SUFJAN STEVENS • ILLINOIS (asthmatic kitty)
Multi-instrumentalist Sufjan Steven’s 5th record is his second step towards his 50 states concept series highlighting the great state of Illinois. This record immediately knocked my fucking socks off! Adventurous and extravagant instrumentation matched with gentle simple ballads all weaved together by Sufjan’s natural lyricism and stellar voice. Great songwriting with a little for everybody: Moodyness, upbeat swings, pop gems, satirical dities. Sufjan also has a knack for catchy sing-along chorus’. Also checkout the long song titles, very weird and cool. Play this record often! -tHE bAWD oF eUPHONy
1*** (2:08) Absolutley STUNNING song. Airy piano (recorded in a church in Brooklyn), floaty flutes and Sufjan’s sweet voice beautifully harmonized by a female voice. Song is about an alien sighting. A favorite of mine
2** (2:07) An epic instrumental setting the stage for the record. Chorus of vocals and woodwinds carry this piece. Guitar,piano and horns enter and build into an epic fight song.
3*** (6:45) Great upbeat groove, with awesome instrumentation. Song has 2 parts that flow together. Epic but playful. Awesome!
4*** (3:20) This songs kills me (no pun intended). Simple fingered guitar and loose piano with vox. Sad and moody song about the Chicago cereal killer John Wayne Gacy Jr (The killer clown). Vocals and guitar work are absolutely beautiful. A standout track.
5*** (5:25) String intro. Banjo led song that has an Iron and Wine kinda feel. Great groove with cool guitar work and of course stellar chorus’.
6* (0:47) Quick ditty, strings and mood. Very cool
7** (3:04) Banjo led song. Accordian and vocal harmonies tell the story.
8 (0:07) Applause
9** (6:04) Another epic one all about Chicago. Upbeat with sweet vocals and wurlizter work. Catchy fucking chorus again.
10*** (5:54) Very Iron and Wine, swingy upbeat acoustic guitar and gorgous harmonies. Cool trumpet solos
11** (1:41) Cool ditty, moody loose piano, very Chopin-like, and moody guitar sway together with a steady trumpet line. Real cool with loose drumming as well
12* (6:17) Upbeat rocker about Superman with distorted guitars and all!
13*** (2:11) very religious sounding chant, weird and cool! Great groove kicks in
14 (0:20) quick modal drone
15** (5:23) gentle guitar, flute and piano. Sweet sounding ballad that gets more epic as the song progresses. Again catchy chorus’ just kill me.
16*** (5:10) Holy FUNK Batman! Well ok not really but a cool upbeat but moody groove full of Curtis Mayfield string section. A highlight of the record. Great vocals again! I love it!
17 (0:40) Quick recap of the strings from the last song
18 (0:35) Another quicky (if you want to be adventurous Play tracks 16-19 in succession, its real cool)
19*** (3:53) One of my favorites, a droney mood piece that builds to a pretty epic intensity. Piano and vocals and beautiful. High vocal shrills set the mood. Simple acoustic guitars, vocals and cymbol swells peak towards the end. BEAUTIFUL! Abstract drone ends us.
20** (7:02) Another cool upbeat groove song complete with clapping and awesome beat.
21* (0:47) Abstract trumpets ring out and give way to the next track
22*** (4:20) piano led instrumental chamber piece. Very very cool