Saturday, September 21, 2013

Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois/Sufjan Stevens: Illinois Track One

Part of A Series: Route 66: Sufjan Stevens: Illinois
To View the whole series as one LONG post CLICK HERE

Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois/Sufjan Stevens: Illinois Track One:
The Black Hawk War, or, How to Demolish an Entire Civilization and Still Feel Good About Yourself in the Morning, or, We Apologize for the Inconvenience but You're Going to Have to Leave Now, or, 'I Have Fought the Big Knives and Will Continue to Fight Them Until They Are Off Our Lands!/Sufjan Stevens: Illinois Track TwoCome On! Feel the Illinoise! (Part I: The World's Columbian Exposition – Part II: Carl Sandburg Visits Me in a Dream)/Sufjan Stevens: Illinois Track ThreeJohn Wayne Gacy, Jr./Sufjan Stevens: Illinois Track FourJacksonville/Sufjan Stevens: Illinois Track FiveA Short Reprise for Mary Todd, Who Went Insane But for Very Good Reasons/Sufjan Stevens: Illinois Track Six
Casimir Pulaski Day/Sufjan Stevens: Illinois Track TenRock River Valley, Superman, Peoria and Drones/Sufjan Stevens: Illinois Tracks Eleven to FourteenWasps and Zombies/Sufjan Stevens: Illinois Tracks Fifteen to EighteenCelebrate The Few, Celebrate The New. It Can Only Start With You/Sufjan Stevens Illinois Tracks Nineteen to Twenty Two 
    Sufjan Stevens and Illinois

    Sufjan Stevens is an Indie artist with some serious musical chops. He has a style that is sort of a blend of indie folk and minimalist chamber music. He also is well known for being a deeply spiritual person with a very mystical interpretation of Christianity. I still haven't listened to this album enough to call myself a fan per se, but I appreciate the craftsmanship in his music and fully expect his work to grow on me and age like fine a whiskey, or a bible verse. In fact, in the course of researching his work for this blog it HAS grown on me. His album, Illinois was introduced in 2005 as the second of a promised series with one album for each state (the first state was Michigan). Reportedly, tracks involving Oregon and Rhode Island have been written, but there have been no further releases in the series. The album made many critics list for top album of the year and then later the decade.
    From Wikipedia:
    Best of the year (2005) lists
    Publisher Accolade Rank Best of 2005: Top 100 Editors' Picks #1 Best of 2005: Editors' Picks in Alternative Rock #2
    NPR's All Songs Considered The Best Music of 2005 #1
    NME 50 best albums of 2005 #7
    No Ripcord Top 50 Albums of 2005 #1
    Pitchfork Media Top 50 Albums of 2005 #1
    PopMatters Best 50 Albums of 2005 #2
    Spin The 40 Best Albums of 2005 #8
    Stylus Magazine Top 50 Albums of 2005 #10

    Best of the decade (2000–2009) lists
    Publisher Accolade Rank
    NPR's All Songs Considered The Decade's 50 Most Important Recordings Unranked, out of 50 recordings
    NME The Top 100 Greatest Albums of the Decade #17
    No Ripcord The No Ripcord Years (1999–2009) Unranked, one of six reviewed for 2005
    Paste The 50 Best Albums of the Decade #1
    Pitchfork Media The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s #16
    Rolling Stone 100 Best Albums of the '00s #78
    Slant Best of the Aughts: Albums #9

    Due to the complexity of his subject matter this album will likely be a track by track affair, but have faith loyal travelers that when we complete this album we will pick up a little speed as we explore other musical roads in Chicago and Illinois and on down Route 66.

    Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois
    When the revenant came down
    We couldn't imagine what it was
    In the spirit of three stars
    The alien thing that took its form
    Then to Lebanon, oh, God!
    The flashing at night, the sirens grow and grow
    (Oh history involved itself)
    Mysterious shade that took its form (or what it was!)
    Incarnation, three stars
    Delivering signs and dusting from their eyes

    A quiet and dreamy melodic piece that starts with some rhythmic piano player before ethereal vocals kick in with flute accompaniment. As the title would have you believe, it is concerning a UFO sighting. Apparently the song has a basis is true events as it relates a UFO sighting made several police officers on January 5, 2000. The song describes the sighting in a literal yet impressionistic style while symbolically tying the event to a religious experience, There seems to be some debate as to the interpretation, as I found at Song Meanings when I was researching the songs lyrics. From the forum on the site:
    I just got done watching a program about the first civilizations of earth, and how it is believed by some that alien beings came to earth and gave us a gentle push in the direction we are in now; Teaching us how to build, sow seeds, etc. Maybe this is a reference to that theory as well, that our first perception of God/s were an alien race. It was interesting to see how the mayans built pyramids of varying sizes on one sight, that from the air resembled our solar system, including one small structure that could've represented Pluto, allthough Pluto was discovered only 3 decades ago(and sadly is now not a planet).
    I see the biblical references, and I can tell Sufjan is most definitely a spiritual man, but I just thought I would throw this out there, since oddly enough I just got done watching the show.-enjoybradon February 24, 2008
    The whole comment thread over on the Song Meanings site is interesting and a good read with quite a few perspectives on the subjects of Christianity and UFO's.

    If all this has you intrigued, here is a amateur video a fan created for the song:

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