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

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Universal acclaim- based on 586 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. May 25, 2011
    As far as I see it, this is the second best album of the post-millennial indie music world, second only to Arcade Fire's Funeral. There is no lapse in emotion throughout this album. Sometimes Steven's lyrics venture a little bit into the hokey, but even this only further defines his voice as a devout catholic indieman struggling with just about everything everyone struggles with. I am from Illinois, and this entire album totally encapsulates the state, as perfectly, if not more perfectly, than any other album. Please, give it a listen. Expand
  2. Jan 5, 2011
    One of my favorite albums at all time - catchy, beautiful and haunting (especially for someone who's actually from Illinois). Many of the tracks stand out on their own, but as an album the whole thing flows perfectly. Lov it. 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. Sep 13, 2011
    Sufjan Stevens couldn't sound any sweeter, deeper and honest than in this album. Describing this state, combining with this description his memories, with so many details that will make you feel that you're there, even when you don't know it, as me. the first song is a beautiful introduction to this album of 22 songs that will never make you tired of them. It's one of those albums that you can listen entirely without skipping any song: nor the happy ones as "Chicago", the nostalgic ones as "The Predatory Wasp Of Th Palisades Is Out To Get Us" or the obscure ones as "John Wayne Gacy Jr.". I think that a lot of people would agree with me if I sat that this is the masterpiece of Sufjan Stevens. Expand
  5. Aug 16, 2010
    I just listened to this again ... for maybe the 100th time. It just grows in depth and beauty. Steven's voice is haunting, delicate. The lyrics are touching, horrific, lifting. The arrangements are glorious, inspiring. Does it ever become unlistenable? Expand
  6. Aug 6, 2011
    The perfect record.. and it seemed to come out of nowhere. Michigan was fantastic and so was Seven Swans, but this just wasn't expected. I don't know. Sufjan can be a master at music and this is probably the best example of that. Expand
  7. Jul 10, 2011
    Rich, expansive, deep, just a really really good record through and through.

See all 340 User Reviews

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