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Sufjan Stevens: Illinois
Buy! - (Asthmatic Kitty)
This eccentric singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist’s fifth album is the official follow-up to his third release Michigan, and the second in a planned series of albums about all 50 states. It’s a truly magical record, ranging from elaborately arranged orchestral pop to gentle acoustic folk ballads, with even a bit of rock and dance music thrown in. The imaginative arrangements combine a dizzying assortment of instruments (most played by Sufjan himself), choral voices, a few passages of trance-y minimalism, and Stevens’ own soft, delicate vocals. The ridiculously lengthy song titles hint at the album’s lyrical variety, with ambitious, literate lyrics blending fanciful whimsy with an often-deep poignancy that reflects Stevens’ spiritual concerns. Sufjan continues to grow as an artist – it’s scary to think how good he’ll be by the time he gets to the 50th state. 6/15/2005 - Don Yates
Other Sufjan Stevens album reviews:

Carrie & Lowell - 3/20/2015
The Age of Adz - 10/1/2010