Illinois - Sufjan Stevens
Illinois Image

Universal acclaim - based on 40 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 589 Ratings

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  • Summary: The folk singer-songwriter's ambitious attempt to chronicle all 50 states in song continues with this second installment, dedicated to the Prairie State.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 39 out of 40
  2. Negative: 0 out of 40
  1. 100
    Once you've taken in how wonderful it sounds, it'll be time to thrill at how much of it there is, then how dense it all is.
  2. From its framing gimmick and its anti-folk folk songwriting to its he-has-to-be-kidding song titles and its show-offy instrumentation, Illinois should reduce to a simple stunt performance. That it's pop-art of the highest caliber, instead, cements Stevens as one of the most vital voices in music today.
  3. 91
    Sounds as informed by middle-American community theater, church choirs, and John Adams' American operas as any canonical "folk rock" it may resemble. [Jul 2005, p.102]
  4. Stevens is simply one of the most talented artists creating music right now, period.
  5. It's a bit of Michigan redux, which works because it's so uniquely Stevens and so uniquely beautiful.
  6. My only problem with the album is that it begins to devour its own tail about halfway through, at times sounding tedious, or worse, precious.
  7. An expansive album that ultimately recycles itself.

See all 40 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 13 out of 340
  1. BradP
    Jul 13, 2005
    Do yourself a favor and listen to "Illinois" on good headphones all the way through; the details will amaze you. This is a remarkable achievement - homespun and epic at the same time. It will take many focused listenings to take it all in. A near perfect example of the power of great pop craft. Expand
  2. MagicSam
    Jul 6, 2005
    I think ratings of 10 should be reserved for truely great albums, those that merit the term 'classic' i.e. "Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" or "What's Goin' On", by Marvin Gaye for example. So I've given this album a 10. An album with tremendous social and historical awareness, forays into the musical inknown, and melodically gutwrenching, Illinois demands close listening and appreciation of this music as a real art form. Illinois is a painfully beautiful conception of an artist's vision. Expand
  3. Sep 7, 2010
    Sufjan Stevens finds his stride and then some with his second state-dedicated album. Illinois is fun and sad, catchy and haunting, seemingly simple yet undeniably brilliant. Chicago will be stuck in your head for days, The Predatory Wasp is heartbreaking and beautiful. Phenomenal stuff. Expand
  4. ChrisH
    Sep 6, 2005
    The best album of 2005 isn't an understatement.
  5. SteveC
    Jan 31, 2006
    May be the best album I have ever heard. I hear something new everytime. Every album seems to get better.
  6. DanielG
    Nov 19, 2006
    This is an amazing album, it is one of those extremely influential albums that makes people who say "I hate that kind of music" start to say, "Oh wait, I guess I do like that kind of music". Who knows what gaps this CD bridges, I can only wait for him to do my homestate, Wisconsin. Expand
  7. LF
    Nov 17, 2005
    aaaaaaaaaaargh!! this is crap.

See all 340 User Reviews

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