A few weeks ago, I couldn't avoid an MP3 blog or a music news site without seeing something about Sufjan Stevens and/or his new album, Come On Feel the Illinoise. Well, I finally got around to listening to it last night.
Folks, I'm very impressed with what I heard, even after one listen. The word I keep using to describe Illinoise is that it's very pretty. "Pretty" can mean a lot, but in this case, I mean it as there is a lot of orchestration, warm melodies and zero bombast. It's a record brimming with colors: acoustic guitars, keyboards and flutes are just some of them. Plus, the songs flow well together. They're different from one another but they don't jump all over the place.
And this was all from one listen.
I look forward to more listens of Come on the Feel the Illinoise, but I figure now is a good time to talk about some of my favorite albums of the year so far.
Bloc Party, Silent Alarm
Aimee Mann, The Forgotten Arm
. . . And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, Worlds Apart
Troubled Hubble, Making Beds in a Burning House
Youth Group, Skeleton Jar
Paint It Black, Paradise
Doves, Some Cities
Koufax, Hard Times Are In Fashion
Bob Mould, Body of Song
Ryan Adams & the Cardinals, Cold Roses
And this is just the stuff that has been released this year. Expect this year's year-end favorites to be even longer than last year's.