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Artist: Sufjan Stevens
Song Notes: Another winter song, and probably the song heard by the most people who'll get this CD! Illinois is one of the best-reviewed records of the year, and it is pretty good. I tend to think it's a little long, but this is easily my favorite track on here. The repetition of "All things go, all things go" just make the song as does the powerful, driving guitar and backing vocals. Brian Eno had an interesting theory about the lack of Call & Response in pop music writing, but the popularity of it on the charts. His idea was that people like listening to it, because the backing vocals represent a different point of view to the narrator's story, either society, other people, the narrator's friends, or any other combination you can think of—a modern version of the Greek Chorus. However, songwriters now typically are the people who are going to sing the song, and as he's noticed, singers typically tend to determine whether or not a particular segment of a track as being complete when they are singing, and incomplete when they are not singing—hence, they write lyrics for themselves to sing in toto. Sufjan Stevens in this track solves this problem (though, of course, this version ALSO has backing vocals that fulfill this role) -- in the opening verses, the "All things go, All things go" parts would be done by the backing vocalists in a standard song, however, here, he sings them himself—in effect, answering himself, providing the alternate point of view that only hindsight can give (as the rest of the song is in the past tense). It's a really interesting technique, actually. - Rev. Syung Myung Me