Sufjan Stevens - Illinois (Cover Artwork)

Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens: IllinoisIllinois (2005)
Asthmatic Kitty

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: FuckYouOiOiOiFuckYouOiOiOi
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Let me start this review by saying: This is a folk album, NOT a folk-punk album. I bought it thinking it was the latter and within the first 10 seconds of the first song I realized my mistake. I don't know much about Sufjan Steven's background, but I do know he is a songwriter who made an album c.
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Let me start this review by saying: This is a folk album, NOT a folk-punk album. I bought it thinking it was the latter and within the first 10 seconds of the first song I realized my mistake.

I don't know much about Sufjan Steven's background, but I do know he is a songwriter who made an album called Michigan, and all the songs were about Michigan. This album is called Illinois, and all the songs are about Illinois (although I live in Illinois and the lyrics don't really seem to be about the state at all [though that could be due to my ignorance]).

An easy way to describe his sound is 'Simon and Garfunkle with more instruments and less passionate vocals.' But there are parts that remind me of Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, and Broken Social Scene.

The album is put together very nicely (most of the songs lead into the other) and has a flowing feel to it. Various instruments like piano, horns, guitar, and drums are seamlessly blended together in (almost) every song. The biggest flaw in the album are the vocals, which completly lack any sort of passion, energy or attitude. In most of the songs, Stevens just sounds downright sleepy. Also, the end of the songs seem to be mindless filler that just begs you to skip to the next track ("na na na''s, "la la la"'s and "ooo ooo ooo"'s).

Now, let's get on to specifics about the album. The second song is an instrumental called "The Black Hawk War," and it's the first song in which the horns are introduced. It's very grandiose and sets the tone for the rest of the album. "John Wayne Gacey, Jr." attempts to show the human side of the serial killer (if that's not punk rock, I don't know what is). My favorite song on the album is "Decatur" and it has the great line "Stephen A. Douglass was a great debater, but Abraham Lincoln was the Great Emancipator," a simple line completely ridiculing Douglass. The songs continue with their slow, sleepy verses and immensly bright, melodic chorusus until "The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts." Its electric guitar-driven intro and chorus teases us into expecting a rocking song, but the verse is just the same slow, sleepy folk (surprisingly, this song lasts 6 minutes, but doesn't feel long). The songs continue in this manner (a female vocalist is introduced but mainly used for background "ahhh"s) until "They Are Night Zombies." This song is really interesting, and the strangely familiar chorus sounds like a classical opera or something. The next song, "Let's Hear That String Part Again, Because I Don't Think They Heard It All the Way Out in Bushnell" is the string part of "They Are Night Zombies" and is hilarious because of the title. "The Seer's Tower" is the worst song on the album. It is one of the slowest, most boring songs I've ever heard. The focus seems to be on the lyrics (which is rich with biblical references) but after reading and re-reading them I can't seem to make any sense of it. The last song keeps building and building to the point where I said, "Aha! So now it's gonna start rocking (like that Bright Eyes album)" but then just dies down and ends.

This is a very laid back, melllow album with great instrumentation. The vocals are lazy and there is a lot of unneeded filler. But I've listened to this album 4 times now and the weird thing is this: It's over 70 minutes long and the songs are slow as hell, BUT it doesn't feel long. And this is coming from a punk fan.


People who liked this also liked:
The Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!NOFX - The DeclineAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseRefused - The Shape of Punk to ComeThe Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever ToldAgainst Me! - Searching For A Former ClarityThe Gaslight Anthem - Sink or SwimNOFX - Punk In DrublicThe Lawrence Arms - Apathy and ExhaustionThe Get Up Kids - Something To Write Home About

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
crayZsaaron (October 11, 2011)

This reviewer has no right to review this album if he still thinks it is a folk album. There are one or two folky-sounding songs on here, that's it...
(Not that I have anything against folk; in fact, I love folk music. That mislabeling was just so glaring....)

carnivoroustree (May 5, 2009)

This review was pretty shitty and biased. This album was pretty amazing.

