• Record Label: Sub Pop
  • Release Date: Oct 21, 2003
User Score
9.2

Universal acclaim- based on 179 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 5 out of 179

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  1. Nov 3, 2010
    10
    I know like me a lot of people got into this band after watching Garden State. I did and I am not ashamed of that! I love this band even today where their sound might not have aged well. I remember this album very fondly because the music was perfect for me for the time and what I was going through in life.
  2. JeremyG
    Jan 4, 2004
    10
    Apparently James Mercer caught a glimpse of heaven and then translated it into the sublime harmonies found on 'Saint Simon.' I mean... wow. What great, great music.
  3. johnv
    Mar 8, 2004
    9
    super-pop. The Strokes wish they made music this good. Brian Wilson's name has been brought up here before and with good reason...
  4. DustinC.
    Oct 21, 2003
    8
    Good album, but not as good as Oh, Inverted World. The songs sometimes feel a little strained and not as "easy" sounding as Oh, Inverted World. Still a quality listen, and better than most albums that have come out recently.
  5. JustinB
    Apr 6, 2004
    8
    Very nice indeed, im in love with Kissing The Lipless, the first song i am discovering. Very fresh album i think
  6. OysteinB
    Jun 3, 2004
    10
    A brilliant album. It has occupied my CD-player for the last month. Simply one of top pop albums of 2003 and one that will last.
  7. TimG
    Aug 28, 2004
    10
    Every single song on this album is brilliant! From When You Land Here It's Time, to Oh Inverted World, to Chutes Too Narrow, James Mercer gets better and better. Chutes Too Narrow is my favorite release of 2003 and one of my favorite CDs ever!
  8. MaynoC
    Jan 3, 2005
    9
    Awesome album...lyrical and very poetic. These guys sound great. Hey Eric F., what do you know?! Aren't most songs in that format? Whoever said they were groundbreaking? And lastly, it's not a simple pop album...I think the music and lyrics went over your head.
  9. BrendanZ
    Jan 9, 2005
    9
    Fantastic, inspirational album. I havne't got Oh, Inverted World and have heard great things about it, so I am in the lucky position of being able to listen to it for the first time soon. But yeah this album is just spectacular - GREAT songs, great voice.
  10. spongebobsquarepants
    Jun 28, 2005
    10
    Unbelievable record. Just can`t stop listening to it.
  11. AH
    Jun 7, 2005
    10
    This is one of those albums that i never get tied of listening to. I love the shins and i love every track. They're absolutely awesome. i rate this as good as "oh, inverted world".
  12. TomT
    Jun 8, 2005
    9
    Excellent disc. Harmonies as good as Jellyfish, with the feel of TMBG thrown in. I can't stop listening to it.
  13. AmyH
    Jun 30, 2006
    10
    It was AMAZING.
  14. MattA
    Feb 9, 2007
    9
    Excellent. It never trys too hard to be fantastic. All the songs are well balanced and never annoying. It's hard to find it's flaws, however, you know they're there... but you ignore them due to the quality of the music.
  15. Iggy
    Feb 11, 2008
    10
    One of the best albums I have ever heard. Gives me LSS all the time.
  16. Tom
    Nov 6, 2003
    10
    this might be the album of the year. It's without a doubt in my top 5. These guys flat out know how to write killer songs.
  17. DavidC.
    Oct 21, 2003
    10
    It uses brighter and louder instruments to perfect the already pure sound they achieved in their previous album. It has the amazing capability to strike you on a musical level, but when you phase the lyrics into your consciousness you get caught off guard because of their brilliance. I love everything about them: The vocals, the pop sound, the purity, and the lyrical wit. It's a must have.
  18. GJO.
    Oct 21, 2003
    10
    Even though their first CD will always rate as the best album ever, I still see 'Chutes too Narrow' as a worthy successor. The Shins are absolutely great!
