Illinois

User Score
9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 658 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 41 out of 658

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  1. bolisj
    Mar 11, 2006
    10
    The best album I've yet heard in my 40 years... intricate, multi-layered, joyful, funny, ambitious and, not least, utterly original. If it's pretentious (as some claim) - who cares! My only ever perfect score - I just love it!
  2. jaeroplane
    Apr 22, 2006
    10
    After first glance, the buyer must do a double take to make sure he read all of the song titles correctly. In much the same way, the listener has to keep the CD on repeat for several days just to make sure that he heard everything correctly. There is so much depth to the musical and lyrical qualities of this album that one's CD collection will need to be dusted off after finally After first glance, the buyer must do a double take to make sure he read all of the song titles correctly. In much the same way, the listener has to keep the CD on repeat for several days just to make sure that he heard everything correctly. There is so much depth to the musical and lyrical qualities of this album that one's CD collection will need to be dusted off after finally finishing the thorough listening this album requires. For long-time Sufjan fans, you'll find much of the stuff we've come to expect and love: there are much of the same multi-meter and multi-layered pop songs found on Michigan (Come On!, Chicago), many soul-stirring ballads of Seven Swans (John Wayne Gacy, Jr, Casimir Pulaski Day), and the pleasant melodic folk (Decatur). There are plenty of surprises, too: the funky R&B stylings of Jacksonville and They are Night Zombies! and the Wilco-esque rock of Man of Metropolis. It's a wonderfully beautiful, touching, entertaining, and awe-inspiring album that will always be within arms reach of this listener! Expand
  3. JohnD
    Apr 23, 2006
    10
    Great to listen and play around a campfire
  4. BlayzeH
    Apr 4, 2006
    10
    Best album ever made.
  5. mr.hankey
    Apr 7, 2006
    10
    I known since it's release that this album was the best of 2005 because of it's emotion and feeling and the feeling of this record is the music that is lively and sad but the most of the part entertaining. With beautiful vocals and ingenius instrumentals you cannot go wrong with this album. Unfortunately it is not going to get the best album of the year by everybody and trust me I known since it's release that this album was the best of 2005 because of it's emotion and feeling and the feeling of this record is the music that is lively and sad but the most of the part entertaining. With beautiful vocals and ingenius instrumentals you cannot go wrong with this album. Unfortunately it is not going to get the best album of the year by everybody and trust me it didn't but thanks to Amazon and Pitchfork Sufjan Stevens can have an amazing year. Expand
  6. LukeM
    May 19, 2006
    10
    Just spectacular, emotional, smooth, and astonishing.
  7. GabrielS
    May 25, 2006
    10
    It's incredible.
  8. ArikK
    Jul 6, 2006
    10
    Amazing album. It flows perfectly and even feels like a plot, what with a climax in Chicago and Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts.
  9. RandyK
    Aug 21, 2006
    9
    Maybe the person who gave this a "3" will send his copy to me! We play Illinois whenever we have company over or when women stop by to shop for my wife's paintings. It always get positive results!
  10. HollayR
    Aug 23, 2006
    10
    This album is "the shit." I loves pretty mcuh every minute of it. I encourage everyone to go out and buy it and i am so pumbed to be going to this concert in Sept.
  11. anonymous
    Aug 8, 2006
    9
    Smooth and exceedingly different, the lyrics catch the listener and pull. The music sounds homespun, giving it a truly fresh feel.
  12. johnnyc
    Sep 22, 2006
    10
    has some of the most breathtaking songs i have ever heard
  13. ChadK.
    Nov 30, 2007
    10
    Magical, disarming, earnest, and potent. A masterpiece.
  14. ErikaL
    Jan 7, 2007
    10
    Wonderfull!
  15. NickyB
    Feb 18, 2007
    9
    Impressive, dense, moving. Beautiful writing. Took me a while to warm up to it as I found it all a bit precious at first, but I now consider it one of my favorite albums.
