Illinois

User Score
9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 687 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 41 out of 687

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  1. Jun 20, 2017
    9
    I'm not giving ten just because i think is a very important number for very important albums (See "Ok Computer by Radiohead). But this is truly a masterpiece.

    Sufjan is a great songrwiter capable of writing deep and haunting songs like "Casimir Pulasky day" and "The Predatory wasp of the palisades is out to get us". I'd like to give say "X song is the best song of this album, check
    I'm not giving ten just because i think is a very important number for very important albums (See "Ok Computer by Radiohead). But this is truly a masterpiece.

    Sufjan is a great songrwiter capable of writing deep and haunting songs like "Casimir Pulasky day" and "The Predatory wasp of the palisades is out to get us".

    I'd like to give say "X song is the best song of this album, check it out and see if you like it" but honestly half the album is a pure masterpiece, a quart are litteral fillers and the last quart is "just" very very good.

    You know an album is a masterpiece when the worst track is "just very good".
    Expand
  2. Apr 20, 2017
    10
    I believe there's one way to listen to this album and it's going through till the end, tasting one song at a time. This LP feels more like a gigantic picture than a series of songs, and that's what I love the most about this record. Its cohesion is impeccable, still, it manages to arrange a vast amount of different experiences concerning one huge topic. The chorus and the wide number ofI believe there's one way to listen to this album and it's going through till the end, tasting one song at a time. This LP feels more like a gigantic picture than a series of songs, and that's what I love the most about this record. Its cohesion is impeccable, still, it manages to arrange a vast amount of different experiences concerning one huge topic. The chorus and the wide number of instruments play the other half of Stevens' great harmonies, that accomplish the necessary light to take the perfect photograph. Expand
  3. Apr 5, 2017
    9
    This is some of Stevens' best work and a staple for his music career. This would be the first album I would direct someone to if they had never previously listened to his work. The melodies, orchestral elements, and dense lyrics are something you will not find with any other artist in the music world. Sufjan delivers remarkably on an album that will stand the test of time for years.
  4. Aug 26, 2015
    10
    I remember the first time I heard Sufjan's song Chicago. I was driving at the time. I pulled in to make sure I got the name of the artist on this amazing record. That weekend I was in a record store, and I heard Casimir Pulaski day. Again I was blown away. I asked the guy behind the counter about it. When I discovered it was the same artist from the same album, I bought it immediately. AndI remember the first time I heard Sufjan's song Chicago. I was driving at the time. I pulled in to make sure I got the name of the artist on this amazing record. That weekend I was in a record store, and I heard Casimir Pulaski day. Again I was blown away. I asked the guy behind the counter about it. When I discovered it was the same artist from the same album, I bought it immediately. And I have been in love with it ever since. Chicago is such a catchy melody, but really interesting musically and lyrically. Casimir Puklaski day is a sad sad story of a dying friend. But even after years of listening, I am still blown away by the musical arrangement. Especially the off beat piano. Wonderful.
    And then of course there is John Wayne Gacy Jr. A song about the childhood of a serial killer. And probably the most haunting song I have ever heard. And again the musical magic is here in the arrangement.
    They are my 3 favorites, but there is lots more on offer here. Check out this wonderful album ASAP. and prepare to be amazed.
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  5. Jan 7, 2015
    7
    Nice acoustic music, well arranged with some good female voice choruses. Doesn't have that "bite" I require from really great music, but it has high musical qualities, nevertheless.
  6. 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.
  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. 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.
  9. 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
  10. 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.
  11. 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
  12. 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.
  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. 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.
  15. 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
  16. Jul 10, 2011
    8
    Rich, expansive, deep, just a really really good record through and through.
  17. 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.
  18. 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
  19. 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....................................................................................................
  20. 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
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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?
  24. 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.
  25. PeterP.
    Dec 20, 2009
    10
    Astonishing, ambitious, addictive, highly original, sublime. Truly exceptional, once in a lifetime kind of album.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. AyshL.
    Aug 9, 2008
    10
    Amazing.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. 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...