  19. JSe
    Dec 18, 2003
    9
    This is my second-favorite album of the year. Effing brilliant. Fighting in a Sack, So Says I and Turn a Square are the three bounciest, most energetic songs I've heard in ages, and the album overall is miles better than their first, which was itself pretty revelatory. Buy it, no caveats at all.
  20. MikeM.
    Dec 3, 2003
    9
    Impressive. It's great to listen to an album where lyrical prowess and melody are so effortlessly fused.
  21. NormanD
    Oct 23, 2003
    10
    The best American band since the Pixies have created another gem of melody, joy, wistfulness and understated grandeur. Make them the legends they deserve to be.
  22. wackyman
    Jan 7, 2004
    9
    Sounds/feels like Brian Wilson's psychedelic trip into the 21th century. Keep up the good work lads.
  23. jackied
    Mar 10, 2004
    10
    This cd is so good there fun melodies take you to another world and its so magical in the way his voice just floats from the speakers to your mind and lifts up your spirits my favorite cd at the moment.
  24. DuibeDuibe
    Apr 7, 2004
    10
    An amazing album, sure to go down as a classic in the annals of rock/pop hisroy, CTN is an improvement over their awesome debut. Mercer is one of the most talented pop musicians alive today.
  25. ES
    Jul 11, 2004
    10
    Simply fantastic, great melodies, great hooks, great lyrics, great everything. Songs work amazing live as well.
  26. Sarah
    Aug 1, 2004
    10
    just. can't. get. enough.
  27. SharonN
    Aug 12, 2004
    10
    Oooh, this is a good cd. I love it alot.
  28. JayS
    Jan 11, 2005
    10
    Fantastic album. James Mercer is shaping up to be one of the great songwriters of our generation.
  29. AlexandreS
    Jan 7, 2005
    9
    I heard "new slang" in "garden state" and decided to test the album.i virtually fell in love with each track, and i usually dont fall for music...but oh my god is this great!
  30. JohnF
    Jan 7, 2005
    10
    Quite Simply the best album i have heard in years (possibly since "Is this It" by the Strokes). Every song is a masterpiece, mixing elements of pop, coutry, alt rock: every style you can think of. There are so many hooks in each song that by the time you hear one and register it in your mind, another one has come along to blow you away. The shins really have a unique sound, but familiar Quite Simply the best album i have heard in years (possibly since "Is this It" by the Strokes). Every song is a masterpiece, mixing elements of pop, coutry, alt rock: every style you can think of. There are so many hooks in each song that by the time you hear one and register it in your mind, another one has come along to blow you away. The shins really have a unique sound, but familiar at the same time: each song will remind you of a song you have heard a million times before. The only problem with this album is that it is so good, i'm scared i might overdose on it, and then i'll have nothing. The Shins Rule. Expand
  31. valeriep
    Jul 20, 2005
    10
    I cannot stop listening to this disc. I'm gonna start slipping it under my pillow at night, hoping to dream about it.
  32. JohnS
    Sep 2, 2005
    10
    Best album I have - apart from Sgt. Pepper's, but thats a pretty amazing album. Kissing the Lipless? Saint Simon? Turn a Square? ALL LEGENDARY! But this band is the best around (maybe since the beatles!),
  33. salomey
    Sep 3, 2005
    10
    It's not often musical brilliance sounds s "ordinary" as this wonderful wonderful.
  34. BenB
    Apr 15, 2009
    10
    Knowing that I should only dole out occasional 10s, I'm struggling to find a reason to give this album just a 9. There isn't any. This is one of the greatest pop recordings of this decade. Every single song is melodic and beautiful, and Mercer adventurously singing outside his range coupled with an outstanding hook on every song but the last make this an absolutely timeless Knowing that I should only dole out occasional 10s, I'm struggling to find a reason to give this album just a 9. There isn't any. This is one of the greatest pop recordings of this decade. Every single song is melodic and beautiful, and Mercer adventurously singing outside his range coupled with an outstanding hook on every song but the last make this an absolutely timeless album. In my opinion, the best songs are: Kissing the Lipless, Mine's Not a High Horse, Young Pilgrims, Saint Simon, Pink Bullets, Turn a Square, and Gone for Good, but truthfully, what makes this album great is that every song complements the others and is beautiful on its own. Expand
  35. ThomasB.
    Nov 12, 2003
    9
    This is a great album, and worthy of its high praise. Every good album ever made has one commonality: great songs. This one is no exception. They're just quality songs by a band with a lead singer who's got a great voice. Better than the first album, I think.
