Like the self-proclaimed "Spiderman" who climbed Chicago's Sears Tower with no harness, Sufjan Stevens scales dusty prairies, steel factories, and two hundred years of history in the second installment of his 50 State Project, "ILLINOIS", a 22-track anthematic tone poem to The Prairie State.
An engrossing musical road trip, "Illinois" takes you through ghost towns, grain mills, hospital rooms, and the City of Broad Shoulders, with guest appearances by a poet, a president, a serial murderer, UFOs, Superman, the goat that cursed the Cubs, and Decatur's famous Chickenmobile. Sufjan weaves variegated musical styles (jazz, funk, pop, folk, and Rodgers and Hammerstein-like flourishes) and the textures of 25 instruments into a tapestry of persons and places famous, infamous, iconic and anonymous. Invoking the muse of poet Carl Sandburg, "Illinois" ushers in trumpets on parade, string quartets, female choruses and ambient piano scales arranged around Stevens' emerging falsetto.
Sufjan Stevens - Illinoise
A1. Concerning The UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois
A2. The Black Hawk War, Or, How To Demolish An Entire Civilization And Still Feel Good About Yourself In The Morning, Or, We Apologize For The Inconvenience But You're Going To Have To Leave Now, Or, "I Have Fought The Big Knives And Will Continue To Fight Them Until They Are Off Our Lands!"
A3.Come On! Feel The Illinoise! Part I: The World's Columbian Exposition Part II: Carl Sandburg Visits Me In A Dream
A4. John Wayne Gacy, Jr.
A6. A Short Reprise For Mary Todd, Who Went Insane, But For Very Good Reasons
B1. Decatur, Or, Round Of Applause For Your Stepmother!
B2. One Last "Whoo-Hoo!" For The Pullman
B4. Casimir Pulaski Day
B5. To The Workers Of The Rock River Valley Region, I Have An Idea Concerning Your Predicament
C1. The Man Of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts
C2. Prairie Fire That Wanders About
C3. A Conjunction Of Drones Simulating The Way In Which Sufjan Stevens Has An Existential Crisis In The Great Godfrey Maze
C4. The Predatory Wasp Of The Palisades Is Out To Get Us!
C5. They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From The Dead!! Ahhhh!
C6. Let's Hear That String Part Again, Because I Don't Think They Heard It All The Way Out In Bushnell
C7. In This Temple As In The Hearts Of Man For Whom He Saved The Earth
D1. The Seer's Tower
D2. The Tallest Man, The Broadest Shoulders Part I: The Great Frontier Part II: Come To Me Only With Playthings Now
D3. Riffs And Variations On A Single Note For Jelly Roll, Earl Hines, Louis Armstrong, Baby Dodds, And The King Of Swing, To Name A Few
D4. Out Of Egypt, Into The Great Laugh Of Mankind, And I Shake The Dirt From My Sandals As I Run
D5. The Avalanche