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Illinois by Sufjan Stevens
Released: May 2005
Label: Asthmatic Kitty
This Land of Lincoln salute presents a refreshingly original indie history lesson backed by an orchestra of trumpets, flutes, choir and banjos. Even the saddest songs ("Casimir Pulaski Day") sound euphoric in their soulful honesty. Plus, anyone who rhymes "Decatur" and "emancipator" in a song about Abe's hometown deserves a key to the city, if not the state.
Michele K-Tel

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