  36. BrianM
    Nov 15, 2003
    9
    This album is just as good as "On, Inverted World." The songs are tighter and better crafted than the last album. It's just great. Highly recommended.
  37. BenR.
    Nov 15, 2003
    10
    This is a wonderful album. The Shins have amazing sound of 60's rock meets art rock. Think early Beatles meets Pink Floyd or Radiohead, but slightly minimalistic. The album also seems to get better with every listen. I've listened to it 9 straight times now, and I'm still not even slightly tired of it. That has only been accomplished to The White Stripes' Elephant, and This is a wonderful album. The Shins have amazing sound of 60's rock meets art rock. Think early Beatles meets Pink Floyd or Radiohead, but slightly minimalistic. The album also seems to get better with every listen. I've listened to it 9 straight times now, and I'm still not even slightly tired of it. That has only been accomplished to The White Stripes' Elephant, and The Strokes' Is This It, which are two excellent albums also. I would recommend this album to anybody who appreciates good music. Expand
  38. coy
    Dec 13, 2003
    10
    Pop beauty. Breathtaking melodies and gorgeous lyrics with rich imaginery. What else can you ask for?
  39. AaronG
    Oct 22, 2003
    9
    This album is amazing. After waiting so long for it I was not let down. Different from Oh, Inverted World, but just as amazing. It hasn't left my CD player for the past 3 days and hasn't stopped playing, either.
  40. DrewQ
    Jan 14, 2004
    9
    It didn't take much time at all for this one to grow on me. An album very well done indeed.
  41. SealBK
    Oct 16, 2004
    10
    best EVER!!!!! Saw them in Austin, Texas....holy crap....the SHINS RULE!!!
  42. CarloD
    Feb 11, 2004
    10
    A masterpiece! Great tunes, great lyrics, great sound. "No flaws to find".
  43. MichaelK.
    Feb 25, 2004
    9
    This will probably come to stand as one of the classics of a long career- like rem's reckoning it'll be the album that proves the band was just getting started. mark my words.
  44. TheWalrus
    Mar 16, 2004
    10
    Outstanding, after the overhyped garbage of recent retro style over substance bands its good to see something as refreshingly melodic and pleasing to listen to. Far and away the best new album I've bought since The Optimist LP.
  45. ShintoI
    Mar 24, 2004
    10
    WHATT!!! Saint Simon is!!! The most beautiful balladry and harmony I've heard since.. the Beach Boys??? This is the best band in the world, gents... They move your head, move your body, move your soul... make you feel the best you've ever felt.. what a gift!
  46. Desipio
    Mar 24, 2004
    10
    A real page turner, without the pages of course... Mercer really rolls out some great lyrics, unique melodies, hooks, and the like..
  47. krystalw
    Mar 31, 2004
    10
    "so says i" is a great contribuation of the world. "Saint Simon" has an almost entrancing aspect. Altogether it is a great cd and i would recommend it to those who aren't single minded or conformed to the robotic nature of the world
  48. Yardo
    Mar 30, 2004
    10
    I feel like I've discovered my own little continent. These guys weave songs that, on the surface, are too humble to be grandoise -- but listen on, and the revelations and epitomes will begin to sting with honesty, musicianship, and artisic mastery. I've been telling everyone I know about the Shins in the same way I lend someone my favorite book even though I know I won't I feel like I've discovered my own little continent. These guys weave songs that, on the surface, are too humble to be grandoise -- but listen on, and the revelations and epitomes will begin to sting with honesty, musicianship, and artisic mastery. I've been telling everyone I know about the Shins in the same way I lend someone my favorite book even though I know I won't get it back... just because I want so badly to share in the doscovery of such good work. Expand
  49. LawrenceP
    Apr 30, 2004
    10
    Pop music done right. "Saint Simon" is the best song of the year.