  32. AyshL.
    May 1, 2008
    9
    Amazing.
  33. Joni-M.
    Apr 21, 2008
    10
    Perfect. Nothing less than a masterpiece.
  34. EddM.
    Apr 2, 2008
    10
    No doubt in my mind: 10/10. Incredible.
  35. MichaelM.
    Mar 7, 2008
    9
    This album is far from pretentious. The people who review this album are just disenchanted with their friends who love this album. Too bad that people don't realize that personal association shouldn't affect your perception of a musician or their music. Hey, I don't like the hipster scene in general, and Sufjan Stevens becomes associated with it. But this artist is at least This album is far from pretentious. The people who review this album are just disenchanted with their friends who love this album. Too bad that people don't realize that personal association shouldn't affect your perception of a musician or their music. Hey, I don't like the hipster scene in general, and Sufjan Stevens becomes associated with it. But this artist is at least genuine about the music he is creating. He knows music, composition, and orchestration more so than any pop artist. And this album is underproduced! You try being an indie artist and acquire an amazing studio to produce your work! Like I said, people are just disenchanted based on an idea of what the music and the musician art associated with. Be your own person, and think for your self. Expand
  36. RyanK.
    Feb 29, 2008
    10
    A masterpiece. 'Nuff said.
  37. 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.
  38. AdamP.
    Dec 21, 2007
    10
    Easily the best album of 2005, and one of the best of the decade (so far)!
  39. ChadK.
    Nov 30, 2007
    10
    Magical, disarming, earnest, and potent. A masterpiece.
  40. 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.
  41. JamieO.
    Sep 19, 2007
    9
    Anybody who doesn't like this has problems.
  42. D.Mac
    Sep 14, 2007
    10
    best album I've heard in years!
  43. alexf
    Jul 25, 2007
    10
    I love this album so much! Every single song is great.
  44. 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.
  45. 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.
  46. DanF.
    Jun 25, 2007
    10
    One of my favorite all-time albums. I could listen to it anytime.
  47. GregB
    Jun 25, 2007
    4
    It will only appeal to those misunderstood kids, who are the ones rate albums like this "masterpiece".
  48. AyshL.
    Jun 13, 2007
    10
    Amazing.
  49. LennyC
    Jun 2, 2007
    10
    Indulgent? Absolutely. But what people need to realize is that Sufjan's songs parallel their subjects; in this case, America, which is arguably the most indulgent country on earth. And yet he's able to incorporate a sense of humility into it all. Instead of going, "Yeah, I looked all this stuff up," he goes, "This is how it is, and it's amazing." Looking at Sufjan as a Indulgent? Absolutely. But what people need to realize is that Sufjan's songs parallel their subjects; in this case, America, which is arguably the most indulgent country on earth. And yet he's able to incorporate a sense of humility into it all. Instead of going, "Yeah, I looked all this stuff up," he goes, "This is how it is, and it's amazing." Looking at Sufjan as a pretentious center of hype is a mistake. The music may almost always be in first-person, but first and foremost it's a tribute to the Illinois, America, and humanity. Expand
  50. christianf
    Mar 6, 2007
    10
    it's really good and Casimir Pulaski Day is the best song ever
  51. DanK
    Feb 24, 2007
    10
    Minimalistic like Phillip Glass, but more melodic, really great higher state of conciousness....:-)
  52. 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.
  53. RobertC
    Jan 31, 2007
    9
    Extremely original.
  54. TJT
    Jan 30, 2007
    10
    I love this CD. It is by far one of my absolute favorites. The whole CD flows and half the time songs progress into oneanother without you even realizing it. GENIUS is not strong enough but it will have to do. Great CD, everyone should have a copy.
  55. 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.
  56. RichardK
    Jan 8, 2007
    6
    Sample this album before you buy it. Its considered a masterpiece by many but honestly no matter how many times I played it I didn't enjoy it. While a very highly rated by Metacritic, many people will find it boring.
  57. ErikaL
    Jan 7, 2007
    10
    Wonderfull!
