(a)spera - Mirah
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Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 10 Critics What's this?

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8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 9 Ratings

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  • Summary: The fourth album for the Portland, Oregon-based artist features Tara Jane O’Neill, Lori Goldston, and The Decemberists' Chris Funk as guest musicians.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. It’s a Giving Tree scenario, spun out with strings and a subdued power-ballad build, and it sets the stage for the worldly decay catalogued throughout (a)spera with the help of several gifted collaborators.
  2. One could easily imagine Mirah being just another songwriter, singing turgid ballads about loneliness over an acoustic guitar (and indeed there is the occasional disturbing flash of this in her work), but through the intelligent production of Elvrum, and indeed, some of the other producers on (a)spera, she is able to set her thoughts upon soaring mountains of musical genius.
  3. Throughout, Mirah picks her soft, knowing way through songs that soothe even as they challenge. Her melodies curl gently up into question marks, as she asks you to make sense of life and love and loss.
  4. In what’s been a tremendous year for female singers thus far (see releases from Marissa Nadler, Bat For Lashes, Emmy The Great and fellow Portland-er Laura Gibson), this is yet another to add to the pile.
  5. (a)spera is a pan-global treasure trove of creaking emotions and untried moments of emotional clarity. [Winter 2009, p.73]
  6. (a)spera is the sound of a musician accomplishing the challenges she has set herself, both musically and communicatively.
  7. 70
    On her fourth album, Portland, Oregon singer/songwriter Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn expands her sound palette, somehow adapting a Carnival parade for the otherwise restrained "Country of the Future."

See all 10 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. JeremyF
    Mar 15, 2009
    10
    Her fourth album starts out with one of the best songs she's ever written, "Generosity," with its subtly complex melody curling up Her fourth album starts out with one of the best songs she's ever written, "Generosity," with its subtly complex melody curling up inside your ears. "The World is Falling" has a distant and eerie humming that radiates softly below is cool exterior. It's a wonderful effect. Simpler songs like "Gone are the Days" and "While We Have the Sun" are gentle numbers that, while don't match up in scope to others (ie: the immense "Forest"), they are emotionally just as great. "Shells" has excellent instrumentation that is perhaps even more captivating than the vocals of the track, though the melody she sings is enchanting and gracefully stunning. All this is grand, but the real highlight of the album is third track, "Education." Mirah sings about the "education" she obtained from being with someone that she finally realized she wasn't happy being with. The lyrics are brief but ultimately relatable and touching, and her prsitine voice is staggering. (a)spera is a wonder of an album, and probably Mirah's best since Advisory Committee. Expand