Election Special - Ry Cooder

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. 80
    [On Election Special] the first world is in dire straits and it's all the fault of Republicans – architects of Guantánamo and unfeeling people who tie their dogs to the roofs of their cars then drive off (Mutt Romney's Blues).
  2. Aug 27, 2012
    The album is full of great music, the sort of bluesy, R&B material master guitarist Cooder does so very well.
  3. Aug 22, 2012
    In a recording career that stretches back more than four decades, Ry Cooder has never before made an album as immediate as Election Special.
  4. Aug 22, 2012
    Cooder is mad as hell, but because he's a virtuoso with a wry sense of humor that balances indignation and despair, the songs stand as songs, not just soapbox speechifying.
  5. Aug 21, 2012
    A political broadside aimed at the hostile takeover of America by Wall Street traders and greedy corporate raiders, it's guaranteed to please anyone inclined to give it a sympathetic listen.
  6. I give him extra credit for both preaching to the converted and doing his damnedest to rally the holier-than-thou.
  7. Aug 21, 2012
    Election Special is protest music delivered with a patriot's gifts – the American-roots beauty and expert fire in Ry Cooder's playing – and long memory.
  8. Aug 20, 2012
    It is the most organic record he's issued in almost two decades; and, more importantly, it restores topical protest music to a bona fide place in American cultural life.
  9. You might even argue that this and its predecessors, My Name Is Buddy (2007) and Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down (2011), represent the most cogent work of his long career.
  10. Aug 20, 2012
    While his message is clear, the means of conveying it comes up wanting. [Sep 2012, p.98]
  11. 80
    The tone here is more robust than [Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down's] thoughtful reflections on history and poverty, taking its cue rather from the ribald pillorying of conservatives in tracks like "No Banker Left Behind" and "I Want My Crown".
  12. Aug 17, 2012
    It's a scream, as we would expect from a musical humorist ranking only behind Randy Newman on the LOL-meter. And rivaled only by Tom Waits as a gloves-off DIY soundscapist in wood, steel, and string. [Sep 2012, p.87]
  13. Aug 16, 2012
    An entertaining, thoughtful and bravely original set.
  14. Aug 16, 2012
    The album's long-term problem is will it have any meaning or relevance once the election is done and dusted? Well no, probably not in thematic terms; but the scathing humour of Going to Tampa is timeless and the thunderous Guantanamo, the sort of song Springsteen must wish he'd written, will remain a classic whoever's in the Oval Office.
  15. Aug 16, 2012
    [Election Special] is a Texas-sized strikeout.
  16. Aug 14, 2012
    Though Cooder's clearly singing and playing from his bleeding heart on Election Special, the results make one wish that he'd pass both his mic and his guitar back to his brain.
  17. Aug 14, 2012
    Cooder, like a Keith Richards/Woody Guthrie hybrid, observes [the current political scene] all as a damn shame, with little condescension and oodles of wit.
User Score

No user score yet- Awaiting 1 more rating

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Oct 18, 2012
    Just as Bruce Springsteen's Wrecking Ball is a tribute to the 99%. the same can be said for Ry Cooder's Election Special with songs such as Mutt Romney Blues, The Wall Street Part of Town, Going to Tampa, Kool-Aid, and The 90 and the 9. Full Review »
  2. Sep 7, 2012
    Ry Cooder goes on the offensive against the Republican Party in a protest album that provides a powerful combination of vehement anti-right lyrics to his typically excellent blues musicianship. Like Neil Young with 'Living with War' it appears that the best protest albums are being made by rock's older generation. More immediate than its esteemed predecessor I would heartily recommend this album to anyone with a love of bluesy R&B and a sneaking suspicion that the USA are once again on the verge of voting in another knucklehead like GWB!

    Being a long-term fan of Ry Cooder I find it interesting that he has found such a powerful lyrical voice so late in his career rather than being an exemplary coverer of other people's tunes. It has certainly been worth the wait.
    Full Review »
  3. Aug 23, 2012
    The man is blinded by party label. He may be right he may be wrong, but he's a man talking with no grounds for believability. He has no idea what the constitution or bill of rights is or what their about save what he's been told second hand. It's a shame, because the pretense of understanding or respecting those documents coupled with his total economic ignorance is just as destructive as the politicians he good heartedly seeks to deride. Critics love it because they're poor or hate their lives and love the idea of government handouts. Kudos to Slant Magazine for calling it. Full Review »