Illinoize is one of the mashups that I almost wished never happened. Sufjan Stevens, for those of you who don’t know him, is an indie darling.
Probably best known for having one of his tracks featured in Little Miss Sunshine, Sufjan has been on this campaign to make an album for each state in the US. His first two, Greetings from Michigan and Illinoise were successes for the most part. Illinoise achieved tremendous critical acclaim and even indie-highbrow site Pitchfork picked it as their album of the year back in 2005.
To give you a taste of non-hip hop Sufjan, here is Chicago
That being said, this new album is…something. I can’t say I’m 100% on board with it. It’s a great concept, to be sure. In fact, the artist chose to sample from some pretty great hip hop emcees and producers to get this album together. But the execution leaves a tad to be desired. I think the Aesop Rock and Brother Ali tracks came together amazing, but watch out on the Outkast one.