Utopiaxisxdeath (September 23, 2006)

I really liked this ablumn. I respect your opion, but it had some strong points that you didn't recognoze. I loved the ways Steven's voice grew and became emotional on my favoreit track, John Gracey Jr. but hey that's my opnion

Mixhail (March 31, 2006)

This sounds like a paper a 10th grader would write if he had to give a review of something. If it was actually done by a 10th grader, than well goodjob dude... you are only going to get better with time.

This is the 2nd best cd of the year. I find it amazing that Sufjan's cd can appeal to people with all sorts of different personal preferences for music: punks, emokids, indie fans, pop lovers, and metalheads (such as myself). I attribute this to the variation of styles prominent through out the cd, where sometimes the tracks are polyphonic epics, rich with instrumentation and vocals and other times they are sparse and sublime, where all it takes to make a point is the plucking of a banjo or a the simpilest of piano passages. With Illinois, Sufjan allows the listener to pick and choose styles of song they identify with and soon they find themselves listening to the album in its entirety. I personally started out with "Chicago," and soon i found myself a big fan of the quirky but also epic "Come on Feel the Illinoise" and with time, I know believe that the somber strumming and melody of "Decatur, or, Round of Applause for your Step Mother!" is my favorite song, despite my own overt appreciation for the most epic and technical of music.
The other key unifying piece to this album is the lyrics. As a history major, i really love how Sufjan recounts the stories of the state in an enthralling format, where as the most bustling of cities, such as Chicago get grandoise treatment, and the more rural sections are reflective in the use of minimal instrumentation (most notably from the banjo) but the songs do not all necessarily have to deal with Illinois and it's subjects. The characters in each song are all reflective of Sufjan's own past (such as described in the extended title of "Decatur"), his feelings for life itself (such as when Carl Sandburg visits him in a dream in "Come On Feel the Illinoise) and a few of the songs have strong christian undertones underneath them (though not as abundant as on his previous cd, Seven Swans). There is something for everyone to reflect on with this album, and i have found very few cds that cause me to think back on so many different situations.
Because Sufjan characterizes Illinois in such a highly detailed and respective manner, he somehow makes it possible for me to completely understand the feel of the state, despite my never being there. The same can be said for his own life stories as well. Only the best albums can do this to a listener.

Anonymous (March 21, 2006)

I give this record a perfect score because I am in love with Sufjan musically and it is probably the best record ever created to provide a soundtrack for making art of any sort because it's relaxing and can be tuned out when concentrating, but when you hear it in the back of your head...it's indescribable

Anonymous (January 27, 2006)

worst review ive read in years. honestly awful.

pabstboy (January 24, 2006)

Score is for reviewer reviewing his own review. Sucka!

FuckYouOiOiOi (January 24, 2006)

This is a fantastic review. Best I've ever read. score is for the review.

Anonymous (January 24, 2006)

what a fucking shitty review. i bought this album randomly a few weeks ago, and it's fantastic. i buy a few cd's a week, and this one hasn't left my home cd player yet.

Anonymous (January 24, 2006)

"By the way, as a black dude, I say Abraham Lincoln is a total jerk."

By the way, as a history aficianado, you're an idiot.

Anonymous (January 24, 2006)

This is what happens when you let retarded people write reviews for your website.

Anonymous (January 23, 2006)

What? This review is an abuse of the ability to think and write. Wait, I take back the first part.

Anonymous (January 23, 2006)

My favorite part was when he explained to us that Sufjan used various instruments and he blended them together. If only that didn't describe every band ever.

Anonymous (January 23, 2006)

Quite possibly the worst review that I have ever read. Seriously.

Score is for the review.

Scruffy (January 23, 2006)

I think the review is fine, I just have it out for Sufjan Stevens.

Good job on the review, though. I'm grateful to see someone review this album without slobbering all over it.

Anonymous (January 23, 2006)

i used to live there, not anymore.


ILOVESCOTT (January 23, 2006)

fuckyou, i thought you lived in nyc??

