Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. Built on acoustic guitars with little splashes of color like handclaps, tooting horn sections, and subtle strings, the record sounds remarkably large in its smallness.
  2. 82
    A beautifully wrought collection of ballads for the brokenhearted. [#11, p.96]
  3. 80
    Hayden's delicate little songs are potent, precious things indeed. [Oct 2004, p.110]
  4. 80
    Hayden's nagging melodies and deadpan delivery occupy their own peculiar kingdom. [Sep 2004, p.102]
  5. Like a technology-phobic Beck, Desser tells his off-kilter tales with a wry eye. [Sep 2004, p.119]
  6. 80
    The slowly picked guitar, the detailed songwriting, the harmonica and the intriguing, plain-spoken lyrics are all here. [#64, p.96]
  7. It's definitely nothing like the laid-back experience of listening to him live, but it's his best album yet.
  8. The overarching narrative structure and sequencing make this album a well-conceived exercise in storytelling.
  9. Elk-Lake is a benign, restful listen, showing a once-unwieldy, always-vibrant creative mind having found a peaceful medium. While it's easy to appreciate the man's development, this blunted songwriting is somewhat less resonant-- and seems somehow less Hayden.
  10. Although most of the songs are good individually, the record is fairly monochromatic, and it can get a bit tiresome listening to it from start to finish.
  11. The lyrics and musicianship are of the quality to be expected from Hayden, but something’s a little... boring about Elk Lake Serenade.
  12. Although the record is saved from complete disaster with its musical accompaniments... Elk-Lake Serenade is outrageously lonely and cumbersome.
User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 9 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Peej
    Mar 22, 2007
    10
    This is a great album from an accomplished singer/songwriter.
  2. EmrahS
    Mar 14, 2006
    9
    Great !
  3. LawrenceP
    Jun 28, 2005
    8
    I think this is his best effort yet.