Sufjan Stevens
The Avalanche: Outtakes & Extras from the Illinois Album!

Asthmatic Kitty
Reviewed by: Andrew Gaerig
Reviewed on: 2006-07-11

Posted 07/11/2006 - 01:01:18 PM by florenz6:
 Mhmm - everybody listens to another record. Illinoise is a masterpiece, and this new one comes close. It is so rich in textural qualities that, in my opinion, do serve the song and not so much Sufjan´s fun in extremes (or some over-exaggerated ambitons. In some ways such aportrait of a stateis a labyrinthine approach to a big social/ human "machinery" working. Green Gartside told me in an interview that he has listened to Illinoise over months, nearly one time a day, diving into the sonic landscapes of the songs. I´m sure he will have a similar delight with The Avalanche! Despite all the eclecticism involved, Sufjan Stevens has brought songwriting to a new level! And the lyrics have depth, and twists and turns and more than one level to be read and enjoyed! Well, it´s "A" again in my ears, but, yes, everyone listens to another record! And if would tell stories about Illinois for the rest of his life, it would be okay with me! He´s "balzacing" the folk genre!
Posted 07/11/2006 - 02:44:51 PM by cwperry:
 When he finishes his 50 states project we'll have about 2000 songs that sound exactly alike. Enough with this man!
Posted 07/12/2006 - 01:00:31 AM by astronaut:
 It's difficult to find 2 songs on Illinois that sound exactly alike, let alone the entire album. Have you really listened to it?
Posted 07/13/2006 - 11:40:48 AM by hunky_dory:
 Cheers, cwperry, I couldn't agree more. His '50 states' conceit is a coverup without which he's just be an OK, run-of-the-mill singer/songwriter (cf. 'Seven Swans'). 'Illinoise' is like a grade-school report about Illinois history, content-wise, and he uses all his little sonic tricks and vocal warbles and meticulous research to hide his lack of creativity. Not one original idea in the whole album. It sounds good, but it's not as deep and revelatory as critics would have us believe.
Posted 07/14/2006 - 04:22:24 PM by cwperry:
 astronaut: yes, I've listened to it closely multiple times, as I did with Michigan (about which I think the same thing). hunky_dory: I agree. The other thing I dislike about Illinois is that half the tunes have nothing to do with the state at all; perhaps I'm missing Stevens's point, but I'm tired of armchair historians pretending that Sufjan Stevens has authored two volumes of authoritative Americana. Tell me what "Casimir Pulaski Day" has to do with Illinois other than its title, to name one such song. And he simply must do away with the damned paragraph-long song titles, many of which represent instrumentals--again, most of the music has nothing to do with the state it ostensibly represents. There are some nice moments on these albums, but overall I find the entire project to be a pretentious and hollow vanity exercise.
Posted 07/29/2006 - 12:11:45 AM by roadrunner:
 if you care, Casimir Pulaski Day is a popular holiday celebrated at the beginning of March among Polish neighborhoods in America, and is an especially popular holiday in Illinois. Stevens' song relates an incident in which a nameless love dies of cancer on Casimir Pulaski Day, "on the first of March, on a holiday." Anything else?