Archive for the 'State Albums' Category

Albums: Guam

Oct 03 2020 Published by under State Albums

I have been writing state albums, but it has always been my desire to include all American citizens, regardless of their state, commonwealth, or minor outlying territory status. This, the first of my Albums: Guam. (Calling these Albums bereft of American or state status is awkward; calling them “Holdings” albums seems worse. I think no modifier seems the kindest of the possibilities, given the diversity of opinions on the matter of status.)

Stand Ye Guamanians

  1. Fanohge Chamoru 

2. Where America’s Day Begins 

3. The Boat They Took from Magellan 

4. U.S. Citizens 

5. For the Japanese Occupied / Sergeant Shoichi Yokoi Surrenders, 1972

6. Considering the Challenger Deep

7. The Jesuit Fathers on Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe

8. Inafa’maolek (Interdependence)

9. The Guam National Rugby Union Team and their great defeat of Brunei, 74-0

10. The Luminescent Fortune of their Undersea Internet Cables

11. Stand Ye Guamanians (for Belembaotuyan)

12. The Silent Forests of the Brown Tree Snake

13. An Unpleasant Cameo in Pixels

14. .gu

15. Manny Crisostomo, Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer

16. Self-determination, with the theme from Interdependence

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State Albums: Mississippi

Sep 25 2020 Published by under State Albums

Mississippi: The Water and the Blood

  1. Magnolia Flag, Confederate Flag, Stennis Flag
  2. For Emmitt Till and the Countless Others
  3. A Brief Snippet of Graceland in the Style of Muddy Waters
  4. Elvis Presley Forever
  5. The Stubborn Continued Existence of Plantation Houses And Associated Legacies
  6. Auburn 3, Mississippi State 2
  7. Mosquitoes and Baptists
  8. Jim Henson
  9. Our Hero Gets Stuck in the Mud of the Mississippi
  10. The Mississippi, Queen of the Rivers
  11. Atchafalaya Victory
  12. Andrzej Tadeusz Bonawentura Kościuszko & Oprah Winfrey
  13. Hard Days and Hurricane in Pascagoula
  14. All the Fried Okra in the World
  15. With Root Beer
  16. The Water and the Blood

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State Albums: Maine

Jun 19 2020 Published by under State Albums

We Find Solitude in Maine

  1. A Field Recording from the Great North Woods
  2. We Were Here First (Portland, Maine)
  3. The Declaration of Conscience
  4. West Quoddy Head, the Easternmost Place in the United States
  5. Down Away
  6. The Jackson Laboratory, Birthplace of 3,000,000 Mice a Year
  7. Old Razor-shins
  8. Lobster, Blueberries, and Maple Syrup
  9. A Brief Stop at the Sand Museum on the Way to Summer Camp
  10. A Salute to Our Colleagues at the University of Maine-Presque Isle
  11. The Seaside Inn, Est. 1667
  12. Solitude in Service, the Lighthouse Forever
  13. The Independent’s Haven, or, I Voted for Ross Perot! Twice!
  14. The Oakhurst Dairy Learns the Usefulness of the Oxford Comma
  15. An Imagined Conversation between Richard Blanco and Steven King about Edna St. Vincent Millay
  16. Pine

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State Albums: Delaware

Jun 12 2020 Published by under State Albums

Delaware: F1RST  

  1. Mrs. Mollie Brown-Rust and Her 2nd Grade Students Petition on Behalf of the Ladybug 
  2. 1209 North Orange Street, or, More Corporations Than People 
  3. The People that Kevlar Saved 
  4. Du Ponts, Lots of Them 
  5. New Sweden 
  6. Taking in Some Sun at Rehoboth Beach 
  7. Meeting a Lifelong Friend at a University of Delaware Summer Program 
  8. Miyagi Prefecture, Our Sister State 
  9. African Union First Colored Methodist Protestant Church and Connection 
  10. Trebuchets of the World Championship Punkin Chunkin Contest 
  11. Joe Biden 
  12. Dover Downs, where Cars and Horses Coexist Peacefully 
  13. The 2,541st Consecutive Game that William McGowan Umpired 
  14. The 80 Years of the Penn–Calvert Boundary Dispute 
  15. Can You Name All the Counties of Delaware? Yes, I Can! 
  16. Annie Jump Cannon Learns the Sky 

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State Albums: North Dakota

Jun 05 2020 Published by under State Albums

Carry On, North Dakota!

