Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

8. Sufjan StevensSufjan Stevens Invites You To: Come On Feel The Illinoise

Definitely not macho, but similarly satisfying and exciting. Illinoise is another modern classic that I find really inspirational. For all that material, such dense, well-realised material too, to come out of one man’s head is shocking, it’s like standing under a waterfall. He was going to make an album for each American state but he abandoned the project after two states, which is probably best – I like what came after. I just think he has a stupid amount of talent, and he’s so prolific, he just pumps out material. We have his Christmas albums in the car every year, and the kids love it. ‘I’m The Christmas Unicorn’ is my favourite Christmas song of all time. All of Sufjan’s albums are amazing, and I came close to putting Age Of Adz ahead of this, but I always find myself coming back to Illinoise. This isn’t a little four-piece figuring it out. It’s a huge production, quite orchestral in places. In particular makes me think of winter, a sprightly, frosty sort of album. It’s incredibly long, and to be able to sustain that quality… It’s just a perfect piece of art, and it shows that it’s never a bad thing to do your research, really affecting songs can spring from very odd, apparently totally impersonal topics.

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