Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts, But Keeps His Copyrights

Well I hope you all pre-ordered Sufjan Stevens' latest opus Illinois because the wonderful folks at D.C. Comics have decided to step in and shut down any sales due to the image of $uperman on the cover. Thankfully I've owned a copy for around a month now. Before Monday, there were only a couple of copies listed on eBay for around $15-$20. Now check it out. Jeez!! Oh well, at least you may be able pick up a copy for a short bit at a retailer. Otherwise, iTunes has it. Hopefully the son of Jor-El will calm down and go back to saving lives and shit and leave alone the indie artists. Besides, I always liked Marvel Comics more.
Really you do need to search this album out because it is truly remarkable. Maybe this phrase is a little overused, but it truly is unlike anything else out there. It took a bit longer for me to like than Michigan and Seven Swans. Now I have it. The music is so mindbending and complex, but boy is it rewarding. Sufjan Stevens truly is one of the best songwriters out there, but he will never alienate you as you listen. He's so clever, funny, and heartbreaking that listening to any of his albums is an exhausting experience. (Actually just reading the song titles alone is an exhausting experience.) With Illinois he seems to be embarking on a Brian Wilson-esque trip....without all the drugs and insanity. It's as complex as Pet Sounds and as surreal as SMiLE.
It's very difficult to pick out a favorite moment on this album. "Come On! Feel the Illinoise!" is truly remarkable. "John Wayne Gacy, Jr." is just so sad that it's hard not to well up. I want to wake up to "Chicago" every morning. "The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades is Out To Get Us!" is just gorgeous. "The Seer's Tower" proves that Sufjan actually is self-conscious about copyright laws in a very disturbing song. The climax "The Tallest Man, The Broadest Shoulders" is a perfect culmination of a truly remarkable tribute to a truly mediocre state (sorry, I'm from Missouri).
Trust me, just go buy this album somewhere. It's so totally worth it. At least if you spend $80 for it on eBay, at least you'll be getting your money's worth as it clocks in at 74 minutes. Just get it and thank your lucky stars for having an artist like Sufjan. A lifetime of incredible music awaits as Sufjan still has 48 more albums to go in this series.