  58. KeriT
    Dec 31, 2006
    10
    Sufjan is a musical genius. The songwrititng is poetry in its most beautiful form. His instrumental compostions are simply breathtaking and exquisite. Absolutely one of my favorite albums of the year. Thank you Sufjan!
  59. LucusG
    Dec 6, 2006
    6
    It's not bad...but not great. There are some good tunes beneath all the overdone production, which not only gets in the way but annoys as well. He screwed up by being too prententious, should've just recorded the songs minimally and cut half a dozen useless filler tracks, and its a decent album.
  60. 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.
  61. amyd
    Nov 10, 2006
    10
    it's suprising how Sufjan Stevens seems to reach out as he himself were the state of Illinois. this is truly one of the most remarkable and moving albums i have ever experienced.
  62. TaylorL
    Oct 20, 2006
    10
    Sufjan Stevens has made great albums in the past, but nothing this epic. Never before have I heard an album with such intellectual lyrics, amazing songwriting, and spot on instrumentals. Music in its purist form.
  63. carriea
    Oct 5, 2006
    10
    i love this cd. ts so beautiful...so...SUFJAN :)
  64. David
    Sep 30, 2006
    10
    I love the album, its beautiful, breathtaking and moving.
  65. 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?
  66. 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!
  67. johnnyc
    Sep 22, 2006
    10
    has some of the most breathtaking songs i have ever heard
  68. MihaiV
    Sep 17, 2006
    7
    While he is capable of delivering brilliant songs, the album as a hole feels dissapointing. It's to long with little varity. There's no fire in this album.
  69. DORELLW
    Sep 15, 2006
    10
    This is a great album. It gets better and better the more you listen to it.
  70. briannav
    Sep 5, 2006
    10
    one of my favorite albums, although no his best cd.
  71. 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.
  72. 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.
  73. 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!
  74. barth
    Aug 14, 2006
    9
    My first contact with an artist that keeps surprising. Fun, musical inspiration, great lyrics.
  75. 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.
  76. TheCritic
    Jul 19, 2006
    9
    A great album. The only thing holding it back is the consistentsy and the annoying female back up singers.
  77. anna
    Jul 17, 2006
    10
    stunning from begining to end. a modern day musical achievement.
  78. adriC
    Jul 13, 2006
    3
    hyped
  79. GiuseppeR
    Jul 7, 2006
    3
    I recognize a certain originality, but this CD is terribly boring, repetitive, pale, dull, but also bombastic, baroque, pretentious and conceited. I tried many times, but it's impossible for me to listen more than five pieces nonstop and arrive to the end of the CD. I am terrorized from the idea that the author carry out the project to create so many CD as the number of the states of I recognize a certain originality, but this CD is terribly boring, repetitive, pale, dull, but also bombastic, baroque, pretentious and conceited. I tried many times, but it's impossible for me to listen more than five pieces nonstop and arrive to the end of the CD. I am terrorized from the idea that the author carry out the project to create so many CD as the number of the states of America. Expand
  80. 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.
