Illinoise (styled Sufjan Stevens Invites You To: Come On Feel the Illinoise on the cover) is a 2005 concept album by American indie folk songwriter Sufjan Stevens. His fifth studio album, Illinoise features songs referencing places, events, and persons related to the U.S. state of Illinoise. The album is Stevensâ€™ second based on a U.S. stateâ€”part of a planned series of fifty that began with the 2003 album Michigan and that Stevens has since acknowledged was a gag.
The artwork and lyrics explore the history, culture, art, and geography of the stateâ€”Stevens developed them after analyzing criminal, literary, and historical documents. Following a July 4, 2005, release date, Stevens promoted Illinoise with a world tour.
Critics praised the album for its well-written lyrics and complex orchestrations; in particular, reviewers noted Stevensâ€™ progress as a songwriter since the release of Michigan. Illinois was named the best-reviewed album of 2005 by review aggregator Metacritic, and was included on several reviewersâ€™ â€śbest of the decadeâ€ť listsâ€”including those of Paste, National Public Radio, and Rolling Stone. The album amounted to Stevensâ€™ greatest public success to date: it was his first to place on the Billboard 200, and it topped the Billboard list of â€śHeatseekers Albumsâ€ť. The varied instrumentation and experimental songwriting on the album invoked comparisons to work by Steve Reich, Neil Young, and The Cure. Besides numerous references to Illinoise history, geography, and attractions, Stevens continued a theme of his songwriting career by including multiple references to his Christian faith.
- Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois
- The Black Hawk War, Or, How To Demolish An Entire Civilization And Still Feel Good About Yourself In The Morning, Or, We Apologize For The Inconvenience But You're Going To Have To Leave Now, Or, "I Have Fought The Big Knives And Will Continue To Fight Them Until They Are Off Our Lands!"
- Come On! Feel The Illinoise! Part I: The World's Columbian Exposition Part II: Carl Sandburg Visits Me In A Dream
- John Wayne Gacy, Jr.
- A Short Reprise for Mary Todd, Who Went Insane, But for Very Good Reasons
- Decatur, or, Round of Applause for Your Stepmother!
- One Last "Whoo-Hoo!" for the Pullman
- Casimir Pulaski Day
- To The Workers Of The Rock River Valley Region, I Have An Idea Concerning Your Predicament
- The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts
- Prairie Fire That Wanders About
- A Conjunction Of Drones Simulating The Way In Which Sufjan Stevens Has An Existential Crisis In The Great Godfrey Maze
- The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades Is Out to Get Us!
- They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back from the Dead!! Ahhhh!
- Let's Hear That String Part Again, Because I Don't Think They Heard It All The Way Out In Bushnell
- In This Temple as in the Hearts of Man for Whom He Saved the Earth
- The Seer's Tower
- The Tallest Man, The Broadest Shoulders Part 1: The Great Frontier Part II: Come To Me Only With Playthings Now
- Riffs And Variations On A Single Note For Jelly Roll, Earl Hines, Louis Armstrong, Baby Dodds, And The King Of Swing, To Name A Few
- Out Of Egypt, Into The Great Laugh Of Mankind, And I Shake The Dirt From My Sandals As I Run