Seth Surmises – Illinoise

Sufjian Stevens Invites you to Come On Feel the Illinoise

Preconceived Notions: I have heard much about this 50 States Project, a planned album for each American state. As part of this, Illinoise has to be the concept-y of all concept albums. He sure do like him some long, ridiculous titles, eh?

After Listening: What do I call this? TripFolk? This album could be titled What If the Polyphonic Spree Didn’t Suck So Much?

Favorite Track(s): The Black Hawk War sounds like angels and a high school marching band doing the soundtrack to the lost Connery Bond film.Glandbender. They Are Night Zombies… is the chillest zombie panic ever.
Least Favorite: A Conjunction of Drones…, Maze In This Temple…, A Short Reprise for Mary Todd…, Let’s Hear That String Part Again…, One Last Whoo-Hoo for the Pullman. Giving these intros & outros their own track listings is just being twee, and using full paragraphs as titles is straight-up douchey.

Overall: Well. Huh. Sufjan is obviously a band geek turned self-important dippy hipster. Unabashedly gimmicky, on paper the pretentious titles, weird lyrics, and tortured over-use of multitrack dubbing should make me hate this album. So why don’t I? I can’t tell if it’s the “cheery postcards from my nightmares” lyrics or the audio-hug of the layered sounds. Maybe it’s the musical travelogue concept or that it’s just bright & dark in equal measures. Who can say? I really, really want to hate this album, but not as much as I want to buy it.

Rating: 4.5 (I know, right? It surprised me, too!)

Seth (40 Posts)

Seth (in a nutshell) is an aging punk rocker and five year resident of Cubistan, taking the office job after many years in music & fashion retail. He is a lifelong New England resident, with the exception of a year spent in Orlando Florida, the armpit of the universe. He is a skeptical cynic with a hairtrigger bullshit detector. Seth lives in Brass City, Connecticut with his wife, Vicki; his cat, Norwegian Black Metal; and his wife’s cat, who’s name he forgets.


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