Free download: The (unofficial) third installment in Sufjan Stevens’ 50 States Project – The Hows and Whys of Hawaii

You may or may not know this, but the founders of this very website, Beats Per Minute (formerly One Thirty BPM) all became acquaintances as eager young music fans on the Radiohead fansite message board At Ease Web music forum. From time to time we still go on there to see what’s happening, and one of the more interesting recent threads was a suggestion from one of the message board’s long time occupants, Ash, to try to get the board members to complete Sufjan Stevens’ 50 States Project, which, as I’m sure you know, he abandoned having only completed albums dedicated to Illinois and Michigan.

It’s been almost two months since this was first suggested, and there have been plenty of posts on the idea, but it hasn’t really produced any actual music, until now.

The reason that we’re writing about this today is that the first person to have completed their unofficial installment is our own long-time contributor Ray Finlayson. Under his musical moniker Johnny Setlist, Ray has written and recorded an eight track ode to the 50th state: Hawaii. The collection is called The Hows and Whys of Hawaii and can be streamed below or downloaded from his bandcamp page.

Now, Ray is a Scotsman, and I’m not sure if he’s ever been to Hawaii, so he might have gotten all his ideas for this album from films like The Descendants and television shows like Hawaii 5-O, I’m not really sure. I am sure there’s ukulele on it though.

If you have some time to spare I’d say it’s worth checking out this project, purely on merit alone. And if you like it (or even if you hate it) feel free to share it with your friends and family. And if you have anything to say, please leave a comment below, I’m sure Ray would appreciate it.

Download the album here.