Anonymous (January 23, 2006)

"That is by far one of the most shittily written reviews I've ever read. Good god."

I think someone who makes up and then uses the word "Shittily" doesn't have the ability to say that anything anyone else writes is crappy.

logan (January 23, 2006)

This is hands-down the worst review I've ever read.

Anonymous (January 23, 2006)

If one is to review records on sites like this, come to expect these asshole musical eliteists critiqueing your every move. Granted, I think it's shitty and they should all off themselves in mass suicide, but the fact is, these fuckers are here to stay.


Anonymous (January 23, 2006)

When is this DVd comin out. My buddy ACed when they filmed it at the Metro a couple months ago.

Mute98 (January 23, 2006)

this review made me check it out and its good. the review is great

SalsaShark (January 23, 2006)

God, some of you asshole commenters make me hate this site sometimes. You fucking whine about FuckYou being a terrible reviewer, but he didn't just dismiss it. He gave it a real review, but since the opinion isn't the same, you call him an idiot and what-not.

As for why a street punk fan might be reviewing it... hey, it's a different perspective. Whats the point in getting someone who will obviously give it 5 out of 5 immediately, you idiot? It's a hell of a lot more interesting than that Pitchfork horseshit.

FuckYou, I think this was a good review. I've not heard one note the man has made, but this was not some spewing bullshit that hates on a genre, like the way people bash some screamo (Not that I like that--in fact, 9 out of 10 bands are gabrage--but don't support biased shit for reviews).

Anonymous (January 23, 2006)

Why would anybody name themself 'FuckYouOiOiOi'. I'm not surprised that this is an awful review.

vocalyouth (January 22, 2006)

I like Sufjan a lot. This album is good, but it is not AS GOOD as everyone is saying. I'd probably give it a 7 or 8/10 also.

I'm also probably the only one who preferred Michigan to this.

Oh well. I have different tastes. Drown me.

Anonymous (January 22, 2006)

i meant, you gotta leave spaces, otherwise people wont see what you just typed, and all they will see are "" fool.

Anonymous (January 22, 2006)

Actually, you use the tags < p > and < / p > (no spaces when you're using them) in between each paragraph. Fool.


youwinalemon (January 22, 2006)

"I heard people talk about how amazing this album is.

I heard a few songs and I was all 'Ew.'"
Yes, but you also like Fenix TX and the new Misfits, buddy. :)


Anonymous (January 22, 2006)


you gotta leve spaces between the html, otherwise you just get ""

david_arquette (January 22, 2006)

I'm pretty sure it's Stephen Douglas. Yeah, it is.

Anonymous (January 22, 2006)

This review blew.

Anonymous (January 22, 2006)


Anonymous (January 22, 2006)

For everyone complaining about the extra e - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0009R1T7M/sr=1-1/qid=1137875678 /ref=pd_bbs_1/103-0669233-6133441?_encoding=UTF8

everywhere else lists it as just "illinois" too

Well the "E" is the biggest letter on the cover and it finished the pun.

- Kirby

fistchode (January 22, 2006)

You can put the breaks in by using basic html ""

klonny (January 22, 2006)

I heard people talk about how amazing this album is.

I heard a few songs and I was all 'Ew.'

Scruffy (January 21, 2006)

Sweet, I'll probably try it then.
It's a Pink Razors review!
And it's not very good!
(The review, not the album)

benz (January 21, 2006)

When i do that it turns out fine, but it could be the editors manually changing it.

If that's the case... sorry editors.


Scruffy (January 21, 2006)

Okay, retarded question time.
I'm trying to submit a review. When it previews, there are no paragraph breaks. Is this going to be a problem, or will the breaks be there when you guys receive it?
I don't think this is covered in the FAQs, but if it is, feel free to beat me with words.

Scruffy (January 21, 2006)

Thank you. I know I did my part.

skaboom (January 21, 2006)

This is by far one of the most idiotic comment sections I've ever read. Good god.

