Sufjan Stevens had already made his superb Michigan album which blew this listener's socks clean off back in 2003. Illinois was the moment we all really thought he'd go through with his 50 state project. It takes Michigan's clever and complex rural folk and supersizes it with all kinds of compositions mostly with ridiculous titles. Like an enormous pudding buffet that lasts forever,  beautiful heartfelt folk rubs up against orchestrated pop, polka, ambient, neo-classical and everything in between. A brilliant record.   

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Illinoise by Sufjan Stevens
7 reviews. Write a review for us »
9/10 Clinton 28 November 2006
So I'm brilliant. Have you heard? I'm years ahead of my time. Good old me eh? You probably don't remember me rabbiting on and on droning endlessly about Sufjan Stevens 'Michigan' album years and years ago. Before you could even be bothered to be born. Hang on,   I think I'm turning into Everett True. Anyway here's Sufjan's new album 'Illinoise'  - its gonna be terribly difficult to review in 5 minutes as 'Michigan' is still growing on me to this day. Lets just buy it now and ask questions later eh? For the uninitiated its complicated folky music that takes influence from Nick Drake, Philip Glass, Elliott Smith, Speed the Plough (or the Trypes!!), Sea and Cake and Danielson Famile. On first listen it sounds worryingly chirpy but lets give it some time. The song titles are superb. On Rough Trade.

10/10 clinton 16th June 2007

Just in case anyone is put off my Mr Clarkes review Sufjan Stevens succeeds in a way the likes of Neutral Milk Hotel and Bright Eyes will always fail in that he doesn't whine on and on and on with a clothes peg on his nose. yes its badly edited, yes its overhyped but theres always the skip button on the cd player

10/10 David

Wow wow wow wow wow. This is great. I can, honestly, listen to it on repeat without getting bored of it, and I can't say that about many other albums.I have to admit, I didn't 'get' the Stevens at first, but songs like 'Rake' (from a Sun Came) won me over.This album has some really amazing moments, and the three versions of 'Chicago' demonstrate not only Stevens ability to write songs, but also to arrange and orchestrate them.He's a bit like the imaginary indie brother of Joanna Newsom, Cat Power and Devendra Banhart, who's been bought up by David Pajo (in his later, folky, Papa M period), with uncle Will Oldham and Bill Callahan coming round for sunday lunch. And yet, despite his similarity to these artists, he stands apart from them, putting his own unique stamp on everything he does.

2/10 James Clarke

Oh ho ho... I haven't heard such an over hyped, over contrived piece of self indulgent, badly edited crap in quite some time. This is Bright Eyes for those who think Conor Oberst is too commercial, this is for those who have no real taste or deep knowledge of what a great singer songwriter is, this is for those who should have their ears cut off under Sharian law. Do yourself a favour, and go buy an early Mountain Goats album, even Neutral Milk Hotel will provide more sustenance.

9/10 Andrew Customer rating (no review), 27th September 2019
10/10 David Customer rating (no review), 27th December 2018
10/10 Holly Customer rating (no review), 19th March 2018



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