• Record Label: Matador
  • Release Date: Aug 24, 2004
User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 16 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 16
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 16
  3. Negative: 2 out of 16

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  1. JohnR
    Aug 23, 2004
    1
    Oh Bob what happened? You created your worst album, and then you say goodbye. Perhaps it's just a ruse. At least that's what I'm hoping.
  2. JohnH
    Sep 2, 2004
    9
    It ain't Alien Lanes, but it sure is great. A grower like all GbV's best albums.
  3. anderton
    Aug 25, 2004
    10
    Bittersweet masterpiece.
  4. brianm
    Aug 25, 2004
    7
    Nowhere near as tight as Earthquake Glue, which should have been their last album, but it's a fitting "end" to a great band. The last song on the album is probably one of their best songs of all time. Farewell GBV.
  5. LawrenceP
    Sep 17, 2004
    7
    Average for these guys. A masterpiece for most bands.
  6. RA
    Aug 18, 2005
    8
    It's not my favorite GVB album, but there are a few solid tracks. I'm not disappointed because Bob Pollard will continue to write songs and perform. Luck for us as we are in rock's nadir.
  7. aaronL
    Jan 14, 2007
    7
    Overall this record has a darker, more introspective feel than most GbV stuff, and the more progressive-influenced songwriting feels out of character for the group. Easily this is the least essential GbV record, but at the same time it is so intrieguing - mostly because it's so different.
  8. eric
    Aug 25, 2004
    10
    10 as any GBV song is
  9. JorgeC
    Aug 25, 2004
    10
    Robert Pollard is from another planet.
  10. cr
    Aug 29, 2004
    7
    it's growing on me...
  11. markf
    Aug 31, 2004
    7
    I'd probably give it a 7.5 if possible (Hey, MC, why isn't it possible? It can't be that hard!) I've enjoyed all the recent GBV albums. I enjoy the electric guitar sonics, mostly inspired by The Who, with Peter Gabriel takin' over vocals from Roger Daltrey on about 80-90% of the songs. What I like the best about this one are the acoustic jams which pop up more I'd probably give it a 7.5 if possible (Hey, MC, why isn't it possible? It can't be that hard!) I've enjoyed all the recent GBV albums. I enjoy the electric guitar sonics, mostly inspired by The Who, with Peter Gabriel takin' over vocals from Roger Daltrey on about 80-90% of the songs. What I like the best about this one are the acoustic jams which pop up more often than before. I will admit that this album "seemed" to have a little-bit-more filler than previously, but if you believe Dubya should be kicked out of D.C., then perhaps, those can be forgiven. As far as John R goes, I have no explanation, except maybe take a vacation and/or a chill-pill (or maybe change your politics!?!Apparently, you wanted to kick RP while you still had the chance.) This is a pretty-decent swan song, but too bad it wasn't epic. Of course, if it was, there'd be no reason to have a swan song! Expand
  12. NeilD
    Sep 16, 2004
    7
    Their weakest since Do The Collapse. Still there is some strong stuff on here. Especially the first five tracks and the final cut.
Metascore
73

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. The album isn't a certified classic like earlier GBV favorites "Alien Lanes" and "Under the Bushes, Under the Stars," but it does have a healthy dollop of Pollard's trademark effortless pop perfection.
  2. In essence Half Smiles of the Decomposed is more overloaded with ideas and styles than any other recent Guided by Voices album, yet the songs still hold together cohesively and the album actually gains in depth from the variety.
  3. 82
    It's ultimately a pop album, reflective and thoughtful, and these songs are just that: songs. [#12, p.97]