Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Couplet-of-the-moment comes from Sufjan Stevens' Illinois:

Stephen A. Douglas was a great debater/ But Abraham Lincoln was the Great Emancipator


Jake said...

How is that album? I've heard a lot about it, but I don't even really know what kind of music it is. I'm not sure if the one-album-per-state idea is cool or gimmicky. Maybe both.

Rob said...

The album is bananas. It isn't gimmicky--even though it is--because the gimmick is so thoroughly felt by Stevens. The songs are folky and spare or else huge and echoey chamber pop, and the lyrics are funny, historically accurate and devastatingly personal.

I do think the record falters when it relies on giant choral crescendos and other Polyphonic Spreeisms: sometimes its best moments are the most understated. On the other hand, my favorite song is the 7-minute two-part symphonic epic "Come On! Feel the Illinoise!" which balances the bouncy, future-hopeful tone of its part one, "The [1893] World's Columbian Exposition" with the more melancholic tone of part two, "Carl Sandburg Visits Me in a Dream," in which the poet poses the question "Are you writing from the heart?"

It's really something.

Nicole said...

I LOVE it myself. I wasn't sold on the concept after "Michigan," but I sure am now.