FuckYouOiOiOi (January 21, 2006)

This is by far the best review I have ever read.

Anonymous (January 21, 2006)

That is by far one of the most shittily written reviews I've ever read. Good god.

ElVaquero (January 21, 2006)

For everyone complaining about the extra e - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0009R1T7M/sr=1-1/qid=1137875678 /ref=pd_bbs_1/103-0669233-6133441?_encoding=UTF8

everywhere else lists it as just "illinois" too

Anonymous (January 21, 2006)

So, you have to know the entire history of an artist before you can review their work? Then why doesn't every album come with an exhaustive biography? And who said that the only time to review a disc is within weeks of its release? Shouldn't the "music" be able to stand outside of its context?

Anonymous (January 21, 2006)

what the fuck could possibly be the point of reviewing this album. everyone here has been at least aware of this for months now, except the reviewer. seriously, he seems to lack even the simple backround knowledge of sufjan that 90% of the users on this site have. what a pointless and untimely review.

Anonymous (January 21, 2006)

'Sufjan truly is the "Betty Crocker" of the indie roclk world.'

i dont quite get what you're saying. he bakes delicious songs?

Scruffy (January 21, 2006)

More like Suckjan Stevens.

Anonymous (January 21, 2006)

Sufjan truly is the "Betty Crocker" of the indie roclk world.

Pitchfork media sucks salty balls...

Anonymous (January 21, 2006)

"Come on feel the Illinoise"?
Is this what the kids see as clever?...fucking christ.


JohnTravoltron (January 21, 2006)

This album is a-fuckin-mazing. "John Wayne Gacy Jr." is so good... and it's sad too. I've never heard a song about a serial killer that would truely to the killer any "justice" so to speak, until I heard that song.

Good album.

trolley (January 21, 2006)

Beautiful. If you don't appreciate it, I pity you.

LevitateMe (January 21, 2006)

"Casimir Pulaski Day" is the best song on this album.

Marlon (January 20, 2006)

"of course you dont hate me. your not a cool indie kid."

Just because I don't have a blog where I post about bands doesn't mean I'm not cool! I just feel more comfortable forcing music on people I actually know!

Anonymous (January 20, 2006)

Too commercial.


FuckYouOiOiOi (January 20, 2006)

of course you dont hate me. your not a cool indie kid.

Anonymous (January 20, 2006)


those are the scores for the 10 reviews from today....only one 8...all 7's and 2's....what the fuck?

Marlon (January 20, 2006)

"hahaha. looks like all the cool indie kids hate me. Thats awesome. "

I am by far the site's coolest indie kid... and I'm rather indifferent to your existance. Keep trying with the reviews! You might be awesome some day! Have a nice night.

I'm drunk.

Anonymous (January 20, 2006)

The cd is actually titled "Illinoise" with the E added. Its a joke. Get it?

lushj (January 20, 2006)

"Christ, you people are a bunch of little bitches. The kid writes it from his persepective, and it's not insulting, he's just NOT sucking this guy's dick like rest of you Pitchfork-worshipping tools.

I heard a lot about this album, and I'd rather read a review from someone with similar tastes, as opposed to some cockass trying to catch on to the latest fad."

Well said. This record sounds like it's not good, even though the reviewer ended up liking it.

Crookedsuperhero (January 20, 2006)

Most real songs are too long and the thing on a whole needs a lot of trimming.

But that John Wayne Gacy song was really good.

Crookedsuperhero (January 20, 2006)

Most real songs are too long and the thing on a whole needs a lot of trimming.

But that John Wayne Gacy song was really good.

Anonymous (January 20, 2006)


Godfather (January 20, 2006)


ElVaquero (January 20, 2006)

Leave it at this: kids who like punk will generally not like this. It's folk music, plain and simple.

Shit I fucking love Pitchfork and I listen to a few indie bands (Wolf Parade, Animal Collective) but I don't like this.

Big. Fucking. Deal.

FuckYouOiOiOi (January 20, 2006)

Oh yeah, that Bright Eyes album, "I'm Wide Awake..." is better than this too.