  16. christianf
    Mar 6, 2007
    10
    it's really good and Casimir Pulaski Day is the best song ever
  17. BennyM
    Jul 8, 2007
    10
    It's hard to describe how much I love this album. I could listen to it every single day and not get tired of it.
  18. JamieO.
    Sep 19, 2007
    9
    Anybody who doesn't like this has problems.
  19. PeterS.
    Feb 24, 2008
    10
    Never has a more perfect album been produced. The fragility of his voice, as demonstrated in John Wayne Gacy Jr., and the whole production behind his songs (Chicago, Jacksonville, They Are The Night Zombies... etc) makes this an album that shall only ever be dated if the state of Illinois ceases to exist in the near future. Sublime.
  20. AdamA
    May 30, 2009
    10
    Simply the best album ever created. From start to finish, each piece is a beautifully composed masterpiece which will leave shivers running down your spine. Given the fact that it is 100% original (written, performed, and produced by Stevens himself), and the hauntingly amazing songs, Sufjan Stevens should be ranked among the classical composers in brilliance.
  21. PJZ.
    Jun 6, 2009
    10
    This album has been a favorite of mine and will be for years to come. It is so universal in its lyrics and musical content, but it's so personal to Stevens, it's amazing. Illinois truly deserves all of the praise it receives.
  22. hal9000
    Jan 25, 2010
    10
    Sufjan Stevens Illinois is truely a special album. This is proof that Steven's is one of the most gifted songwriters and musicians working today. All 22 of the tracks on this album are hauntingly brilliant, and this is the best album of the decade.
  23. JasperB
    Nov 13, 2005
    10
    To sum this album up in one word: Godsend
  24. BH
    Nov 2, 2005
    10
    Amazing, by turns emotionally devastating and ecstatic... Perfect arrangements, like Brian Eno, Steve Reich and Philip Glass have gotten together with Neil Young. Great to see a clearly stunning album getting the recognition it deserves - with the glaring exceptions of the few who obviously listened once and "didn't get it"....
  25. JC
    Nov 2, 2005
    10
    Another excellent record from Sufjan Stevens, managing to take the orchestrations even further than his previous efforts. One of the finest folk rock albums of the year, alongside Andrew Bird.
  26. RebekahH
    Nov 20, 2005
    10
    Literally the best Album I have ever feard. This is what real craftmaship is. I am completely obsessed with Sufjan Stevens thanks to this album. If you enjoy music that is not a huge pile of over processed crap, you should appreciate Sufjan.
  27. MarkS
    Nov 2, 2005
    10
    This took a few listens, and even a live gig, to really get into. In fact I didn't like it at all when I listened to it first, but boy did it grow on me. There's a lot to take in with 22 tracks but the vast majority of them are pure classics. The subject matter of the album doesn't interest me much but the music is great. One of my albums of the year so far.
  28. PSellrs
    Oct 13, 2005
    10
    Melodically interesting, lyrically rhythmic, and pure genius!
  29. PatrickO
    Oct 14, 2005
    10
    Nothing will beat this pure, honest songwriting by the ambitious Sufjan in his second installment of the 50 States project.
  30. JohnB
    Nov 8, 2005
    10
    Amazing man and album!
  31. MuffinMan
    Nov 9, 2005
    9
    Oddly the same quirkiness, which entices one to be almost giddy, exists similarly in the The Go! Team release. Do these two know one another?
  32. rajk
    Dec 13, 2005
    10
    believe the hype- this one is great. for those who´ve heard SS over the years it is no great departure in style - just more mature, well rounded and amazingly executed. this album feels sad, yet hopeful. it is a repetitive album, but remember it is an album not an long playing assortment of stand alone songs (of which we´ve become so used to in this day and age).