  50. KuroR
    Aug 18, 2004
    10
    I loooove this CD. I will never get bored of it, especially "Pink Bullets." O.O Talk about awesome lyrics... Indie pop comes through for me once again.
  51. JaneW
    Dec 6, 2005
    10
    Delicious!
  52. joes
    Mar 11, 2005
    9
    I wanted to give it 8 1/2 but it was not possible. this album is a real feel good album, and in my opinon better than the overrated oh, inverted world. my only qualm with the album is its length.
  53. PO
    Jun 13, 2005
    10
    Kissing the Lipless & Young Pilgrims. Two amazing songs. The rest of the tracks are awesome too. WOW i'm hooked. p,s, go see them live!
  54. JonS
    Jun 18, 2005
    10
    Excellent.
  55. alli
    Jun 30, 2005
    10
    Got both albums on ipod. pretty dang good investment.
  56. BarryS
    Jun 4, 2005
    10
    It takes extreme talent to make intelligent, well placed lyrics as catchy as The Shins do. The last album I bought that was as good as this was Jellyfish's Spilt Milk. In my top ten albums of all time.
  57. peterg
    Jul 14, 2005
    10
    Best ther is, still. Same leauge as Beatles Rubber Soul and Prefab Sprouts Steve McQueen. A modern classic.
  58. makingteainmyunderwear!
    Jul 21, 2005
    10
    THIS ALBUM ROCKS! it is the best I have heard in about five years. it is worth checking out- but be warned it is highly addictive!
  59. RM
    Aug 17, 2005
    10
    One of the best albums i have ever heard the standout tracks are all of them.
  60. NathanF.
    Sep 2, 2005
    10
    Its really good i like it lot its calming.
  61. AnthonyT
    Sep 26, 2005
    10
    An instant classic. Mercer's virtuoso lyricism places him right up there with Stipe and Yorke. Impeccible songwriting and execution. On top of how great Chutes is on disk, the Shins take the songs to a whole new level live. I am keeping my fingers crossed that they get a few dates at Radio City or the Beacon!
  62. JasonW
    Jan 10, 2006
    10
    Brilliant. I thought the overall selection of this album was an improvement over Inverted World. It's one of those albums you can just listen to over and over again...
  63. Tenochtrips
    Feb 16, 2006
    10
    Deserves a 14. Buy this yesterday.
  64. ElliotM
    Apr 28, 2006
    9
    Catchy, melodic and wonderfully surreal.
  65. helloWaVe
    Jul 30, 2006
    7
    Pretty good. The Shins have talent and it shows. After you own this album for a little while you'll know where to skip around to. Some of the songs become skipable after you've gotten their point. Some just take a certain mood to listen to. What makes a band great is the ability to understand you don't have to be sad for their sad song or angry along side their rage. This Pretty good. The Shins have talent and it shows. After you own this album for a little while you'll know where to skip around to. Some of the songs become skipable after you've gotten their point. Some just take a certain mood to listen to. What makes a band great is the ability to understand you don't have to be sad for their sad song or angry along side their rage. This may be a quality thats gained when bands play like no ones watching them. A quality thats natural and endearing and something I felt they had more of on "Oh, Inverted World." Expand
  66. Andy
    Aug 16, 2006
    9
    Near to perfection.
  67. DanW
    Oct 1, 2007
    10
    Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, can come close to James Mercer's knack for melody. The majority of pretenders aren't fit to wipe his arse. This is the best album ever.
  68. RobV.
    Jul 12, 2008
    10
    Being a long time Shins fan, I have found chutes too narrow to be their best by far. The Lyrics and music seem to blend perfectly with it's Positive tone towards life.. This is one of those albums you listen to on repeat again and again.
  69. GriffT
    Aug 30, 2009
    9
    Great album. Not as whimsical as their first, but in the thoughtful direction of their 3rd. Definitely one of the best of the 2000's.
