Helplessness Blues

  • Record Label: Sub Pop
  • Release Date: May 3, 2011
User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 201 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 3 out of 201
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  1. Jul 1, 2011
    10
    This album is great. Every song is strong. Not as many epic songs as first album but overall I think this work is better than their debut which was also great. Well done. Definitely the best album of the year so far. I give this the #1 spot over TV On The Radio' s 9 types of light effort.
  2. May 24, 2011
    10
    Fleet Foxes are, and have always been amazing, this album is no exception. Understated, super honest, gorgeous woodsy folk from the heart. This album is a bit more subdued and humble than the previous, but no less outstanding for it.
  3. May 3, 2011
    10
    From the Cover Art to the title "Sim Sala Bim", The Fleet Foxes do not disappoint with Helplessness Blues. Continually seducing the ears track after track to hold on one more note while the song blends perfectly with the next. The album is a perfect sequel to their debut. Not disappointed in the slightest.
  4. Mar 10, 2012
    10
    Helplessness Blues steps up the soundscape for Fleet Foxes to a new level. The undeniable greatness of the vocal harmonies remain with new and different instrumental sounds making this album all its own. This is 2011's defining moment in music, one that deserves to be remembered forever.
  5. May 31, 2011
    10
    A surprising and rewarding album, both cheerful and haunting. There are so many memorable moments here. The band displays great versatility without seeming to stretch themselves. What I love best is that this album does more to challenge the listener more than their debut. They are not content to be just a "pretty sounding" band anymore (listen to the freakish "The Shrine / an Argument",A surprising and rewarding album, both cheerful and haunting. There are so many memorable moments here. The band displays great versatility without seeming to stretch themselves. What I love best is that this album does more to challenge the listener more than their debut. They are not content to be just a "pretty sounding" band anymore (listen to the freakish "The Shrine / an Argument", my favorite song from them). I'll be listening to this album thirty years from now. Expand
  6. May 8, 2011
    10
    The Fleet Foxes have not disappointed with this sophomore release. The harmonics are astounding as usual; the echoing lofty sounds of Robin Pecknold's voice blending perfectly with the rest of the band. The sounds are quiet, contemplative, and beautiful to listen to. I couldn't have hoped for any better after their first album, but they went ahead and delivered better anyway.
  7. May 3, 2011
    10
    I began listening to this album with extreme expectations, judging by how wonderfully crafted their debut album was when they released it back in 2008. Let me just start by saying that I was highly impressed by the Fleet Foxes' sophomore album "Helplessness Blues." Each song manages to stands on it's own, and also works together with the rest of the songs to construct what I consider oneI began listening to this album with extreme expectations, judging by how wonderfully crafted their debut album was when they released it back in 2008. Let me just start by saying that I was highly impressed by the Fleet Foxes' sophomore album "Helplessness Blues." Each song manages to stands on it's own, and also works together with the rest of the songs to construct what I consider one of the best albums I have heard this year so far. The vocal harmonies make a solid return on this album, and the band manages to retain their unique sound they so steadily held on the past few releases. I absolutely look forward to hearing more from Fleet Foxes in the future. Expand
  8. May 3, 2011
    10
    NME have no idea about music. The bar was set very high with the release of the first album, and they have definately delivered. If anything I prefer this to the debut. Each track sounds perfected and I haven't heard harmonies like this since the Brian Wilson led era of The Beach Boys. Absolutely fantastic
  9. May 5, 2011
    10
    NME need to throw in the towel, a 7 for Britney Spears, but a 4 for Fleet Foxes? Was this written by some guy who someone keeps locked away in a basement somewhere? Perhaps they don't allow him sharp objects, so instead of pencils, he writes his reviews with his own fecal matter? Regardless, Helplessness Blues is an instant classic,it also translates really well live. There really isn'tNME need to throw in the towel, a 7 for Britney Spears, but a 4 for Fleet Foxes? Was this written by some guy who someone keeps locked away in a basement somewhere? Perhaps they don't allow him sharp objects, so instead of pencils, he writes his reviews with his own fecal matter? Regardless, Helplessness Blues is an instant classic,it also translates really well live. There really isn't anything else that needs to be said, this album will go down in history. Expand
  10. May 6, 2011
    10
    It's pretty funny that the only bad review is from NME, who is showing their true biased colors after getting into words with fleet foxes after quote mining Robin and trying to make him sound like he said something he didn't. Of course he called the NME out on this on twitter and told them to remove the story. I guess they held that against them in their review.
  11. May 6, 2011
    10
    Gavin Haynes of NME is clearly not familiar with canoozing, a beloved summer pastime here in the Pacific Northwest. The former was the main point of my posting but in order to make it to 150 wordsâ
  12. May 7, 2011
    10
    A fantastic LP that could probably eclipse their debut release. Of course only time will tell, but currently on my 3rd listen I must say I have a stronger affection to this album than their first. Ultimately I found this a more rewarding listen. They've come a long way in terms of song writing and versatility. I honestly can't fault this album. Highlights for me include The Shrine/AnA fantastic LP that could probably eclipse their debut release. Of course only time will tell, but currently on my 3rd listen I must say I have a stronger affection to this album than their first. Ultimately I found this a more rewarding listen. They've come a long way in terms of song writing and versatility. I honestly can't fault this album. Highlights for me include The Shrine/An Arguement, Helplessness Blues, Grown Ocean & Montezuma. Expand
  13. May 10, 2011
    10
    As one of the most anticipated releases of the year there is no doubt that expectations were high for this sophomore release. What Fleet Foxes have achieved where so many others have failed is to not only eclipse their first album, but to leave it completely in the dust. Where Fleet Foxes attempted (and largely succeeded) in rising above the monotony of popular music today, HelplessnessAs one of the most anticipated releases of the year there is no doubt that expectations were high for this sophomore release. What Fleet Foxes have achieved where so many others have failed is to not only eclipse their first album, but to leave it completely in the dust. Where Fleet Foxes attempted (and largely succeeded) in rising above the monotony of popular music today, Helplessness Blues manages to keep this goal in tact, while managing to produce a sound that will likely appeal to both the masses and the critics. The result is an accomplishment that is reminiscent of simultaneously waking up on a mountain summit on a brisk dawn and coming home after a long hiatus to sit by a familiar fire. Moreover, Fleet Foxes have finally proven they can firmly hold the torch previously carried by CNSY, the Beach Boys, and Simon & Garfunkel. Expand
  14. May 28, 2011
    10
    Jesus, NME's review is unbelievable. It's really too bad that glowing reviews from publications that actually know how to critique music get bogged down with **** like this. Oh, well.