  33. stth
    Dec 13, 2005
    10
    hypnotizing. i put in another album in my car and then put this one back in after a few minutes
  34. NickT
    Dec 26, 2005
    10
    Perfect. Every song is stunning and is completely necessary. Not since OK Computer have I had such hope for, well anything. Sufjan Stevens deserves all the accolade in the world for this album. It is completely baffling that a single person created such an elegant, poignant, and affecting piece of work. Sufjan, you make me want to be a better person and I thank you for that. Now, go make Perfect. Every song is stunning and is completely necessary. Not since OK Computer have I had such hope for, well anything. Sufjan Stevens deserves all the accolade in the world for this album. It is completely baffling that a single person created such an elegant, poignant, and affecting piece of work. Sufjan, you make me want to be a better person and I thank you for that. Now, go make more music. Expand
  35. SeanH
    Dec 30, 2005
    10
    This collection of songs is so intensely poetic --- and wrought with such unambiguous sincerity and love --- that crusty cynics might well have a field day. The rest of us have only gratitude.
  36. JonathanV
    Dec 31, 2005
    10
    This is by far the best album of 2005, in my humble opinion! I can only say, just listen to this entire record with your headphones on and then you can only agree! Unbelievable!
  37. byrond
    Dec 6, 2005
    10
    Great album! Come on feel the illinoise! is one of the most shake yer rump best pop songs in ages!
  38. DanO
    Dec 6, 2005
    10
    Believe the critics this is truly a remarkable achievement. I can not get enough of this CD and I reccomend any music fan to add this to your collection.
  39. Ken
    Dec 7, 2005
    8
    Michigan was better
  40. JamesM
    Dec 7, 2005
    10
    There is only one way I can describe this album: a masterpiece. It astounds me that this whole album was made by one person: it should take an army of people to produce this glorious noise.
  41. Helene
    Dec 8, 2005
    10
    There's nothing more to say about SS than that they`re one of the biggest things which has happened to music in the last decade,along with anthony & the johnsons and a couple of other
  42. FlashFlooder
    Jul 11, 2005
    10
    Sufjan creates a multi-layered musical gem in his 2nd state-devoted cd. Truly amazing, we can only hope for such greatness for the next 48 states. Frontrunner for album of the year.
  43. MattW
    Jul 11, 2005
    10
    he is now my favorite musician of all time
  44. J.D.Howsley
    Jul 11, 2005
    10
    By far the best album I have heard all year! Cannot wait for his live show to see how it pulls it off.
  45. AaronS
    Jul 12, 2005
    10
    This album will be remembered for many years to come. Sufjan Stevens will no longer go unnoticed in the music industry. His genius is profiled in this album. Simply beautiful in all respects!
  46. LawrenceP
    Jul 14, 2005
    10
    I hate to say it, but this guy is a genius. Keep the tunes coming.
  47. Ryan
    Jul 15, 2005
    10
    I'm going to listen to this album in late autumn and feel an overwhelming sense nostalgia for the summer. It's an opus worthy of EVERYONE'S ear. I feel like it's the world's responsibility to buy this record so Sufjan can fund his undoubtedly great next outing.
  48. OwenH
    Jul 17, 2005
    10
    This album restores my faith in the music industry. If Thom Yorke were to buy a copy of this album, he might, just might get back to challenging himself with making another really good album, instead of some existential junk.
  49. BryanS
    Jul 24, 2005
    9
    Mr.Stevens has, with this CD, proved himself to be one of the most talented, innovative, and simply enjoyable musicians alive today. These 22 tracks span more territory and display more talent than 99% of artists can hope to achieve collectively throughout their entire career. Definitely one of the best albums to be released this decade, snapping respectfully at the heals of Kid A, Mr.Stevens has, with this CD, proved himself to be one of the most talented, innovative, and simply enjoyable musicians alive today. These 22 tracks span more territory and display more talent than 99% of artists can hope to achieve collectively throughout their entire career. Definitely one of the best albums to be released this decade, snapping respectfully at the heals of Kid A, Agaetis Byrjun, and the Moon and Antarctica. Expand
  50. Chris
    Aug 13, 2005
    10
    Among the best of 2005 so far (August 13th) with Bright Eyes, The White Stripes, System of a Down and The Game. Let's see what Idlewild, Kanye West, OutKast, Elbow, BRMC, the Dandy Warhols, and Broken Social Scene have to offer in the last 4.5 months.
