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Hearts Of Oak Image
Metascore
84

Universal acclaim - based on 17 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 14 Ratings

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  • Summary: Ted Leo, formerly of Chisel, returns with his fourth album of punk-influenced singer-songwriter indie-folk rock.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. Hearts Of Oak is one of those albums on which each song has the power to get you thinking, and the hooks to resonate inside your head long after it's through playing.
  2. On Hearts, riffs exist in cutting words and soulful guitar lines, not glittery axe solos; and every intricately timed punch to the throat is mastery. [Feb 2003, p.64]
  3. If he's not this generation's most raggedly refined songwriting presence, then he's certainly in the top ten percent of his class -- a bona fide show-stopping tunesmith on a par with giants Elliott Smith, Ron Sexsmith and Richard Davies.
  4. Eschewing pretentious unpretentiousness for unguarded passion, strict 77-82 influences for the classic rock stop on the FM dial, calculated instrumental inadequacy for guitar solos that are less technical flaunting (looking at you, Malkmus) than skillful, noisy exorcisms, Ted Leo makes a sound filled with so much authentic abandon, the British mags probably can't handle it.
  5. In the vein of Kevin Rowland or Elvis Costello, Ted Leo writes lyrical rock songs that sprawl out and rarely depend on a chorus.
  6. 70
    These songs of faith and endurance work because the singer/guitarist and his band play according to their album's title--with hearts of oak, which refers not to flesh turned stiff, but to spirits that are stout, strong, tall. [Apr 2003, p.112]
  7. The impact is inconsistent but stronger.

See all 17 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. MoiraD
    Feb 24, 2006
    10
    Wonderful. I love Ted Leo. His music is intricate and more complicated than any recent rock I've listened to, but the lyrics are Wonderful. I love Ted Leo. His music is intricate and more complicated than any recent rock I've listened to, but the lyrics are absolutely fantastic. Thumbs up for Ted Leo & The Pharmacists. Expand
  2. SteveG.
    Dec 14, 2003
    10
    My favorite album of 2003. A truly amazing set of songs.
  3. JeffS
    May 23, 2003
    10
    stunning, articulate and chocked with mighty hooks...like Mark E Smith with a soulful falsetto. Can't miss, guaranteed to have you humming
  4. StephanieD
    Mar 25, 2004
    10
    I love Ted Leo
  5. MarkR
    May 10, 2003
    9
    Several songs that simply refuse to leave my head
  6. BenH.
    Aug 25, 2005
    9
    A great ablum, a number of profound lyrics on it. But it isn't one of Ted Leo/RX most tuneful albums.
  7. DaneD
    Mar 29, 2005
    9
    "Hearts of Oak" is my favorite Leo/Rx album. Not many critics share my opinion on the matter, preferring instead the tunefulness of "The "Hearts of Oak" is my favorite Leo/Rx album. Not many critics share my opinion on the matter, preferring instead the tunefulness of "The Tyranny of Distance" or the stylistically unified "Shake the Streets". However, "Hearts..." has a spontaneity and experimentalism not captured by either of the other two albums, employing unpolished-yet-captivating production throughout that never sheens off the emotional bite of the arrangements. In comparison to "Tyranny...", this disc offers more confidence without the stylistic self-awareness of Leo/Rx's latest work. Expand

See all 10 User Reviews