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Greetings from Michigan - The Great Lake State (Deluxe Version)

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Album Review

Sufjan Stevens' third album is a charming homage to his home state of Michigan. Filled with heartbreak, the album cryptically addresses Stevens' frustration with the notorious job market in the city of Flint in a lovely ballad that opens the record, and documents the depressing struggle the city of Detroit has fought to once again attain the elegance it had prior to the riots in the late '60s; however, it also touches on a brighter side, as in the cascading "Say Yes! to M!ch!gan!" Its title is a reference to the campaign adopted by the state in the 1980s and serves as the centerpiece as well as Stevens' attachment and amour for the state he is from. Musically, Stevens often plays his Jim O'Rourke and Stereolab cards, riffing along with complex polyphony in building loops and dynamics, but he also frequently imports lightly strummed guitars and stark banjo picking to break up the album and give it a rustic northern folk aesthetic. Stevens comfortably handles nearly every instrument on the album — an impressive task that includes various keyboards, woodwinds, guitars, and percussions — but also enlisted the help of Megan, Elin, and Daniel Smith from the Danielson Famile to help out with vocal duties, and the outcome is a haunting and hypnotic studio opus certainly worth getting lost in. [Rough Trade's 2004 edition included two bonus tracks.]

Customer Reviews

A rare gem

Sufjan is one of the rare gems in the music business. His ability to transcend the listener to extrodinary heights of emotion is unlike any other musical artist that I have come across. But listener beware, his stuff is a bit unconventional and VERY mellow at times. The themes of his work are bizzare and not topics songwritters often write about. They range from bizarre sound composites to more narrative styles. Which is what is so great about it! He reminds me a little of the Flamming Lips if they were horribly depressed. He originaly wanted to do an ablum for all 52 states, but has only done 4. Regardless each album excells and is equal to eachother in intesity and brillance. If you like the different at times, I highly recomend giving ANY of his albums a go.


Born: July 01, 1975 in Detroit, MI

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

A singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose music deals with both the personal and the spiritual while accompanied by simple but striking musical patterns, Detroit-born Sufjan Stevens started venturing into the music world while attending Hope College as a member of Marzuki, a folk-rock band based in Holland, Michigan. Following the release of two full-length albums with the group, Stevens decided to go solo in late 1999, investing fully in a career that was waiting to shine by itself. Sun...
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