  70. jasend
    Nov 16, 2003
    10
    Album of the year!!! A truly perfect blend of melody and emotion.
  71. AdamX
    Nov 16, 2003
    10
    Outstanding! pop masterpiece!
  72. AdamS.
    Nov 21, 2003
    10
    Chutes too Narrow shows just how great the Shins are and will be in the future.
  73. GregM.
    Nov 2, 2003
    9
    I saw James Mercer solo and was amazed by the versatility and strength of his voice. This album allows serves as a showcase for Mercer's sweet, youthful tenor, and also his uncanny mastery of pop songcraft. It's not better or worse than its predecessor; it's different. And excellent.
  74. BenW
    Nov 7, 2003
    10
    Simply put this is a brilliant CD. Filled with amazing lyrics, strong melody, a tenacious wit and an upbeat mood that is irresistible. This is a classic album that is even tempered, well thought, and utterly a pleasure to listen to. These guys know how to make noise.
  75. JohnA
    Nov 8, 2003
    10
    This record has stopped me in my tracks. This is, without a doubt, the record of the year.
  76. JeffF
    Oct 21, 2003
    9
    Everyone knew that it would be impossible to live up to "Oh Inverted World," but The Shins come damn close. Mercers vocal range is amazing and his seemingly effortless vocal delivery make this another release that will be tough to follow up. Up there with "Hail To The Thief" as one of 2003s best.
  77. Kalebconfusing
    Oct 21, 2003
    9
    Not simply an excellent album, Chutes Too Narrow is also a powerful testament to pop music's capacity for depth, beauty and expressiveness. Did I say that?
  78. AceKabob
    Oct 22, 2003
    9
    Masterful follow-up to Oh, Inverted World. Unlike The Coral, The Shins hint at their 60s influences without simply imitating them.
  79. RomulusS
    Oct 24, 2003
    9
    A little different direction than "Oh, inverted World," but it's moving in a good direction as long as Mercer is dictating the pace. The lyrics avoid cliches and invite one's ear to talk to the brain to figure out Mercer's intentions. A good pick up.
  80. DarkTroll
    Oct 24, 2003
    9
    This new record builds on the melodic promise of the Shins' debut, and with loads of gigs behind them, you can feel a new muscularity in the sound that was not in evidence on their first full length effort. They don't aspire to making "big music"...just a tuneful batch of gems that brim with confidence and a pastoral beauty that is sorely lacking in so much of the processed This new record builds on the melodic promise of the Shins' debut, and with loads of gigs behind them, you can feel a new muscularity in the sound that was not in evidence on their first full length effort. They don't aspire to making "big music"...just a tuneful batch of gems that brim with confidence and a pastoral beauty that is sorely lacking in so much of the processed plastic garbage that makes the top of the charts nowadays. If this record reminds me of anything else, it'd have to be "Village Green Preservation Society" by the Kinks...ten solidly constructed songs that don't necessarily have a theme, but form a cohesive whole that is a joy to hear. Can't wait to see them live! Expand
  81. MarliK
    Nov 21, 2004
    10
    love it! becomes an addictive substance after the first few listens...go out and buy oh inverted world if you havent already! also recomend phantom planet, something corporate, the thrills (think shins with a country flare) the killers, and postal service!
  82. CurranF
    Mar 11, 2004
    9
    The Shins' bizzaro power-pop and even more bizzaro lyrics make for a good, fun listen. Near perfect! (extra points for the super cool packaging)
  83. CalvinK
    Mar 29, 2004
    10
    This album is pure genius. It has a genuine soothing melody that just keeps getting better as the albm goes on
  84. CalvinK
    Mar 29, 2004
    10
    This album is pure genius. It has a genuine soothing melody that just keeps getting better as the albm goes on
  85. ScottJ
    Aug 27, 2004
    10
    I love this group. Highly enjoyable music. A breath of fresh air. I am definitely interested in their next album and tracking down their previous work.
