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Illinoise


I went to Atlanta last Friday, and decided before I left that it was a good time to pick up some new CDs. I went to the greatest music store on the planet and bought the most recent releases of three acts I've been listening to a lot on KEXP: Band of Bees, The Mountain Goats, and Sufjan Stevens. They're all great, but Come On Feel The Illinoise, by Stevens, absolutely blew me away.

The singles from Illinoise that have been getting play time are all impressive on their own and eminently listenable (I think that's a word), but hearing them as part of the full concept of the Illinois album is even better. His lyrical details are complete and visceral, and his sense of poetic timing makes them altogether heartbreaking. Imagine Dark Side Of The Moon-era Pink Floyd and the late great Elliott Smith getting together to watch Willy Wonka and compose a soundtrack for the Illinois State Fair. It's like that, only more so.

I should say that I'm not sure how some of the songs specifically relate to their titles. For example, "Casimir Pulaski Day" is wrenching, melancholy and minor, none of which seem to have anything to do with the holiday itself. No matter. Perhaps there's just no way to write a good song about that minor holiday. It does make a great title, though.

If you have a chance to pick up this album, do so. If you hate it, you can blame me.
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