FuckYouOiOiOi (January 20, 2006)

hahaha. looks like all the cool indie kids hate me. Thats awesome.

Anyway, in response to everyone saying i don't know anything about this type of music let me say this: from the ages 3-10 I listened to whatever my parents listened to and all they listened to was folk, country, and the beatles (and bands like them).

Anybody saying this album is one of the greatest folk albums and thinks that it deserves a perfect score don't know what the fuck they're talking about. Simon and Garfunkle's pssion and emotion in their vocals put his to shame (even in the really slow songs (listen to "Bridge over Troubled Water" and "The Sound of Silence")). Bob Dylan makes his lyrics look like the Casualties.

The instrumentation is, however, phenomonal and thats why this album got a 7 out of 10 (I was gonna give it a 6 but I gave it an extra one just to pacify you trendy fucks).

P.S. I litereally laughed out loud at the guy who said he was in tears after the first song. Fucking pussy.

Marlon (January 20, 2006)

And I agree with Sickboi a bit too. For as much as I like this record it didn't really stick with me. So far from my number #1 or #2 spot. But I guess when you're pitchfork and an album amazes you when you first hear it you gotta stick to your guns no matter how you feel months later.

Marlon (January 20, 2006)

"okay, who's better? elliott smith or sufjan stevens"

Wow... I like Sufjan but I think that's a blasphemous question to even ask.

danperrone (January 20, 2006)

this is to the effect of wussemorock reviewing paint it black's paradise and giving it a three

ya dig?

Anonymous (January 20, 2006)

I didn't think this album was that great, but he has no idea what to compare it to.

Terrible review. FuckYouOiOiOi, please only review stuff with skulls and crossbones and "punx" on the cover.


sickboi (January 20, 2006)

Christ, you people are a bunch of little bitches. The kid writes it from his persepective, and it's not insulting, he's just NOT sucking this guy's dick like rest of you Pitchfork-worshipping tools.

I heard a lot about this album, and I'd rather read a review from someone with similar tastes, as opposed to some cockass trying to catch on to the latest fad.

If you want a review praising this "masterpiece" for all of its glory and splendor, look around a few sites, it isn't very hard to find. Just don't get all pissy when the rest of us don't agree.

Anonymous (January 20, 2006)

Also, I resent this fucking idiot claiming to be the "end all be all" of punk rock. You just sound like one of those annoying kids who watched SLC Punk! and thought it would be awesome to be like those bozos.


JoshNewm (January 20, 2006)

Well this album is insanely good

Anonymous (January 20, 2006)

Ugh... You're a terrible reviewer. I vote for no more street punks reviewing actual music and pretending to "get it." Please return to that pile of Unseen CD's.


Testiclese (January 20, 2006)

what would make you think it was a folk- punk album

notfeelingcreative (January 20, 2006)

I dig the aforementioned artists not "di"

notfeelingcreative (January 20, 2006)

I hate the Grateful Dead, I listened to nothing but pink floyd when I was thirteen, so now I don't like them, listening to Simon and Garfunkel reminds me of this girl, Kristiana, that I dated a couple of times, so that's not good! Basically the only folky stuff I di is Bob Dylan, Eliott Smith, Mary Lou Lord and Jewel, so I doubt I'd like this!

iconoclast (January 20, 2006)

yea whoever owns the copyright to superman (dc comics?) should have not cared to the point of pulling it. he looked so good flying between those buildings.

KirbyPuckett (January 20, 2006)

You also should have used the album cover w/ Superman flying in the city, haha.

- Kirby

KirbyPuckett (January 20, 2006)

Brian or someone, if you're not in VEGAS, it is ILLINOISE not Illinois.

- Kirby

skaboom (January 20, 2006)

You people are vicious. I'd give it a 7/10 or something close. It is a good record. In fact, it is a phenomenal record for the genre. Just don't discount those last three words. For the genre. It's the kind of thing I'd imagine most people here can appreciate, but that doesn't mean they listen to it regularly. I recognize the songwriting ability here, it just isn't my cup o' tea, so it's "pretty good"

iconoclast (January 20, 2006)

apparently he felt like it duuuuuude.

