Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. Feb 1, 2012
    All the things that give an album its personality--the sound of a band finding its feet, the little tempo fluctuations, the requisite "are we rolling, Bob?" fits and starts--are here in spades.
  2. He nails three [songs] flat-out....The rest tend more, how to say it, evocative.
  3. Jan 24, 2012
    As a solo artist, Finn has created a new world of characters and songs that's rich enough on its own, and worth someday revisiting.
  4. Feb 6, 2012
    This is an album that feels as much like a series of compelling stories as it does a collection of fine songs. [21 Jan 2012, p.53]
  5. Jan 24, 2012
    Anyone expecting the bar rock bravado of the Hold Steady is probably going to be disappointed by Clear Heart Full Eyes' subdued vibe, but anyone looking for more of Craig Finn's sprawling tales will feel right at home.
  6. Jan 23, 2012
    Instead of howling about misspent youth against huge, churning guitar riffs, he ruminates on the wages of adulthood, musically enveloped in a cosmic, plaintive version of Americana.
  7. Jan 9, 2012
    Clear Heart Full Eyes is a low-key triumph, containing some of the most emotionally satisfying work Finn has yet produced. [Feb 2012, p.82]
  8. Jan 9, 2012
    Clear Heart Full Eyes [is] a work of understated beauty.
  9. Jan 9, 2012
    This record is the result of Finn turning his hand to songwriting for the very first time and, yes, he's nailed it.
  10. Feb 8, 2012
    With Clear Heart Full Eyes he's established himself, tentatively, as a man apart from his band.
  11. 75
    These windy beach narratives tend to lie back in the hammock when they should be shooting the curl. [27 Jan 2012, p.71]
  12. Feb 10, 2012
    The arrangements are simple, often pretty ... but mostly they serve to support the delivery of some of Finn's most evocative and well observed lyrics.
  13. With much of the flash stripped aways from him, Craig Finn proves that he is a formidable songwriter first and foremost, and here we find him sitting on a stool and playing songs at his most comfortable.
  14. Jan 24, 2012
    The Hold Steady this ain't, but as far as new directions go, Craig Finn could have done much worse.
  15. Jan 24, 2012
    Finn's compelling without the usual bluster that provides him momentum--his voice never approaches its old roar but his nice melodic sense comes out here more.
  16. Jan 24, 2012
    Cut with a country-rock pickup band, his first solo album is full of bleakly funny noir tales.
  17. Jan 19, 2012
    Clear Heart Full Eyes is entirely at ease with itself, rarely forcing the issue beyond the gently affecting, but affecting is definitely the right word.
  18. Jan 19, 2012
    Finn's best songs are the ones when he's fully in the present, in tune with every emotion and every detail his protagonists might experience during a particular moment.
  19. Jan 25, 2012
    With his first solo release, Finn hasn't gone too far away from his core aesthetic, but the move is enough to justify his own album.
  20. Feb 14, 2012
    The mood ... is decidedly bleak- populated by disillusioned lovers and working class escapists, the lyrics splitting at the seams with dark religious imagery.
  21. Jan 20, 2012
    The Hold Steady is all about bombast and getting bombed. Clear Heart Full Eyes is about the morning after, and everything's a blur.
  22. Feb 21, 2012
    Swapping The Hold Steady's white-knuckled intensity for skeletal drums and echoing guitar gives Finn's voice more room to manoeuvre. A welcome change of pace. [Mar 2012, p. 100]
  23. Jan 31, 2012
    It's good to hear him outfront, vivid, quirky, and unconfined. [Feb 2012, p.95]
  24. 60
    Finn certainly takes a paddle – if not quite a dive – into fresh sonic waters.
  25. Jan 24, 2012
    Clear Heart is just good enough to keep us listening.
  26. Jan 23, 2012
    Despite its flaws this first solo offering is a human record; brave and honest, both in content and purpose.
  27. Jan 23, 2012
    Finn's gift survives even the more uneven experiments.
  28. Jan 23, 2012
    There are some growing pains on Clear Heart Full Eyes, but mostly this is a compelling and rewarding turn for Finn.
  29. 60
    Finn has a nice line in sardonic, declamatory assessments – "Certain things get hard to do when you're living in a rented room"; "I'm alive, except for the inside" – but there's little comparable imagination to the arrangements, which lean towards ironic country-rock and dispirited blues-rock.
  30. Jan 19, 2012
    Finn puts aside his usual shouty tales of druggy teenaged vagabonds to subtly engage with the quieter topics of God and love. [#39, p.68]
  31. Jan 30, 2012
    The earnest but tepid Clear Heart Full Eyes, which as a solo album makes an excellent argument for sticking with your apostles.
  32. 50
    On Clear Heart Full Eyes, Finn brings the stories (he always brings the stories), but as a whole, the album sounds atypically half-hearted.
  33. Mar 1, 2012
    The unfamiliarity between Finn and his backing group is palpable.
  34. 40
    What's left are halfhearted Hold steady wannabes and dull stabs at poignancy.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 5 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
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  2. j30
    Mar 20, 2012
    Clear Heart Full Eyes by Craig Finn is far from a miss, but it's not exactly an album you can fully invest in. Maybe the music feels a little too laid back for my liking. However you kind of get the feeling CHFE is a precursor to great Hold Steady album in the making (in which they're in the studio as we speak). Full Review »
  3. Mar 5, 2012
    According to liner notes in Petty's Playback box set, he and Jeff Lynne were playing some elaborate stuff on the keyboard that all started with 3 simple chords. Lynne suggested that Tom stop all the hard stuff and just sing some words to those three chords, and he came up with "She's a good girl... loves her mama..." just to make Jeff smile, and they kept going from there.
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