Heartland

  • Record Label: Domino
  • Release Date: Jan 12, 2010
Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. Some tracks on Heartland are like listening to hundreds of violins at once, with all the dynamic subtlety that description doesn’t entail. But when the album works, it’s majestic and impossibly rich.
  2. Pallett has crafted an absorbing gem of a record, one that delivers substantial emotional payloads by means of incredibly intricate pop music.
  3. There are a lot of things about Heartland that feel like Pallett is presenting himself more and more fully as an artist; the scope of breadth and mood of it are all grander, more assured, making ever more of a case that the guy shouldn't be viewed as a side note (string arranger for the Arcade Fire, the Pet Shop Boys) or a minor interest.
  4. 85
    Impressive in both scale and execution, Heartland succeeds not just due to Pallett's sizable talents, but his belief in his even larger ambition.
  5. Nothing is hodgepodge about Heartland, and rather than an outlet for the former Final Fantasy's many cool ideas, Owen Pallett presents one outstanding, unified one: all of him at once.
  6. What’s clear, however, is that Heartland is a huge leap for Pallett on every level. These are the most accomplished songs he has written, and he makes up for the ground he cedes--predominantly his willingness to present conventional, immediate song structures--by making everything else so uniquely his own.
  7. Whatever you care to call him, the man’s come up with the goods.
  8. This is a great album, and you’re probably going to want to hear it again and again.
  9. Under The Radar
    80
    Rather than create an "everything but the kitchen sink" album, Pallet applies a skilled and sensitive hand to his material. [Holiday 2009, p.76]
  10. It’s a wide, spacious, summer storm of a record that bounces around genres like an open-world RPG game, and while there may be only 12 locations you can fast-travel to, there is enough treasure in each to keep the adventurer occupied for a month of afternoons.
  11. Heartland is nothing new and in no way groundbreaking. But no-one else combines such intricate classical styling and technology to such pop-savvy effect.
  12. Lyrically, it's all sort of inscrutable and encumbering to follow, but the music is so good it scarcely matters what he's on about.
  13. Heartland has a fine polish that feels as expansive as it is ornate.
  14. Not everyone is going to want a 12-song cycle about the relationship of an extremely violent fictional farmer (no – come back!), of course, but within Heartland’s grand sweep are some riveting and quite glorious ideas.
  15. Starting with offbeat rhythms and minor key vocals the album is not as accessible as "Has A Good Home" and less adventurous than "He Poos Clouds"--yet there’s something that draws you into Heartland.
  16. There’s no denying that Heartland is an overflowing well of musical creativity that leaves you feeling like you’ve missed something crucial if you let your attention drift. But the array of sounds can smother the songs.
  17. As a set of songs, Heartland has its hits and misses; but as a single work with an admittedly fanciful narrative throughline, it has its own peculiar charms.
  18. This is the pop Brian Wilson might have made, had he grown up infatuated with Sondheim rather than the Four Freshmen.
  19. Uncut
    60
    Pallett's pallid voice fails to dramatise the narrative or really engage the listener. As a calling card for future soundtrack commissions, however, it should succeed splendidly. [Feb 2010, p.84]
  20. Q Magazine
    60
    What's lacking are a few copper-bottomed pop melodies to bind it all together; the kind of thing his collaborators normally provide, in other words. He's beter as a team player. [Mar 2010, p.101]
  21. Mojo
    40
    The whole sprawl of tooting loops, sawing violins and Pallett's unlovely operatic warbling feels gruelling and indigestible - prog stodge in a dashing post millennial disguise. [Feb 2010, p. 93]
User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 44 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. ClifC.
    Jan 14, 2010
    9
    This album totally surprised me by its greatness. I didn't know Owen Pallett at all, but I can already say that this is a MUST HAVE This album totally surprised me by its greatness. I didn't know Owen Pallett at all, but I can already say that this is a MUST HAVE album, and an artist to follow closely! Full Review »
  2. May 30, 2014
    10
    Heartland is a brilliant and beautiful testament to one man's agreement to contend with the forces of music in his life and make them work forHeartland is a brilliant and beautiful testament to one man's agreement to contend with the forces of music in his life and make them work for him. Though it may take some getting used to, the first 6 songs are beautifully crafted and lyric-ed odes to a fantasy world of Owen's own creative making, while from song 7, Lewis Takes Off His Shirt, to the end of the album, we have a stunningly moving and locomotive song cycle that takes listeners on one of the most amazing journeys, hearkening back to the days of the Beatles and early Stevie Wonder!! Full Review »
  3. LeahT.
    Jan 20, 2010
    10
    Beautiful orchestration and well-crafted songs. Definitely refreshing and unique.