RyanM (January 20, 2006)

I'm not quite sure why you even bothered reviewing this.

thefineprint (January 20, 2006)

I don't know why everyone is flipping shit over Sufjan. I like indie rock as much as the next kid, but dammit what makes this so much phenominally better than other folk is beyond me. It's clearly well-done and all, but why is it so fucking fantastic? If anyone could explain it to me, really, I'd love to know.

iconoclast (January 20, 2006)

i say he does arizona next! (maybe thats just cause thats where i live).
actually though, the way sufjans writes, he could make any state into a fucking great ablum.

ElVaquero (January 20, 2006)

Yeah I just couldn't get into it. Don't bother if you hate folk.

stevejonestherealbones (January 20, 2006)

let me recap the majority of the comments

Dear FuckYouOiOiOi,

fuck you oi oi oi!

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

- i dont listen to surfjan stevens cause he is a pussy

Anonymous (January 20, 2006)

Fuck this Christian dickhead. Feed 'emall to the lions for all I care.

Dante3000 (January 20, 2006)

hehe...People are cute.
So the guy didn't like your "greatest folk album Americana History indie masterpiece of the 30000th century!" Get over it.
I've never listened to Sufjan Stevens so I don't care as much but really it's one dudes opinion and I doubt this is going to turn the tide on anti-Stevens feelings.
If you don't like it write another review telling us why. Not saying I'd like to read another review on this dude but at least then you can have your say. Shit these bastards posted to reviews for Killradio and that album bombed, I'm sure they'd consider two for this "masterpiece of an album".
So just relax, put on some Arcade Fire and just enjoy your double chi iced tea.
Fuckyou had an opinion and he voiced it. If you wanted another opinion you have no one to blame but your lazy ass self for not writing a review of this before he did.

NoUse4aScnName00 (January 20, 2006)

I'm surprised the review actually listens to this one. I guess you can tell his interest to music by the way he writes his review. Loud, fast. That is something Sufjan isn't nor does he try to be. It's supposed to be soft and not please the average punk fan. While some people may think its boring or slow, I think it's meant to be slow and the variety of instruments in the compositions is what makes it intriguing. Sufjan is very very talented. I just don't know how he'll end up making 1 album for every state and keep it this good. With 48 more to go, it looks like it'll be a while.

ThreeChordsAndTheTruth (January 20, 2006)

I named this as my #1 record of 2005 at scenepointblank.com (it came #2 overall in our top 30 of 2005.

As for the review, I prefer mine. And I thought (as a European) the lyrics concern Illinois folk stores and places and people and such?

skolarx (January 20, 2006)

tried listening to this, its crap

BlaquacadetZstyles (January 20, 2006)

By the way, as a black dude, I say Abraham Lincoln is a total jerk.

BlaquacadetZstyles (January 20, 2006)

This review is almost as bad as all of your comments.

I'm not the guy to jump on the indie bandwagon or anything (Despite my love for Arcade Fire,) but this album is gold.

Josiah (January 20, 2006)

this album is so unbelievably good.

Anonymous (January 20, 2006)

fuck this record. it's way overhyped. way overproduced. way everything.

GlassPipeMurder (January 20, 2006)

innapropriate for punknews.org.

Anonymous (January 20, 2006)

"okay, who's better? elliott smith or sufjan stevens"

Carl Newman.

Anonymous (January 20, 2006)

i like this album, but i have to disagree on it not feeling long. listening to this feels like i'm running a fucking marathon. i dont' think i've ever listened to the whole thing in one sitting.

Anonymous (January 20, 2006)

I love this shit but I'd give the kid a break on the "lazy" vocals and actually give him a little something on saying how sometimes this disc can get sleepy becuase it can. It's great and I love it and so do alot of other people out there (alot of pitchfork kids) but from a punk kid saying he likes this and im sure he'll put on a rancid cd after words and like that more than this but the fact that he still scored it at a 7 means stevens really made a good record. More than one kind of person will like this record.