1. Sign Us In, Benjamin Harrison!

2. The Icelandic Festival

3. Talking to Your Grandma about Lawrence Welk

4. Lefse at the Lutheran Potluck

5. The Minot Symphony Orchestra Wills Itself an Audience

6. Robert Byrne Punches Out a Window to Save the State Constitution from a Conflagration, 1930

7. A Salute to Canola Oil

8. The North Dakota State Bison Go for Their 15th National Championship

9. At The Point Where Lewis and Clark Turned West, We Ponder Our Moments of Great Decision

10. A List of Things You Can Do in Wahpeton

11. Teddy Roosevelt, Did You Know Your Park is in North Dakota?

12. The Starvation Winter of 1886-1887

13. How the Fargoans feel about Fargo, Both the City and the Movie

14. The Three Votes Against the Creation of The North Dakota Democratic-Nonpartisan League Party

15. Roughnecks Longing for their Distant Families while in the Bakken

16. Roger Maris’ Tombstone

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State Albums: Montana

May 29 2020 Published by under State Albums

A Contemporary Mythology of Montana

1. Flyfishing the Firehole River

2. The Fort Shaw Indian School Girls Become Basketball Champions of the World, 1904

3. In the Alternative Universe Where the State’s Name is Shoshone

4. The Judith Mountains

5. 15 Smokejumpers over the Mann Gulch Fire

6. Snow

7. A Brief Tropical Respite in Consideration of the Kerguelen Islands, An Antipodean Landmass of Montana

8. More Snow

9. We Found Gold! Let’s Call It Gold Creek!

10. Friends of Your Parents, Who Retired to Whitefish

11. Come Pacifists, Come Conscientious Objectors!

12. Worrying Slightly while Observing the Largest T. Rex Skull Ever Discovered in The Museum of the Rockies

13. Bozeman, Sweet Pea Capital of the Nation

13. Chief Dull Knife College

14. Shelby Is Nearly Bankrupted By the Jack Dempsey vs Tommy Gibbons Heavyweight Title Fight (It Was a Good Idea at the Time!)

15. Norman Maclean, or, Contemporary Mythology of the Recent Past

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State Albums: New Mexico

May 22 2020 Published by under State Albums

The Past Is Always With Us in New Mexico

1. Red or Green?

2. The Magnificent, Otherworldly Earthships of the Greater World Community

3. The Pueblo Revolt of 1680

4. Ojo Caliente, or the Ineffable Constancy of Things We Didn’t Build

5. The Albuquerque Isotopes Temporarily Become the Albuquerque Green Chile Cheeseburgers

6. Little Boy, Fat Man

7. Paula Gunn Allen and the Sacred Hoop

8. Adobe: Living with the Past Every Day

9. Smoki the Wonder Dog

10. An Inelegantly Brief History of the Long Civilizations of the Pre-Historic First Nations

11. Al Hurricane’s Eyepatch (feat. A Partial Cover of Weird Al Yankovic’s Albuquerque)

12. The Monastery of Christ in the Desert Establishes a Website, 1995

13. Questa, Where We Used to Mine Molybdenum

14. Turquoise Crafting

15. Zozobra, Who Lets Us Burn the Past Away

16. Article X of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

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State Albums: Wyoming

May 15 2020 Published by under State Albums

Wyoming: The Equality State

1. Yellowstone
2. Women’s Suffrage!
3. Sugar Beets For Breakfast
4. The Magnificent Carbon Wings of the Proposed Turbines in Carbon County
5. Teenage Bottlerocket is Ready to Explode!
6. The Unexpected Dreariness of Cody, Birthplace of Jackson Pollock
7. For Matthew Shepard
8. Rodeo (After Aaron Copland, Who Probably Never Went to Wyoming)
9. Let Us Now Consider The Majestic Moose, While We Wait For It To Move Off the Road
10. In Which No One Injures Themselves Snowboarding in Jackson Hole
11. In Which Our Protagonist Injures Himself While Cross-Country Skiing in Rick’s Basin
12. #ThatsWY
13. The Solitude of Unnamed Places Along Empty Highways
14. Bighorn Medicine Wheel
15. The Legend of Josh Allen
16. Nellie Tayloe Ross, the First Woman Governor in the United States

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State Albums: Oklahoma

May 08 2020 Published by under State Albums

Not the South, Not the Southwest, Not Texas: Oklahoma!