  51. Matt
    Aug 15, 2005
    10
    Wonderful! Future generations will be looking at it as the first classic neo-folk album.
  52. DavidM
    Aug 16, 2005
    9
    Not as good as THE WOODS, BLACK SHEEP BOY, or GET BEHIND ME SATAN, but damn close. It's more critic proof sound is what has it atop the metacritic poll over these other titles. That said, praise must be given...at times this album attains a near ASTRAL WEEKS level of timeless transcendence. Like Morrison, Stevens seems an absolute master at maintaining emotional intensity and musical Not as good as THE WOODS, BLACK SHEEP BOY, or GET BEHIND ME SATAN, but damn close. It's more critic proof sound is what has it atop the metacritic poll over these other titles. That said, praise must be given...at times this album attains a near ASTRAL WEEKS level of timeless transcendence. Like Morrison, Stevens seems an absolute master at maintaining emotional intensity and musical interest over an extended play length. I give it a nine for one reason only, Stevens doesn't know how to quit when he's ahead, suffers from major BIlly Corgan syndrome, where artist choses to include everything, rather than just the great stuff, on each release...by song 16 or 17, the sound loses all sense of variety and wears out it's welcome big time, and THE SEER TOWER is absolute dead weight in light of what comes before. Flawed, but great, though I have to admit feeling a little weird heaping such praise on an artist who seems to have taken his principal inspiration, at least sonically, from Shroeder of Peanuts fame. Expand
  53. PhilipG
    Aug 24, 2005
    10
    This album is simply brilliant
  54. Sumi
    Aug 25, 2005
    10
    This is an album of uncommon melodies and beautiful arrangements. The bittersweet yet genuinely uplifting songs are simply gorgeous, with nary a false emotion. A true joy to listen to.
  55. PETERS
    Sep 11, 2005
    10
    Wow. He captures the feelingof Illinois is 21 songs. Wow.
  56. FakeName
    Sep 12, 2005
    10
    most refreshing album this side of the century. amazing!
  57. chrisc
    Sep 14, 2005
    10
    unlike anything i have ever heard - something that is rare in music today!
  58. TiagoC
    Sep 14, 2005
    10
    Great record. Probalby the best of 2005.
  59. JoshuaJE
    Sep 15, 2005
    10
    Incredible. Just say Sufjan at the Majestic in Detroit, he and his band were amazing and this album expresses it all.
  60. BenD
    Sep 16, 2005
    9
    It takes a couple of listens to fully appreciate this album. However, once you have warmed up to its abstract concepts, you won't want to listen to anything else for quite some time. It's incredibly lush in sound while somehow remaining intimate at the same time. It also gets bonus points for having some of the best song titles ever. I swear, some of these titles take a longer It takes a couple of listens to fully appreciate this album. However, once you have warmed up to its abstract concepts, you won't want to listen to anything else for quite some time. It's incredibly lush in sound while somehow remaining intimate at the same time. It also gets bonus points for having some of the best song titles ever. I swear, some of these titles take a longer time to read than it does to listen to the songs themselves. Expand
  61. ErlingO
    Sep 21, 2005
    10
    My favourite of the year. Just fantastic.
  62. BradM
    Sep 22, 2005
    10
    Illinois is a triumph - Possibly one of the most outstanding records of the last two years. If Sufjan's music is ever to reach the masses, this could be the album to mark his arrival. Steven's songs are bigger than life, digging into the memories of simple innocence, big dreams, and heartbreaking coming of age. Illinois transends Michigan and Swans and will be on everyone's Illinois is a triumph - Possibly one of the most outstanding records of the last two years. If Sufjan's music is ever to reach the masses, this could be the album to mark his arrival. Steven's songs are bigger than life, digging into the memories of simple innocence, big dreams, and heartbreaking coming of age. Illinois transends Michigan and Swans and will be on everyone's 'best of 2005' lists. Expand
  63. JosiahRoe
    Sep 26, 2005
    10
    Glory!
