|Sufjan Stevens – Illinois: 4 stars
Precon: I’ve heard 3 or 4 tracks and liked them. I’m hoping for more of the same, but I’m prepared for massive disappointment when it’s not head and shoulders above every other album as the greatest sound recording of all time.
Favorite Track: Jacksonville
Least Favorite: Prairie Fire That Wanders About
Title of Track 2: How to Demolish an Entire Civilization and Still Feel Good About Yourself in the Morning
British title of Track 2: We Apologize for the Inconvenience but You’re Going to Have to Leave Now
The Illinois song is great, especially the piano on the first part and the violin on the second.
The Gacy song is beautiful, heartbreaking, haunting, and even surprising at the end when he compares himself to Gacy.
I love pretty much everything about Jacksonville. The intro with the violin that comes back later, the jangly guitar riff, the lyrical structure of the verses, the horns in the chorus. It all comes together on this one.
Decatur is another solid one. I like how it’s framed as a memory of his stepmom.
Chicago builds up to a nice crescendo.
To the Workers is an effective little palate cleanser.
Dig the rock vibe of Metropolis and how it combines with the mellow verses and grandiose harmonies of the chorus. The backing vocal girl is put to good use throughout the album.
I was hoping a song called A Conjunction of Drones Simulating the Way in Which Sufjan Stevens Has an Existential Crisis in the Great Godfrey Maze was going to be more than 19 seconds long, so that’s a little disappointing, but it does inject a lot of meaning into those 19 seconds.
Some of the piano and horn parts started to sound recycled by the end of the album. It could be that he was going for a familiar sound throughout the whole thing.
A little self indulgent at times but I can deal with that when I get a boatload of creativity in return. Plus there’s a lot I can identify with like realizing how ungrateful you were as a child or struggling with the concept of God. On the whole, it’s a little top heavy with all the best songs on the first half of the album, or maybe I’m just saying that because those are the ones I already knew going in. If the other songs grow on me this could be one of my favorite albums.