A 22-track anthematic tone poem to the Prairie State, emphatically answering the question, "Can a songwriter express the spirit of a state he's never called home?" Sufjan weaves various musical styles (jazz, funk, pop) and instrumental textures into a tapestry of persons famous, infamous, and anonymous, and places iconic, obscure, and ghostly. Myths, memories, and incidental anecdotes are swept up with symphonic flourishes. Implementing 25 instruments, played mostly by Sufjan himself, a two-handed horn section, string quartet and small choir, Illinois conjures up images of Danny Elfman conducting a Gilbert and Sullivan company, a minimalist ensemble, and the Marion Catholic Marching Band on a windswept prairie football field. Asthmatic Kitty. 2005.
1. Concerning the UFO Sighting
2. The Black Hawk War
3. Come On! Feel the Illinoise
4. Jr. John Wayne Gacy
6. A Short Reprise For Mary Todd
8. One Last Woo-Hoo
10. Casimir Pulaski Day
11. To the Workers of the Rock River Valley Region
12. The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts
13. Prairie Fire That Wanders About
14. A Conjunction of Drones
15. The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades
16. They Are Night Zombies!!
17. Let's Hear That String Part Again
18. As in the Hearts of Men In This Temple
19. The Seer's Tower
20. The Broadest Shoulders, The Tallest Man
21. Riffs and Variations on a Single Note For Jelly Roll
22. Out of Egypt.