But this shoulda been reviewed awhile ago you know kinda old now.

Anonymous (January 20, 2006)

"But there are parts that remind me of Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, and Broken Social Scene."

Thanks for the warning. I'll be sure to stay away.

Anonymous (January 20, 2006)

at least this isn't as late as the arcade fire review

kenjamin (January 20, 2006)

I can see how the vocals on stuff like "Casimar Pulaski Day" could be considered lazy, but it's not like Sufjan just didn't feel like doing another take and decided to keep a half assed take-it's obviously intentional. The people ripping into the review/reviewer are being douches.

blade-runner (January 20, 2006)

I dont think his death has affected his popularity significantly.

To the best of my recollection, Elliot Smith was at the hight of is popularity just after the release of the film "Good Will Hunting".

Like the Shins after "Garden State".

He already had an immensly established fan base before his death.

danperrone (January 20, 2006)

sufjan > smith

because sufjan isn't dead and in turn hasn't had his music praised as 1000x better than it really is

yeah i went there

Blade-Runner (January 20, 2006)

As of now, I'd say Elliot Smith, because of his musics staying power over the years.

In time though, my opinion may change.

If Sufjan is able to update his brilliant discography with more superb releases like this, he may well better his deceased competition.

Anonymous (January 20, 2006)

album of the year, next to wilhelm and stars. seven swans is a bit better though.

Godfather (January 20, 2006)

man this is good

okay, who's better? elliott smith or sufjan stevens

rkl (January 20, 2006)

i dont see why everyons balls to the wall on this, i wouldnt give it more than 2.5/10

and yes, i have heard this, q101 plays surfjan stevens about 300x/day

Anonymous (January 20, 2006)

One of the best of last year. It's a shame you didn't mention Casimir Pulaski Day, as it's easily one of the best tracks of last year, if not the last few years.

Like you said, a bit longwinded at times, especially at the conclusions of songs. Folk reviews can show up on a punk website, there's no reason for it not to.

iconoclast (January 20, 2006)

yes yes they have. i like some of their stuff. but they are still fucks!

Anonymous (January 20, 2006)

"i would actually rather read a review about a folk album from the perspective of a punk kid than some snobby pitchfork fuck. its interesting reading a review for music that is written by someone who is into totally different music and see their take on it."

Let's not forget Pitchfork does produce some quality punk reviews.

iconoclast (January 20, 2006)

jeeez you guys are harsh. cut the kid some slack. he wanted to write a review and he did. i actually enjoyed reading this review, even though i disagreed with some of the points made about the album. i would actually rather read a review about a folk album from the perspective of a punk kid than some snobby pitchfork fuck. its interesting reading a review for music that is written by someone who is into totally different music and see their take on it.

i dont know how anyone could call sufjans' voice lazy, as i find it very passionate and beautiful. and quite soothing. illinoise and michigan are great albums, but i think i actually prefer seven swans over them all too.

joeg (January 20, 2006)

"And what the hell is FuckYouOiOiOi doing writing this one? Come on man!"

what the hell is he doing writing reviews period? the guy reviewed the adolescents and apparently tony never sang in that band.

TheOneTrueBill (January 20, 2006)

I don't care enough to read the review, but this guy bothers me. And what the hell is FuckYouOiOiOi doing writing this one? Come on man!

Anonymous (January 20, 2006)

i think my 5th grade cousin could write a better review than this.

somegirl (January 20, 2006)

ps- my score was for the record, not the review.

somegirl (January 20, 2006)

So what if this is a punk website? This is not a punk record-- you don't try to look for the same things in this sort of record that you would in a punk or hardcore one. Apples vs. oranges dude.

Actually, I did prefer Seven Swans. I'm still not sick of the songs from there, whereas with this one, I think I've played all of them out for a while, except for Casimir Pulaski Day, which is one of my favorite songs ever.

