Back in the early ’00s, Stevens vowed to write an album about every one of the 50 U.S. states, capturing the best and worst qualities of each. He started with Michigan then moved on to neighboring Illinois. But that’s where it ended. He has since dismissed the idea as absurd.
My issue with Stevens is that he tries too damn hard. The album of his I own is 2005’s orgasmically-received Come On Feel the Illinoise!, which was the second entry in his “Fifty State Project,” a plan to write and record an album about each U.S. state. He started with 2003’s Michigan and abandoned the project after Illinois.
Now, I actually think that’s a pretty cool idea, whether he ever actually intended it or not. And I’m not knocking him for his ambition.