Illinois - Sufjan Stevens
User Score
9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 591 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 39 out of 591

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  1. Sep 7, 2010
    10
    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.
  2. Aug 16, 2010
    10
    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?
  3. Jul 1, 2011
    10
    One of the best albums of all time. This is a work that will be treasured by many for decades and centuries to come. If you disagree with this statement, I recommend listening more closely.
  4. Aug 6, 2011
    10
    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.
  5. Nov 24, 2012
    10
    Illinois is Sufjan Steven's best work so far. From the disturbing ballad John Wayne Gacy, Jr to catchy tune of Chicago, Sufjan fully exemplifies his extraordinary musical talent. It contains a multitude of instruments all playing beautifully together. This album exhibits Stevens best traits and is well worth a listen.
  6. Feb 7, 2012
    10
    Obviously a gifted multi instrumentalist who has written some of the most wonderful songs. Soothing and creative this will last a lifetime. Get a good sound system and listen to beauty in sonic form.
  7. Nov 18, 2012
    10
    This album deserves all the hype it's garnered. It really is an ambitious, epic masterpiece. Sufjan Stevens creates not only one of the best written records in our generation, but also one of the best produced records of all time. The experimentation is bold, and all of it fits perfectly together. No one song sounds the same. All In All, Illinois is a beautiful, haunting, lovely recordThis album deserves all the hype it's garnered. It really is an ambitious, epic masterpiece. Sufjan Stevens creates not only one of the best written records in our generation, but also one of the best produced records of all time. The experimentation is bold, and all of it fits perfectly together. No one song sounds the same. All In All, Illinois is a beautiful, haunting, lovely record that shouldn't be missed by anyone who is musically inclined. A Expand
  8. Jan 5, 2011
    10
    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.
  9. Jan 28, 2011
    10
    I had no idea who Sufjan was when I listened to this album first, nor had I listened to any music quite like this. This quickly became my favorite album and I find myself listening to it more than anything else and would forever change my taste in music and my definition of what good music is. His songs on Illinois are so deep, so varied, and so sincere. I love the lyrics because youI had no idea who Sufjan was when I listened to this album first, nor had I listened to any music quite like this. This quickly became my favorite album and I find myself listening to it more than anything else and would forever change my taste in music and my definition of what good music is. His songs on Illinois are so deep, so varied, and so sincere. I love the lyrics because you can listen to them over and over again and still find new meaning. Thank you Sufjan. Expand
  10. May 12, 2011
    9
    i liked this album very much. good music. great music. the lyricism is great and touching. what more can i say....................................................................................................
  11. May 25, 2011
    10
    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 fromAs 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
  12. Jul 26, 2011
    10
    From start to finish, a masterpiece concept heavy album. Deep, heavy, impeccably easy to listen to, and highly addictive. You will quickly fall in love with the highlight tracks, which, although the whole album is mere perfection, truly stand out. Illinois begins with "Concerning UFO Sighting near Highland, Illinois;" a siren song of flutes that hypnotize and capture your imagination--theFrom start to finish, a masterpiece concept heavy album. Deep, heavy, impeccably easy to listen to, and highly addictive. You will quickly fall in love with the highlight tracks, which, although the whole album is mere perfection, truly stand out. Illinois begins with "Concerning UFO Sighting near Highland, Illinois;" a siren song of flutes that hypnotize and capture your imagination--the overture to an incredibly journey through Illinois. "Come on! Feel the Illinois!" an extraordinary piece that makes your ears thank you for blessing them with the suite sounds of Sufjan Stevens. "Jacksonville," a nice, old-country ballade, and "Chicago," an amazing climax to the album. This album is far from disappointing, and where its highs hit and truly hits with a BANG! Expand
  13. Sep 13, 2011
    10
    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 youSufjan 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
  14. Jul 31, 2012
    9
    The arrengements in this album are beautiful. Sufjan's voice blends with the folk/pop he sings. The lyrics honoring the state of Illinois makes justice as compliments. The melodies he created, for example, in a song like "Chicago"- far best of the album- has an orchestra sound that reminds us how good music can be. Sufjan's hardest, but best work.
  15. Nov 19, 2011
    10
    A fun playful album. Sufjan has achieved another success. It blends nice melodies and fun subject matter. He even slides his own religion into his music nearly undetected.Sufjan can make everyone and anyone smile.
  16. Jan 21, 2012
    10
    I was going to give this album a 9, the only flaw being length. Then I realized that Illinois is much more than an album, it's a journey from start to finish with checkpoints throughout. This album can be listened to for it's single songs, but even the noodling and such as the end and in-between some songs adds tremendous weight to the depth of this album. It's 7 years after it's releaseI was going to give this album a 9, the only flaw being length. Then I realized that Illinois is much more than an album, it's a journey from start to finish with checkpoints throughout. This album can be listened to for it's single songs, but even the noodling and such as the end and in-between some songs adds tremendous weight to the depth of this album. It's 7 years after it's release and I'm still listening to it as if it were brand new, picking out little things and enjoying it more and more with each time. Expand
  17. Mar 20, 2012
    9
    This would be rated a 10, if Michigan had not been created. While this album expands greatly on Michigan, it lacks the emotions of Michigan, which is what made it great. If this could keep those emotions, it would be a 10, but it is gone. Anyways, what lacks in emotion is made up for in grandiose instrumentation, choir chants, and some extra epicness. The lack of emotions is the only flawThis would be rated a 10, if Michigan had not been created. While this album expands greatly on Michigan, it lacks the emotions of Michigan, which is what made it great. If this could keep those emotions, it would be a 10, but it is gone. Anyways, what lacks in emotion is made up for in grandiose instrumentation, choir chants, and some extra epicness. The lack of emotions is the only flaw I can find. A- Expand
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.