I recently checked out a CD from the library entitled "Come on feel the Illinoise!" by Sufjan Stevens.
I'd randomly grabbed a few albums and, per the cover art, I thought this was going to be a punk album.
Not even close.
But definitely interesting.
Currently, I'm listening to "Jacksonville," a sparse, melodic combination of banjo, guitar, coronet and voice. The genre is... elusive.
It starts off kinda folksy - very middle America - with traditional instruments and themes that could've been lifted from "The Waltons" or even "Fanfare for the Common Man" - and then a quietly compelling voice coalesces.
The voice has a quality... which might be described as ethereal -or- what it's like to hear an accident described by a victim still in shock. It's both emotional and detached at the same time.
The lyrics, too, convey this esoteric feel , with words both simple and strange:
I'm not afraid of the black man runningThey hint at things without fully revealing them, and we are left to grope at their meanings:
He's got it right, there's a better life coming.
I don't care what the captain said.
I fold it right at the top of my he-ad.
Our step mom we did everything to hate herThis enigmatic combination of voice and word*, when layered over folksy, pastorale themes, creates a tension that is both alluring and compelling.
She took us down to the edge of Decatur
We saw the lion and the kangaroo take her
Down to the river where they caught a wild alligator
Its sorta like seeing a small town pageant put on by your disturbed aunt.
You just have to see what happens next.**
*Brilliant in childlike simplicity -or- the result of cognitive disassociation?
**In fact, I can't stop listening to or thinkin' 'bout this mother effin' album! HELP!