet.

That being said, Stevens has said that like many things in life, this is a project that may never be finished. He has also said that smaller states may only receive a 7" or an ep.
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Old 07-26-05, 09:10 AM
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In a brief interview in this month's Mojo, he also said he'll never do Texas. Oh, and in the latest No Depression, he said that he'd be open to other people continuing the project, and his manager said something about getting some state EPs out soon. But yeah, the odds of actually finishing it himself were slim.
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Old 07-26-05, 09:16 AM
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No Texas? Any reason why (or an interview link)?
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Old 07-26-05, 09:25 AM
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Maybe he was worried it would turn into a box set since nothing's bigger than the Lone Star state.


Uncle Milty, errr, Kenny79? will take this news hard.
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Old 07-26-05, 09:32 AM
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As a sidenote, a friend and I were wondering what Sufjan will do if there's more than 50 states in a few decades...
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Old 07-26-05, 09:33 AM
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Iraq?
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Old 07-26-05, 10:05 AM
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I don't have the magazine in front of me, so I can't recall the exact wording (and there's no online link), but his quote about not doing Texas was something along the lines of "I don't even want to go there."
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Old 07-26-05, 03:37 PM
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Another good review:

Sufjan Stevens
Illinois
Asthmatic Kitty
2005
B+

The first thing you notice is the horrendously awesome title on the front, SUFJAN STEVENS invites you to: Come on feel the ILLINOISE. The jewel case spine, you notice as you turn it over, says simply Illinois, which is the name that the album's being advertised as. Then you get to the other side and you're almost ready to throw the disc out, because it's got the longest, worst song titles and subtitles and probably subplots in the titles you've ever seen.

But stick with it on this one. Remember we've been waiting over a year for this very disc, and we know that Stevens at his worst is just an inch from his best. The cutesy titles are the unfortunate result of that unending drive for self-expression, for the release of the personal. Or it’s all just a big joke. If it bothers you that much, call them "Track 1" or the one about the zombies or whatever. Let's just get to the songs.

It's a bit of Michigan redux, which works because it's so uniquely Stevens and so uniquely beautiful. It should feel like there's too much going on, but it never does. Stevens sometimes looks and sounds as if he's some turnip truck's lost ballast, but his sense for arranging remains almost peerless. Violins add mood without being weepy, banjos add flavor without being mountainish, and all the random instruments pull centrifugally toward Stevens, who spins them back out in a single line.

That one about the zombies—despite being that one about the zombies—shows Stevens's precise touch. The music builds and builds, threatening to be too much, threatening to take off, but Stevens cuts everything out in time to expose the song's emotional core:
I know, I know my time is passed I'm not so young, I'm not so fast I tremble with the nervous thought Of having been, at last, forgot.
The lyrics aren't brilliant or original, but they hit with surprising force, which comes primarily from the way Stevens has structured the music. He pulls down your guard with the bombast, and the strikes when both he and you are exposed.

But you're a cold bastard, and you just want to know what zombies have to do with Illinois. Isn't this supposed to be about a state? Well, the difference between Michigan and Illinois is that the first album was about a place that Stevens knew, the Michigan he could lead us through, traipsing or straggling; the new one relies more on the history of the state, and many years ago zombies roamed the land that later almost birthed Abraham Lincoln.

It's like a Romero thing, okay?

But for all the genius, both careful and reckless, that Stevens displays, he still makes a few miscues here. The biggest problem comes with the unbridled triumphalism of too many of these tracks. Michigan succeeded most with whispered cheers ("Michigan! Michigan!"), and Seven Swans used ghostly gospel to reach its heights. On this disc, Stevens just proclaims his musical victory with trumpets and bombast; he doesn't let you feel, seemingly confident that now he can tell you when and what to feel.

And that's not why we played Michigan over and over. We loved digging through the run-down cities, the dying factories and the homeless and finding a way to feel better in the midst of that, to rebuild and reconsider. Now, we get equally well-structured music, but music that, maybe due to its historical leanings or maybe Stevens's emotional detachment from the land, doesn't move us with subtlety. Or maybe we didn't survive the song titles.

But don't despair (lift up your reading-weary head): the tracks are very good, and I (no longer speaking for you) will gladly take some of the overzealous musical emoting if it means I also get the heart the sings at the center of this disc. I'll take the fanfare if I also get the background violin. I'll take "Illinoise" if it means I get Illinois.
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Old 07-26-05, 05:47 PM
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This is a wonderful album. I love the huge chorus sounds, especially on "Chicago."

Anyone seen him live? I'm going to catch him next Monday.
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Old 08-23-05, 12:07 PM
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Sufjan Stevens : "Come On....Feel the Illinoise" - OH.MY.GOD.

Now THIS is real music. For once the hype has been validated, and this is stupendous work. Which of you has it, and is it not album of the year this far? I'd like to know more about Sufjan but curiously he has no fan sites or anything.
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Old 08-23-05, 12:11 PM
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I have it, and it's one of my favorite albums this year.
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