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Sufjan Stevens - Illinois, 2005, Asthmatic Kitty
Rating - ** out of four
Lyric Grab:
"We sold our clothes to the state
I don't mind
I don't mind."

For the past couple years, Sufjan Stevens and his cadre of fans (soon to expand to a cartel at least, I'll venture a guess) have embodied an insufferable blend of hippieness and snootiness that just bothers the hell out of me. So why did I come around on this song?

Why is Pinback popular in spite of themselves, why is "Fortress" on the OC soundtrack? It's damn good, that's why. I coulda told you before whatsisproducer put them on his immaculately scripted, po-9021mo iPod that Fortress would be a perfect fit. "Chicago" with it's swell of strings, quiet/loud parts, and adorable choral singing, would serve as a perfect background for the farewell scene - a favorite character embarks on a teenage road trip. So many subplots! If it's trite, just write that into the script! Inside joke for the smart kids!

Unfortunately for OC producers, the song's not quite straightforward enough, lyrically, to play as the credits roll. It's got a bit of call and response, a dose of chant, and an undercurrent of Taoism - "all things go" - that taken together might sound a little cult-ish for some tastes. It's also notable that he's outColdplayed the shit out of Coldplay in advance of their new album. This has all the melodramatic singalong goodness I need this summer, plus enough universality to make me cross my legs and say "ohm." I say, put it on in the car, loud, and the traffic won't even matter anymore.

Also, all that bitterness I'm bottling up is probably just distilled jealousy, because this jerk is good.

Download it.
I thieved this link from Pitchfork, so don't be surprised if it stops working, or I get sued.

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