The Avalanche: Outtakes & Extras From The Illinois Album Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 48 Ratings

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  • Summary: Each of these 21 tracks originated during the recording of Stevens' 2005 album 'Illinoise,' although most were re-recorded or fleshed out during later sessions. Included are several new versions of the track "Chicago" from that earlier album.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. 100
    Most of these songs are just as good, if not better, than the ones that actually made the cut.
  2. Avalanche,... is all over the place musically but never loses the singer-songwriter's jaw-dropping vision.
  3. If anything, the quality of Stevens' B-sides further validates the folk-hero legacy he's begun. [Sep 2006, p.212]
  4. All the songs here are fully realised and often the equal of those on their parent album.
  5. 70
    It's like School House Rock for hip kids. [Aug 2006, p.117]
  6. Anyone expecting a pared down, contented Sufjan can bugger off. If anything, The Avalanche chases his caprice and whimsy further down the rabbit hole.
  7. Too often his songs fail to captivate beyond a curiosity factor.

See all 32 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 28
  2. Negative: 1 out of 28
  1. ShaunM
    Jul 24, 2006
    This would have gotten higher reviews had it not been released under the stigma of "B-Sides Album". Not as good as Illinois (but what is?) Brillant nonetheless. Expand
  2. JoeG
    Jul 13, 2006
    Most other recording artists would kill for the tunes on these outtakes. Not quite the drama of Illinois but The Avalanche has a gentle charm of its own, and needs no apologies. The vocals keep reminding me of CSNY. And believe me, that's good! Expand
  3. RandallF
    Jul 18, 2006
    Great collection of discarded material that helps put you in the mindset of a prolific songwriter. This collection proves that Sufjan's scraps can be far more interesting than the entire catalog of most major label "alternative" bands. Question: How is Sufjan trying to "recapture the spirit of Illinoise" with a collection of discarded tracks?! This album is NOT a proper release. Therein lies the real "irony" that Sha K is looking for. Expand
  4. FrankW
    Jul 12, 2006
    "The Avalanche" is not really "Illinois, Part 2." It's an alternate universe version of "Illinois." It has the same structure, the same glorious highs, and the same mistakes (the instrumental transitions add just as little to this album as they did to "Illinois"). Still, last year's album was the clear album of the year last year, and "The Avalanche" isn't going to be this year by any means. The two albums may almost be identical, but "Illinois" was surprising. Had "The Avalanche" been released first, it would have been just as surprising and just as positively reviewed, but it came second, and it happens to be more of the same. Now, more of the same for Sufjan means more of the stunningly wonderful songs, but this time there's none of the wonder hearing the first version of this album for the first time created. Expand
  5. MattStep
    Aug 31, 2007
    Out-takes!!? OUTTAKES!?! Will Mr Stevens please stop hogging all the tunes! I thought this would be patchy at best but it turns out to contain many of the best things Sufjan Stevens has done (The Mistress Witch from McClure, Adlai Stevenson, The Henney Buggy Band etc.). I really don't need three more versions of Chicago though, no matter how good they are. Expand
  6. TimW
    Jul 13, 2006
    The songs are expertly arranged, but you can't spin gold out of hay.
  7. JakeM.
    Aug 1, 2006
    No...really, when will this eve end. Avalanche indeed! I mean, Illinois was bloated enough, but to think that we really need ANOTHER 75 minutes of this tripe... I guess he's starting to believe his own press. Expand

See all 28 User Reviews