UFOs, predatory wasps, serial killers, and zombies – the state of Illinois is not often the focus of such drama. But on Sufjan Stevens’ 74-minute masterpiece Illinois, the state is the setting for grand and minor conflicts. On this episode of Critically Acclaimed, host Jake Ramirez and fellow Sufjan rookie Davis Harrison explore the high-art/low-art divide Stevens attempts to bridge on Illinois, the Sufjan’s morality, and the core tension of the album: juxtaposition of heavy themes with joyous sound.
Plus, listen to a bonus interview with Colin Sweeney, the first known traveler to visit and document each location mentioned on Illinois.
- Sufjan Stevens Interview | WNYC
- Illinois Seems Like a Dream to Me Now: An Interview with Sufjan Stevens | Gapers Block
- Illinois Liner Notes | Pitchfork
- Stevens on Illinois and the 50 States Project | Under The Radar
- National Anthems: An Interview with Sufjan Stevens | Dusted