PS- If Sufjan Stevens did a record about your state, what do you think he should sing about? When and if he does Florida, I'd be totally disappointed if he didn't have a song about Disney World and beaches. And maybe drug kingpins .

Anonymous (January 20, 2006)

awful review. the passion in his singing even on the first track alone brought me to tears the first time i heard it. not only are the vocals phenomenal, the lyrics are excellent also. he seamlessly alludes to many, many facets of history sprinkled throughout Illinois with childhood memories everyone can relate to.

to be frank, i highly suggest you stop listening to music entirely if you're going to disgrace the best album of 2005.

vitustinnitus (January 20, 2006)

As I run a college radio station, I am subjected to hearing any kind of trendy, Pitchfork-type band that passes through the hands of our DJs. Of all the hyped albums that were talked about this, this one took the cake for the sheer amount of praise attributed to it. Now, maybe I just have shitty taste in music, but I found it to be mediocre. The only two tracks that stood out to me were the first one (UFO-related I believe) and John Wayne Gacy Jr. It's not necessarily a BAD album, but, in my opinion, it was not deserving of all the accolades it received at the station or in the pages of CMJ, Pitchfork, etc.

Unrelated, but the new Arab Strap is pretty good. I'd recommend a listen.

Anonymous (January 20, 2006)

I think most people have had this album since last May, and therefore don't need a poorly written review to convince them.

FuckYouOiOiOi (January 20, 2006)

okay, first of all this album was reviewed
1-by a punk
2-on a punk site
3-for what I assumed would be punk fans

So, I gave it a 7 out of 10 based on how it stacks up to the punk bands that I listen to. Considering that, a 7 out of 10 is a high fucking score. I like this album.

And even if it was reviewed as a folk album, I wouldn't give it 5/5....the vocals have NO energy or attitude at all. There are folk bands (Simon and Garfunkle) that can encompass those elements in their vocals. Sufjan Stevens does not.

Again, I like this album, and given the circumstances a 7/10 is a good score.

kenjamin (January 20, 2006)

My actual score

kenjamin (January 20, 2006)

I like the actual songs on here, alot. The painfully long choir chanting of things like Hallelujah and I-L-L-N-O-I-S! are totally beat and make me not want to listen to this too often. I saw him live though and he's the real deal.

danperrone (January 20, 2006)

slow, sleepy folk


danperrone (January 20, 2006)


what a fucking horrible review

this album is a 5/5...no, a 6/5

and you give it a 7 and a half assed review?

well, at least everyone is going to know this kid is an idiot, and not just me

Anonymous (January 20, 2006)

Arn't you 13? Isn't that a bit young to be reviewing albums of this calibur?

blade-runner (January 20, 2006)

It's good to see this is getting attention outside of Pitchfork. Definately a Quality Album.

However, does anyone else prefer "Seven Swans"?

Anonymous (January 20, 2006)

amazing album.

I'll admit I was skeptical when I first put this in, but it didn't take long for me to fall in love with it. I don't agree with the review..lazy vocals? What is that supposed to mean? Sure sounds like there was time and effort put into them. Great record, great musician. This guy plays just about every instrument.

Anonymous (January 20, 2006)

The vocals are one of the best things on this album.

Anonymous (January 20, 2006)

Sorry man but stick to the oi records. Sufjan's alittle out of your league.

FuckYouOiOiOi (January 20, 2006)

sweet. i thought they weren't gonna put this up since it wasn't a punk album.

etwiels88 (January 20, 2006)

I'd give this album a star higher rating, or at least half of a star. There's some pretty original and entrancing stuff in this album. Definitely into it.

Anonymous (January 20, 2006)

and allow me to replace the word "vocals" with "lyrics" and then correct my mis-interpretation of what you actually wrote.


Album still owns.

Anonymous (January 20, 2006)

"The biggest flaw in the album are the vocals"

You really think so.

I think the vocals in "John Wayne Gacy" are easily some of the best I've ever read.

Bad review.

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