A River Ain't Too Much To Love Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 15 Ratings

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  • Summary: Bill Callahan's 12th Smog album finds him joined in the studio by such musicians as Jim White (Dirty Three) and Joanna Newsom.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. The subtle backing musicians never overshadow Callahan’s reedy baritone and direct lyrics; they merely add subtle shading and light in the appropriate spots--a restraint reminiscent of Bob Dylan’s use of studio musicians on laid-back classics like John Wesley Harding and Nashville Skyline.
  2. Burrows deep into the collective unconscious of American song.
  3. Callahan is a true original. [#255, p.65]
  4. His sinister Americana is understatedly cruel and sublimely dolorous, with a kinder view of nature than humanity. [#16, p.135]
  5. A honky tonk Leonard Cohen, the music of Smog sounds like it's spent all its life half cut in a saloon bar way out in the American mid-west thinking far too deeply about love and life for far too long.
  6. The cryptic, empty songs of Rain on Lens and wandering, upbeat folk-tunes of Supper have been usurped by a renewed focus and direction.
  7. 40
    Too much of A River, though, doesn't give you enough music to love it. [#68, p.110]

See all 29 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 9
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 9
  3. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. SecretJunior
    Jun 6, 2005
    Don't believe critics such as the ever out of touch Rolling Stone. In forty years they'll be sucking Bill's cock as a true musical troubadour, who hasn't been seen since the likes of Dylan and Neil Young, only Callahan makes them both seem hackneyed, and I ADORE the two aforementioned. Bill makes my balls shrivel and my eyes leak like neither of the two luminaries I've just mentioned. Expand
  2. stephenm
    Dec 9, 2005
    A must have album, second only to the mighty "Illinoise" by Sufjan Stevens in my best of 2005
  3. tintmantintman
    Jun 8, 2005
    i put it on at midnight i heard it about 7 times till dawn it is the best effort of smog to date probably a record i will grow older and wiser with
  4. LeonardoF
    Jun 30, 2005
    an album that gets better and better with each listen. the subtle (andmar marvelous) instrumentation helps us focus on his wonderful voice and lyrics. Expand
  5. plexus
    Oct 19, 2005
    Classic, you gotta hear this record.
  6. TimJ
    Aug 1, 2005
    This is a great album that gets much better with repeat listens. The Rolling Stone review was the dumbest thing I've ever read. Do they even know who Raymond Carver is? Come on, seriously. Expand
  7. LawrenceP
    Mar 15, 2006
    "This one's called the well..."

See all 9 User Reviews