Saturday, April 25, 2009

Album Comparison: Sufjan Stevens

So here I am again.

Comparison. Which album is better?

Sufjan Stevens' Michigan or Come On! Feel the Illinoise!?

You've probably heard Sufjan (pronounced Soof-yan) before. He's been feautured on the Little Miss Sunshine soundtrack, he's been on Austin City Limits (he's the guy with his entire group wearing wings), and has seven albums dating back to 2000. He decided that he was actually going to have an album for all 50 states, but, only Michigan and Illinois came out of the idea. He also has Avalanche!, the outtakes from Come On! Feel the Illinois!
Frankly, all of his albums are great, with a soft, folk/indie-like sound and some of the best lyrics I've ever heard. His songs are a little odd, but his charming collaboration with a gentle, yet upbeat chorus and numerous instruments never fails to get stuck in your head. (The l
yrics are a little hard to memorize though. Be prepared to simply hum.)

So, we'll start with Illinoise.
On the album, there's a variety of songs, the popular Chicago, to the sad and
poetic John Wayne Gacy Jr. (really depressing, yet beautifully put together.) Several of the songs on the album are very happy, though; each instrument getting its time, all being placed in each song, at just the right moment, to come up with an inspiring and thoughtful musical experience.

In my favorite song off the album, Vito's Ordination Song, Sufjan does an incredible job
of putting the song together, coming up with just the right amount of each instrument included, pulling the song to a nice, simple beat, with smooth, light vocals. The majority of the songs on the album are much calmer than on Illioise, and, though sweet, can easily be tuned out if you're focusing. Michigan (the album, not the state.) is a great listen, but can easily be placed in the background music. Don't let that fact stop you, though. The album also includes For the Widows In Paradise, for the Fatherless in Ypsilianti, which, though still a little quiet, is unique in it's folk-y, eclectic instrument choices.

So, after returning to the albums, I've decided that Come On! Feel the Illinoise is probably a better listen, with its ability to both inspire and keep you listening through the entire album. Michigan is great, don't get me wrong, it's great to have a calmer listen every once in awhile, whether it be while you're working or just for pleasure.

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1 comment:

  1. ummmmm, where'd you go?

    How will I know what all the cool kids are reading/listening too?

    I'm old, I need help with this.