Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. Robert Wyatt, that most eloquently lackadaisical of jazz-loving English troubadours, has made some unforgettable albums over his long solo career, but this will rank among the frontrunners.
  2. Nov 10, 2010
    90
    Writing and arranging credits are shared between the three artists and, despite Wyatt's claims that most musical collaborations are really a series of shifting dictatorships, there is a sense of equal involvement from all involved. However, for fans of Wyatt and his extensive body of work, it may be hard not to treat this album as further glorious evidence of a singular late voice that came into existence around the time of his 1997 album Shleep.
  3. Dec 22, 2010
    80
    [Wyatt's voice} is not the most technically 'correct' voice, but in the setting of Ros Stephen's arrangements for string quartet, with Gilad Atzmon adding alto saxophone, it is as though that uncertain crack, that flaw floating in the clear quaver of his voice is a precise match for the happysad ambiguities that haunt so many jazz standards. [Oct 2010, p.62]
  4. Dec 2, 2010
    80
    For the Ghosts Within provides another oddly-shaped window into the labyrinthine mind of Robert Wyatt, nearly as vital in its own way as Shleep or Rock Bottom.
  5. Nov 16, 2010
    80
    Wyatt has a knack of making happy song sound melancholic, but conversely brings some wry levity to the lovelorn ennui of jazz standard. [Nov 2001, p.103]
  6. Oct 25, 2010
    80
    He's exactly the kind of person to be extending the usefulness of songs like "Laura," "Lush Life," "In a Sentimental Mood" and "What's New." Those songs all take their places in an equal collaboration with Mr. Atzmon, the saxophonist, and Ms. Stephen, the violinist. (Mr. Atzmon is the album's producer.) All are composers, and the record sounds cooperative in three ways or more.
  7. This music is at the core of what he does and has informed his musical language throughout his career. The fact that he manages to breathe new life into melodies as overplayed and hoary as What A Wonderful World or as complex and beautiful as Lush Life is triumph enough in itself.
  8. 80
    The Ghosts Within typifies the uniqueness of Wyatt's oeuvre, though on this occasion it's not just his. [Nov 2010, p.95]
  9. Wyatt continues to be full of delightful surprises. [Nov 2010, p.117]
  10. Jan 6, 2011
    78
    Mixing standards ("Laura," "Lush Life") with an occasional political rap ("Where Are They Now?") might fall flat in lesser hands, but Wyatt's voice is the linchpin, and Atzmon/Stephen work amicably with it.
  11. Oct 25, 2010
    77
    His latest album, a collaboration with the saxophonist Gilad Atzmon and the violinist Ros Stephen, is again evasive, seeming at once defiantly old-fashioned and defiantly quirky.
  12. Dec 21, 2010
    75
    On one hand, the enormity of said soundtrack can be appreciated by those with a palate for the peculiar, while others might yearn for a more streamlined recording.
  13. Nov 9, 2010
    75
    Ghosts isn't some staid, tasteful covers album. It's lush, yes, and frequently beautiful, but there's also something subtly unsettled about these songs.
  14. 75
    For the Ghosts Within descends into a strange netherworld bordered by art pop, jazz, and classical that few seek to visit.
  15. Nov 17, 2010
    70
    Two minor complaints aside, For the Ghosts Within succeeds as both collaboration and an aural portrait of what a complete standards recording by Wyatt could offer.
  16. Nov 9, 2010
    70
    At the end, Wyatt takes the For the Ghosts Within's over-riding mushiness, runs with it, and it makes it totally work.
  17. For two men famed as political firebrands, Robert Wyatt and Israeli anti-Zionist and saxophonist Gilad Atzmon certainly make a beautiful noise together.
  18. When one hears a musical feast as good and as sultry as this it's impossible not to conclude that, for all their wistfulness, entertaining enough renditions of standards seem half-baked by comparison. Having moved into the position of being a beloved national treasure status, Wyatt remains at his best when he's facing forwards rather than looking back.

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