Hurple Hoopla

Monday, January 09, 2006

Sufjan Stevens: Come on Feel the Illinois

Singer-Songwriter, Sufjan Stevens, has undertaken quite a monumental task. He's announced plans to release 50 albums, each based on the history / landmarks of one of the 50 US states. (Well, that would be a monumental task for any musical artist other than Ryan Adams who can somehow churn out 15,456 albums a year... or does it just seem that way? All I know is every time I went into my local CD shop, there was another, new, Adams' CD on the shelf... YEESH!*) Stevens' second release as part of that series is Come on Feel the Illinoise. Guess which state it represents. (hint: it is NOT Idaho)

Up front, I will say the concept behind the music is overwrought, ridiculous and pretentious. And, just like the concept, the music (and lyrics) is overwrought, ridiculous and pretentious. Every second of it is wonderful, precisely because it's completely overwrought, ridiculous and pretentious. Take a look at this song title: "The Black Hawk War, Or, How To Demolish An Entire Civilization And Still Feel Good About Yourself In The Morning, Or, We Apologize For The Inconvenience But You're Gonna Have To Leave Now, Or, 'I Have Fought The Big Knives And Will Continue To Fight..." How can you not love a song with that title, or this one: "They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From The Dead!! Ahhhh!"

Odd instrumentations, odd lyrics, odd performances... It all adds up to one of the wildest, weirdest musical journeys I've ever had the pleasure to take. I know I'm now on board for his journey through the other 48 states.

(Note: The first CD in the series was Greetings from Michigan: The Great Lake State)

* Ryan Adams actually released only 3 CDs in 2005, and just as many the previous year. Yeah, he's a dickhead, but he's an undeniably talented and prolific dickhead. Elton John is a dickhead too, but he's nowhere near as prolific nor does he have as much talent, but, he does have a truckload more "hits."


  • What a shock that the content of this album is a study in quantity over quality! He was off to such a great start by choosing, for the title of his tribute to my home state, a bad pun based on a mispronunciation of our state name that pisses off us Illinioisans.

    *rolling eyes*

    But, perhaps I'm judging the album too harshly based on your review and the title. Maybe the album has some redeeming qualities. Like, maybe the disc fits nicely into a skeet launcher.

    Thanks for listening to this out of my earshot.

    By Blogger Melhi, at 8:33 AM  

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