20 June 2005


I'm a firm believer that you only get so many exclamation points in your lifetime. If you're careless and use them excessively, odds are you're gonna die young. But Sufjan (soo-faan) Stevens' new album, Illinois, deserves every superlative I can muster.

Thanks to D. (the full-blown rock critic), I got my sweaty li'l hands on an advance copy of Illinois and I haven't been able to keep it outta my ears. I'm becoming a li'l obsessed and I may or may not have asked D. to work his connections to arrange a one-on-one meeting. Embarrassing, I know. But after reading Sufjan's fantastic Pitchfork interview, I'd like to buy the guy a sandwich and some kettle chips.

If you're not familiar with Sufjan's work, check it out. Suf's a tale-weaving musical mastermind and Illinois is nothing short of spectacular. I'm sure I'll have more to say about the album in coming weeks. I may even attempt a real-live album review, with scaled stars, directional thumbs, percentage points and everything. For now, lemme just say that I've already pre-ordered my official copy of the album and it'd better include some serious liner notes.

With Michigan already under his belt, Illinois gives Sufjan #2 in his quest to craft an album for each of the 50 states. It's an ambitious project, but I've no doubt that he's capable. The only question is whether Utah will merit full LP status or will be hopelessly relegated to a four-song EP.

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