Challengers - The New Pornographers
Challengers Image
Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 69 Ratings

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  • Summary: The Canadian indie rock band's mellow fourth album.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. If previous New Pornographers albums are the musical equivalent of Jolt Cola, Challengers is the caffeine-free diet version: less sugary, more mature, initially not as invigorating, but ultimately just as addictive.
  2. Challengers, their fourth album, sees the band and its three main songwriters at the top of their game. [Sep 2007, p.99]
  3. Their fourth album is a staggering masterclass in indie-pop songwriting that will make your brain melt and send firecrackers around your heart.
  4. The New Pornographers are straying away from the niche they’ve carved out for themselves, and they’re doing it with skill and calm. And perhaps that should be celebrated, because Challengers is everything this sort of smooth transition ought to be.
  5. Challengers loses some of the old bluster, but it feels life-sized in the best possible sense. [Summer 2007, p.76]
  6. Challengers certainly gets tastier after you’ve chewed on it for a bit.
  7. A.C. Newman is a brilliant singer-songwriter, and his work here shows no diminishment. Challengers' glass jaw, then, is its sluggish instrumentation, its boots filled with lead while the lyrics and vocals--especially Ms. Neko Case's--strain to pick up the pace.

See all 32 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 33
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 33
  3. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. EricS
    Oct 11, 2007
    10
    My favorite album of the past few years. As mentioned before, it takes a few listens, but the rewards are substantial. This is a great group My favorite album of the past few years. As mentioned before, it takes a few listens, but the rewards are substantial. This is a great group and this is my favorite effort of theirs. Expand
  2. VitoC
    Aug 23, 2007
    10
    This album will grow on you.
  3. andyh
    Aug 21, 2007
    9
    the songs challengers and fail-safe are simply amazing!
  4. JK
    Aug 31, 2007
    9
    This is their best record by far, you just have to let it sink in. "Failsafe" may not sound like a typical New Pornographers song, but This is their best record by far, you just have to let it sink in. "Failsafe" may not sound like a typical New Pornographers song, but it's got another amazing melody and Kathryn's first vocal is amazing. "Go Places" and "Challengers" are more subdued Neko tracks, but why can't the NPs take it slow? And, plus "All the Things That Go to Make Heaven and Earth" and "All the Old Showstoppers" have some of that pep from the old albums everyone wants to hear. Expand
  5. RLB
    Oct 17, 2007
    9
    The best Pornographers yet. Neko adds immeasurably, as always. Great, great songwriting. Very original, edgy, and flat out rocking!
  6. JMax
    Oct 4, 2007
    8
    This is a great album, but it will take you a while to really "get it". Best tracks are "All the Old Showstoppers", "Unguided", This is a great album, but it will take you a while to really "get it". Best tracks are "All the Old Showstoppers", "Unguided", "Challengers", and "Adventures in Solitude"...this a more mature album full of songs about regret and sadness. It's probably not as good as "Twin Cinema" ("Sing Me Spanish Techno" was the best song of last year, with "These Are the Fables" not far behind") but it's a much different kind of album. I think that this will be one of those albums that people will go back and listen to in 15 years and realize its brilliance. If you need instant gratification, this is not for you, but it's an incredibly deep album that needs to be listened to for a while to truly appreciate it. "All the Old Showstoppers" will be in your head for months, and expect to hear "My Rights vs. Yours" a LOT, especially in a politcally-charged climate. Expand
  7. WarrenW.
    Oct 25, 2007
    6
    Where Mass Romantic and Twin Cinema succeed, Challengers fails. The aforementioned certainly are poppier, and that isn't the problem Where Mass Romantic and Twin Cinema succeed, Challengers fails. The aforementioned certainly are poppier, and that isn't the problem with this album, it's that they don't really have anything new to say, the choruses are repetitive to the point of boredom and while it is slower and darker, it's just old hat at this point. Not bad, just not up to the standards they've already set for themselves. Expand

See all 33 User Reviews