Sufjan Stevens: Illinois: Pitchfork Review
: "Stevens has a remarkable habit of being rousing and distressing at the same time, prodding disparate emotional centers until it's unclear whether it's best to grab your party shoes or a box of tissues. The gut-punching 'Chicago' cagily celebrates the innate (and deeply American) tendency to employ highways as escape routes, ditching old mistakes for new swatches of land, new plates of eggs, new parking lots. Impossibly propulsive, each calm, harmonized, Illinoisemaker cry of 'All things go!' pushes harder, promising liberation, by death or by automobile: 'If I was crying/ In the van with my friend/ It was for freedom/ From myself and from the land,' Stevens chokes, voice shaking over a haze of drums, strings, and shimmering keyboards."
On July 29th, 2005, nine years after starting the graduate program at the University of Louisville, I finished my degree and defended my dissertation. I am $50k in debt, had four children during that time, and lived in four homes and two states. Three members of my committee left the program, and I learned more about academic politics than I ever wanted to know.