Metascore
66

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 28
  2. Negative: 3 out of 28
  1. Riskier but not totally out of character; it's the more holistic right brain to Wide Awake's rational left brain. [Feb 2005, p.81]
  2. A painfully honest, emotionally draining album. [22 Jan 2005, p.49]
  3. A bold, essential chapter in this young man's inspired body of work.
  4. 88
    There are a few failed experiments... but these failures are punctuated by astounding moments. [#14, p.95]
  5. Digital Ash offers enough swelling, androgynous moments to approach its hype, or at least keep up with its release partner.
  6. 80
    The songs are neither dogmatic nor whacked out. Like fine pop writers before him, Oberst's simply wrestling with something troubling he feels thick in the air. [Feb 2005, p.72]
  7. Mark[s] a remarkable progression from Oberst's teen troubadour origins.
  8. Not as consistent as its de facto partner, Digital Ash still contains several euphoric highs.
  9. 80
    Bright Eyes' foray into the digital domain is among the more interesting experiments of this young year. [Mar 2005, p.109]
  10. Digital Ash has the claustrophobic feel of a singer locked up with a computer, and it's distractingly chipper, like Rilo Kiley in their own Dntel homages; not every Bright Eyes record has to be an emotional epic, but Digital Ash feels like a practice run.
  11. This is not a classic – each high is paired with a low of similar scale, so whilst ‘Down In A Rabbit Hole’ scales heights previously thought unreachable, ‘Ship In A Bottle’, with baby samples screeching over the top of the most base-level beats, is plain annoying.
  12. The found sounds on Digital Ash can seem an affected and unnecessary embellishment in certain places.... But in other places they work.
  13. Despite all the bleeps and blurbs of this album’s electronic window dressing, it’s still Oberst’s emo-tive honesty and lyrical daring that makes up for the album’s forgettable moments.
  14. Oberst's tunes are too lumpy to accommodate the smoothness demanded of synth-pop, and the cumulative effect is often dreary. [4 Feb 2005, p.130]
  15. Over-produced and (regrettably) heavily dependent on synth-powered '80s grooves.
  16. Up against the carefully realized Wide Awake, Digital Ash is a mess, and not just sonically.
  17. There's an 80s Anglophilic feel throughout, and like the era they're paying homage to it's all very hit and miss.
  18. The good songs don't start kicking in until about halfway through, after many synth glitches and botched break beats. But once it gets going, it's phenomenal.
  19. Digital Ash in a Digital Urn is a weepy response to the Postal Service.
  20. It tips its hand too early, frontloading its best songs and rendering the second half excessive and ponderous.
  21. 60
    Mostly, these electro trances... sound like an ill-advised quest to make a Williamsburg version of Dark Side Of The Moon. [Mar 2005, p.132]
  22. 58
    Most of Digital's songs seem somewhat suffocated. [Feb 2005, p.85]
  23. Experimental and confusing... Oberst's voice struggles to hit home through the effects. [Jan 2005, p.129]
  24. A stark collection of early 1980's keyboard melodies and anxious guitar solos, Oberst's dark dreams are numb with death and paranoia.
  25. Ultimately, it's hard not to feel that this album is little more than a blatant attempt to ape the Postal Service's Give Up.
  26. Digital garnishment works for Wilco, but not so much for the beat-impaired Oberst.
  27. 20
    Ghastly. [Feb 2005, p.102]
User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 77 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 47 out of 56
  2. Negative: 6 out of 56
  1. Mar 11, 2015
    9
    Great progression in his work, like graduating college after finishing telling your story from the soil, analyzing your roots, and nowGreat progression in his work, like graduating college after finishing telling your story from the soil, analyzing your roots, and now becoming comfortable in who you are, even it's ashes in an urn. You understand what happened now and understand why you are the way you are (for now) and do the things you do. You might apologize for staring in the vacuum from the back porch of your mind, while ignoring friends who left open invitations, and all the white lines, touching girls from class, where you learned our history has been pointing guns at everything that moves. Now you are hurrying to your death, but when it's easy,lucky,and free before ending up with a condo on the coast trying to get that same feeling, however. You might end up in New England or the Paris of the South, or end up in a Cassadaga of sorts, but you never thought of running, your feet just led the way. This is where you were when you had incomplete's and hooded sweatshirt walks. Full Review »
  2. May 22, 2014
    9
    The fact that Cassadega is the 2nd highest rated B.E. album tells you something about the poor musical sensibilities of most reviewers.The fact that Cassadega is the 2nd highest rated B.E. album tells you something about the poor musical sensibilities of most reviewers. Admittedly, though, I can understand the widely varying ratings and debate over the "quality" of this record. Most Bright Eyes/Oberst fanatics will dismiss it because it's not "Wide Awake" enough, folky enough, or pained enough - the fact of the matter is, though, that objective observers who give the album a chance will fall in love. Despite the electronica overshadowing Bright Eyes' typically overt emotional pleas, I feel that it is actually Bright Eye's most sincere album, mainly because Oberst seemed to ignore the expectations and create a sonically beautiful album first, and worry about how people would interpret his message second. He just seemed to be caught in a "I don't give a **** I'm going to make this album" moment, and the result is his most unique offering. And just like any other album (but especially for this album) you must listen with headphones for the first time to fully appreciate the spectrum of sound. I pity those that can't see the greatness in this album. Full Review »
  3. Sep 6, 2013
    9
    Wow, just wow. This is absolutely beautiful! Possibly my favorite album by bright eyes, I just can't believe it's taken me so long to stumbleWow, just wow. This is absolutely beautiful! Possibly my favorite album by bright eyes, I just can't believe it's taken me so long to stumble across it! Full Review »