  64. ChrisFromCalifornia
    Sep 29, 2005
    10
    Ever listened to an album that was so good it just made you cry. You will after listening to this. I can't remember the last time when an album hit me this hard emotionally. People, stop buying Coldplay, give your money to someone who deserves it. Album of the year.
  65. KennyJ
    Jan 11, 2006
    9
    Awesome album. Ecclectic and creative with some of the best lyrics I've heard in years. Sufjan has put out a unique and wonderful album.
  66. GlennD
    Jan 11, 2006
    8
    Exhilerating!
  67. DanielG
    Nov 19, 2006
    10
    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.
  68. JGrahm
    Jan 16, 2006
    10
    Sufjan is so original, his music is amazing
  69. PaulRocks
    Jan 17, 2006
    10
    This is the album of the year. Mr Stevens your a genius. Can't wait for the Alaska album!!
  70. PaulF
    Feb 27, 2006
    9
    An absolutely BEAUTIFUL (and this is a word that I use very sparingly with modern music) record that is experimental without being weird. Very listenable, deep, intricate, and fun. Even the song for John Wayne Gacey is blissfully constructed, so gorgeous that you forget it is about a serial rapist/killer. I can't wait to explore more of Sufjan's music...Illinois is the first An absolutely BEAUTIFUL (and this is a word that I use very sparingly with modern music) record that is experimental without being weird. Very listenable, deep, intricate, and fun. Even the song for John Wayne Gacey is blissfully constructed, so gorgeous that you forget it is about a serial rapist/killer. I can't wait to explore more of Sufjan's music...Illinois is the first album I've heard of his, and now I can't wait to find out what the rest of his discography has to offer. A lot of people have mentioned 'pretentious' as a descriptor for this music. Hell no. Even though it is 'arty' and 'intricate' it is far from 'pretentious'. It is not self-fulfilling in any way. It is just damned good music. Give it a listen and form your own opinion. Don't trust us! Expand
  71. stefanp
    Mar 15, 2006
    10
    awesome
  72. JasonE
    Apr 12, 2006
    10
    This is a fantastic album, I don't really understand why he has been given a folk tag, well maybe because he plays a banjo; anyway everyone who loves music should buy this album. Actually no, don't, he needs an incentive to finish off his Album per state project. If everyone buys this album, he'll be too rich to bother. Find a friend who has it and get them to copy it for This is a fantastic album, I don't really understand why he has been given a folk tag, well maybe because he plays a banjo; anyway everyone who loves music should buy this album. Actually no, don't, he needs an incentive to finish off his Album per state project. If everyone buys this album, he'll be too rich to bother. Find a friend who has it and get them to copy it for you; it's wonderful. Expand
  73. Syd
    May 17, 2006
    10
    Easily one of favourite post millenium albums. Up there with Michigan.
  74. Rod
    May 31, 2006
    10
    Stunningly beautiful, provocative work. I'm constantly amazed at the emotion he is able to draw from me. Vocal performances are pure and real.
  75. JoeG
    Jun 14, 2006
    10
    I try to give every CD I buy at least 5 listens before I form an opinion. Illinoise took many more plays before I truly warmed to it. However, it was well worth getting to know. Now it gives me great pleasure to stamp yet another 10 on this page, particularly as I first heard about the CD from this site! Recommended to any other Rufus Wainwright fans looking for somebody else a cut above I try to give every CD I buy at least 5 listens before I form an opinion. Illinoise took many more plays before I truly warmed to it. However, it was well worth getting to know. Now it gives me great pleasure to stamp yet another 10 on this page, particularly as I first heard about the CD from this site! Recommended to any other Rufus Wainwright fans looking for somebody else a cut above the rest. Expand
  76. stefanp
    Jun 19, 2006
    10
    awesome
  77. anna
    Jul 17, 2006
    10
    stunning from begining to end. a modern day musical achievement.
  78. TheCritic
    Jul 19, 2006
    9
    A great album. The only thing holding it back is the consistentsy and the annoying female back up singers.