1. To the Five Tribes: Cherokee! Chickasaw! Choctaw! Muscogee! Seminole!

2. The Heavener Runestone, Which May or May Not Be Real

3. Reaffirming the Immortal Bonds of Friendship in the Balcony of Wilburton First United Methodist Church

4. Flaming Lips Alley

5. How to Enjoy the Inevitable Union vs. Jenks 6A Football State Championship Game

6. The Warren Theatre Withstands the Moore Tornadoes, 2013

7. The Train Bridge Sabotage of the Enid–Pond Creek Railroad War

8. Visiting the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum Before an OSU Football Game

9. The Tulsa Race Riot Refuses to Be Forgotten, or, The Inescapable Reckoning With Terrible Histories that We All Must Be A Part Of

10. Joining the Masses that have Received a Speeding Ticket in Big Cabin

11. 168 Empty Chairs

12. The Sound of a Whole State Learning the Rules of Basketball At Once

13. Bombs Dropping on Boise City, 1943

14. The Blue Whale of Catoosa

15. The Recent Development of Earthquakes, or, As My Mother Said, “Life’s Full of Tough Choices, Isn’t It?”

16. Not the South, Not the Southwest, Not Texas: Oklahoma!

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A Brief Statement of Introduction to the Track Listings for Imagined State Albums Project

May 03 2020 Published by under State Albums

In 2005, Sufjan Stevens released Sufjan Stevens invites you to: Come on Feel the ILLINOISE, which most people just call Illinois. It was the second album of his Fifty States project, following Sufjan Stevens presents… Greetings from Michigan, the Great Lake State (mostly called Michigan). Illinoise was as far as he got in making 50 albums for 50 states before moving on to other things.

The album art of Sufjan Stevens' Illinois album, which features a stylized hand-drawn backdrop of Chicago, a picture of Superman, a picture of an old-school gangster in a pinstripe suit, a goat, and four alien flying saucers.
The Superman image was controversial due to copyright issues.

Illinois is an absolutely incredible album. It is an album that is by turns joyful and careful, celebratory and incisive, large-format and intimate. It has songs about death, songs about life, songs about family, songs about friends, songs about history, songs about the future. Its arrangements are powerful and also playful. It is the ideal form of a certain type of indie-folk. It placed on year-end lists, and even topped an “albums of the decade” list.

It is also unsparingly detailed in its attention to the good and bad of the state of Illinois–not just Chicago. (Although, of course, the single is called “Chicago.”) It looks at Illinois. It pays attention to Illinois. I don’t know how people in Decatur, Illinois feel about “Decatur, or, Round of Applause for Your Step-Mother!”, but I imagine it feels good to have your city’s name prominently featured in of one of the best albums of the ’00s.

When I was 18, listening to this record, I wanted Sufjan to complete the project so that I could have an album about Oklahoma. I wanted someone to look at Oklahoma the way Sufjan really focused in on Illinois. And while the Flaming Lips, the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Sam Anderson’s Boom Town have since brought varying measures of attention to Oklahoma, Sufjan Stevens never did write an album about Oklahoma. He stopped at Illinois.

But what if he had written about Oklahoma? What if he had written about every state? What if he had followed his own hype? What would those track lists have looked like?

I don’t know what Sufjan’s albums would have looked like, but I can imagine my own. I’m picking up the mantle. Over the next year, I’ll be posting track listings for imagined state albums here at Gospelized. Will I get to all 50? I have no idea. I hope so. But as Sufjan found: there’s a lot of states.

A moment for the technical stuff: I’ve used a random number generator to pick the order of the states I’ll be writing about; the number each state was assigned for randomization was its order of admission into the union. I am choosing to stick to the following form: no less than fifteen and no more than nineteen song titles, all words must be either part of the album title or song titles, each line numbered as if it were a track. If you are reading this and want to illustrate any of these state albums in an album art / poster style, I would be absolutely thrilled: email me at

My hope is that these imagined track lists honor the states they describe and the people within that state. May these efforts read as a bit of attention, a serious look at your state, a poem of consideration on the way it was and is and even could be.

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