  81. DavidO
    Jul 4, 2006
    2
    When I first threw "Illinoise" into my CD player it took me a couple of songs to form a reaction: wow...this is really bad. By the time I bought the CD Sufjan Stevens had received an ungodly amount of hype, and I was ready to sit back like in those decade old commercials and be blown away by my audio equipment. Too bad "Illinoise" wasn't up to the task. The first thing I noticed When I first threw "Illinoise" into my CD player it took me a couple of songs to form a reaction: wow...this is really bad. By the time I bought the CD Sufjan Stevens had received an ungodly amount of hype, and I was ready to sit back like in those decade old commercials and be blown away by my audio equipment. Too bad "Illinoise" wasn't up to the task. The first thing I noticed about the album is how the production makes much of it sound limp. The production reminds me of a Coldplay album where the songs have their rough edges sanded down. If you're going to make use of this many instruments, then I want to be reminded of Mahler and Prokofiev not Chris Martin. While there are a couple of standouts (I recommend downloading "Chicago") there's just not enough high points in the twenty-two tracks to recommend the album. The lyrics are too often overtly self-conscious and overwrought. One of the worst offenders is "John Wayne Gacy Jr." The idea itself is interesting: try and create sympathy for someone who has committed atrocious acts. However, Sufjan isn't clever enough to pull this off in a three minute pop song. When talking about Gacy's victims he directs a hushed "Are you one of them?" at the listener. The results are laughable at best. Imagine the following line delivered with utmost earnestness and a fist clutched to the singer's heart (at least that's how I picture it) and you'll get an idea at how ridiculous his songs can be: "And in my best behavior/ I am really just like him/ Look beneath the floorboards/ For the secrets I have hid." Trying to create a sense of connection and empathy with a monster is an interesting idea, but Sufjan Stevens just can't do it without being overly sappy. The amount of hype this album has gotten insures that Sufjan will have a few more albums critics can overhype and then forget. I'm just hoping that he gives the whole state theme up before he reaches my home state of Ohio. If you screw that one up Sufjan, then don't expect us to go easy on you. Expand
  82. stefanp
    Jun 19, 2006
    10
    awesome
  83. 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
  84. AshP
    Jun 14, 2006
    10
    definately his best album so far. so personal and meaningful, utterly absorbing and so incredibly detailed. every few seconds contains a few treats.
  85. 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.
  86. GabrielS
    May 25, 2006
    10
    It's incredible.
  87. LukeM
    May 19, 2006
    10
    Just spectacular, emotional, smooth, and astonishing.
  88. Syd
    May 17, 2006
    10
    Easily one of favourite post millenium albums. Up there with Michigan.
  89. willo
    May 3, 2006
    10
    Just a masterpiece.
  90. dudeguy
    Apr 25, 2006
    0
    I don't get it. Does nobody else find the whole albums-about-states bit a little cheap? To be honest, I was relieved to find that the music was equally unthoughtful. Other comments: extra instruments don't make your music profound, the songs are repetitive, depressive does not imply touching ... aaeh, it just makes me squirm. This album was unnecessary.
  91. JohnD
    Apr 23, 2006
    10
    Great to listen and play around a campfire
  92. 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
  93. TylerA
    Apr 21, 2006
    10
    One of the best albums I've ever heard, Highly recommended!
  94. 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
  95. ErikH
    Apr 11, 2006
    10
    this is a masterpiece.
  96. WrenL
    Apr 9, 2006
    10
    Sufjan Stevens has bewitched me. His music holds such gentle strength; my heart bleeds and rejoices with his word.
  97. DavidP
    Apr 8, 2006
    10
    An ambitious approach, and an astounding result. It's hard to imagine a better folk/rock/pop album; they come along about once per decade.
  98. 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
  99. BlayzeH
    Apr 4, 2006
    10
    Best album ever made.
  100. JackL
    Apr 4, 2006
    6
    From the first time I listened to this record, something was bothering me about it, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Sure, it is, musically a very solid album; perhaps more than a little pretentious, but that wasn't what was bothering me. When I listened to it again this morning, it hit me; it was the emotion of this album that was getting to me. I have nothing against From the first time I listened to this record, something was bothering me about it, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Sure, it is, musically a very solid album; perhaps more than a little pretentious, but that wasn't what was bothering me. When I listened to it again this morning, it hit me; it was the emotion of this album that was getting to me. I have nothing against melancholy music, but the emotion of Illinois strikes me as incredibly inauthentic in an extremely annoying way. Allow me to explain- When I listen to something like an Elliott Smith album, or a John Lennon album (Plastic Ono Band, specifically), I feel like the singer actually MEANS it; really pouring their soul into their work. When I listen to Sufjan, it's like he's phoning it in, never expressing anything beyond a vague, indifferent sadness with his kitschy lullabies about fictional people, or at least people he doesn't know "crying themselves to sleep" (A lyric that appears at least twice in the album... how cliche). Am I tearing this album apart over a completely superficial quality? Well, I suppose that is your call. This is a forum of public opinion after all. I really do want to love this album, and I feel it is quite well composed, but I find that the whole tone of the album bothers me to a point where it's hard to enjoy. 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.