  86. BenD
    Oct 11, 2005
    9
    Louder, faster, and all around better than Oh Inverted World. Insted of retrogressing to the 60s style of pop music like on their debut, they take this form of music and make it sound new and modern. Unlike their peers such as Of Montreal and Apples in Stereo, I couldn't imagine hearing The Shins back in the 60's.
  87. MichaelH
    Dec 30, 2005
    10
    This album is brilliant. Lyrically provactive and moving, all ears should hear these excellent tracks.
  88. KellyP
    Dec 3, 2005
    10
    This is a gem in a stream full of kidney stones.
  89. Matt
    Feb 18, 2005
    10
    Best cd I've heard in a while!
  90. KeithR
    Aug 11, 2005
    9
    This album contains the best song of the past five years, "Saint Simon." Unbelievable harmony at about the three minute mark until the end. The rest of the songs are very good as well.
  91. MikeM
    Aug 23, 2005
    10
    This could possibly be the most beautiful album ive ever heard. Nearly every song is special. There is more variety than their first album and with less effects, the melodies stand out even more. Just all around great.
  92. JoeB.
    Jan 11, 2006
    10
    There is not one song I can stop listening to on this album, and I've had it for months. The lyrics are some of the most inventive I've heard in a while, the melodies are uplifting or mellow or just darn creative depending on the song, and Mercer's voice fits just perfectly. Inverted World had a very hazy sound that fit fine, but the clearer tone of the vocals here makes it There is not one song I can stop listening to on this album, and I've had it for months. The lyrics are some of the most inventive I've heard in a while, the melodies are uplifting or mellow or just darn creative depending on the song, and Mercer's voice fits just perfectly. Inverted World had a very hazy sound that fit fine, but the clearer tone of the vocals here makes it even better, in my opinion. Favorites are "So Says I", "Young Pilgrims", and "Turn A Square." Buy this now. Expand
  93. HamishNerd
    Nov 6, 2006
    10
    This is one of the best Albums ever made in the history of the world.
  94. DavidM
    May 12, 2006
    9
    It just gets better and better with every listen. An album I keep returning to. Timeless song writing and a great sound.
  95. ThomasB.
    Nov 12, 2003
    9
    This is a great album, and worthy of its high praise. Every good album ever made has one commonality: great songs. This one is no exception. They're just quality songs by a band with a lead singer who's got a great voice. Better than the first album, I think.
  96. eugenes
    Dec 13, 2003
    10
    Blissfull riffs and melodic vocals - perfect.
  97. WhitNey
    Dec 29, 2003
    9
    This album excites me because it proves that music can still be simply fantastic.
  98. js
    Dec 31, 2003
    10
    How super. Enjoyable from the very first listen.
  99. Mar 20, 2011
    9
    May not be better than Oh, Inverted World but Chutes Too Narrow is a near perfect album.The melodic hooks is so catchy, that it'll be stuck in your head long before you hear the album. It also gets better with each listen and I know that's a cliche but it's very true. The opener "Kissing The Lipless" is a wonderful opener that really shows James Mercer's vocal talent. He truly is aMay not be better than Oh, Inverted World but Chutes Too Narrow is a near perfect album.The melodic hooks is so catchy, that it'll be stuck in your head long before you hear the album. It also gets better with each listen and I know that's a cliche but it's very true. The opener "Kissing The Lipless" is a wonderful opener that really shows James Mercer's vocal talent. He truly is a wonderful singer. The musicianship is great and the lyrics will get to you. All In All, Chutes Too Narrow is an adventure through weird places that I recommend you definitely take a ride on this expedition. A- Expand
  100. j30
    Jan 24, 2012
    9
    This is my favorite record by a band named The Shins. There's no sophomore slump to be seen here, in fact I think it's better than it's predecessor.
Metascore
88

Universal acclaim - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. 90
    You don't expect progression from such evident classicists, but there's a new clarity, poise and refinement. [Apr 2004, p.107]
  2. On Chutes, Mercer’s voice is singing right next to you, and the change works wonders.