  79. barth
    Aug 14, 2006
    9
    My first contact with an artist that keeps surprising. Fun, musical inspiration, great lyrics.
  80. KevinK
    Aug 27, 2006
    10
    Best Album of 2005. Best Songwriter right now. You gotta love Sufjan's ambition It's so exciting to see in a time where the spotlight is usually put on unoriginal and unartistic music.
  81. DORELLW
    Sep 15, 2006
    10
    This is a great album. It gets better and better the more you listen to it.
  82. PhilW
    Sep 24, 2006
    10
    If you ever wondered who the character Max in Rushmore would grow up to be, it would be Sufjan Stevens. I've traveled to just about every county in Illinois and all I can say is Stevens hit a home run with this album!
  83. AndreaO
    Sep 29, 2006
    10
    His artistic vision is so complete. He reflects such an innocent joy and such a deep knowledge of sorrow. Who is this man and how did this happen?
  84. LizM
    Jan 24, 2007
    10
    To me, it's one of the most beautiful albums I have ever heard. In the end, it all depends on your taste in music. This is right up my alley. I might not believe in God, but I do believe in Sufjan Stevens.
  85. RobertC
    Jan 31, 2007
    9
    Extremely original.
  86. JohnJ
    Jul 17, 2007
    10
    The only reason this album did not recieve a perfect 10 from Sufjan's fans is because of one low, outlying score. Every other person has given this album a 10. Come on, man. Don't tell me this isn't one of the most beautiful albums ever recorded. Please develop some taste in music before reviewing and rating albums.
  87. alexf
    Jul 25, 2007
    10
    I love this album so much! Every single song is great.
  88. D.Mac
    Sep 14, 2007
    10
    best album I've heard in years!
  89. JustinB.
    Sep 25, 2007
    10
    I will never know how this didn't get all 100s, it is one of the most complete and amazing albums ever created. the brilliance of sufjan stevens is evident the moment you hear this album even if you never heard of him before.
  90. RyanK.
    Feb 29, 2008
    10
    A masterpiece. 'Nuff said.
  91. ZacC.
    May 17, 2008
    10
    The greatest musical work since the turn of the century and I think that it will stay that way for a time...
  92. MattM.
    Jun 21, 2008
    10
    Easily the greatest album I've ever listened to. An bonafide masterpiece and an album that deserves to be put in a time capsule or museum. A true piece of American history.
  93. ChrisM.
    Jul 17, 2008
    10
    An amazing expansive album. You will be impressed by its rich production on first listen, and then a stupid grin on your face while enjoying the beauty on the following listens.
  94. cg
    Nov 19, 2005
    10
    love this cd, I can't stop listenening to chicago
  95. GeoffS
    Nov 22, 2005
    9
    Easily one of the best albums I've bought this year. It takes two listens to catch on to most songs, yet some songs (i.e. Chicago, Come on Feel the Illinoise!) grab you at first listen. It is fundamentally subtle and mostly brilliant.
  96. othos
    Nov 24, 2005
    10
    Note to LF: It may not be your cup of tea, but it is, decidely, NOT crap. If every artist put this much thought and craftsmanship into records, the airwaves would not be filled with such dreck.
  97. SeanT
    Dec 11, 2005
    10
    great record! this man deserves some kind of reward immediately
  98. Harry
    Dec 12, 2005
    10
    I blindingly brilliant achievement. Ranks among the top 3 albums of the year and is as engrossing as it is ambitious.
  99. C.B.
    Dec 13, 2005
    9
    beautiful...
  100. jimcu
    Dec 15, 2005
    10
    fandabadozzi
Metascore
90

Universal acclaim - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 39 out of 40
  2. Negative: 0 out of 40
  1. There's a distinct community theater vibe to the whole affair... but the majority of Illinois is alarmingly earnest.
  2. Stevens is simply one of the most talented artists creating music right now, period.
  3. Exhausting, enthralling, disorientating, celebratory, and contemplative, Sufjan Stevens has delivered another album that will keep us listening and educated till Christmas.