    This album is utterly amazing. From the very opening notes of the familiar-feeling "Montezuma," I was transfixed by how the Foxes have managed to retain the sound that makes them so different while also
    Jesus, NME's review is unbelievable. It's really too bad that glowing reviews from publications that actually know how to critique music get bogged down with **** like this. Oh, well.

    This album is utterly amazing. From the very opening notes of the familiar-feeling "Montezuma," I was transfixed by how the Foxes have managed to retain the sound that makes them so different while also moving in new, interesting directions. I love these guys.
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  15. May 29, 2011
    10
    Another great album by Fleet Foxes who play engaging, blissful tunes. A tough follow up to the debut but worth the wait. Check out band called Cloud Control (Bliss Release) if like FF.
  16. Jun 3, 2011
    10
    extremely (and almost annoyingly) flawless and quite possibly better than their self-titled effort. Helplessness Blues is a masterpiece and one of the best albums of 2011.
  17. Jun 3, 2011
    10
    Fleet Foxes definitely have avoided the infamous "sophomore slump" that so many bands with great debuts fall into. Helplessness Blues gets better and better with each listen, and I would definitely recommend listening to it many times to discover all of the complexities and intricacies of the album.
  18. Jun 13, 2011
    10
    It's pretty rare that a band produces a second album that rivals their first one in quality. While I don't find that there is a standout single on Helplessness Blues the album as a whole just seems stronger and more mature than the s/t. Stellar sophomore album.
  19. Jun 30, 2011
    10
    Going into this one was peculiar - though I was one of the few people I know who didn't obsess over their debut, I still had great expectations. I think one of the reasons I adore Helplessness Blues is that it's precisely what I wanted to hear the Fleet Foxes do throughout listening to their debut. There's an undeniable knack for songwriting, and I would argue their melodic sensibilitiesGoing into this one was peculiar - though I was one of the few people I know who didn't obsess over their debut, I still had great expectations. I think one of the reasons I adore Helplessness Blues is that it's precisely what I wanted to hear the Fleet Foxes do throughout listening to their debut. There's an undeniable knack for songwriting, and I would argue their melodic sensibilities trump those of harmony. Highlights include the thrilling yet understated title track, the entirety of "The Shrine / An Argument" (especially the surprise growl - grrrreat!), and the big-picture production of the album. Few records possess the range of emotions and grooves present in each track and put them together to make as much sense as it does on Helplessness Blues.

    Fleet Foxes, I knew you would come through for me.
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  20. Jun 21, 2011
    10
    Love it- they get those rich harmonies just right, with variation and catchiness in every song. Helplessness Blues goes above and beyond the bar set by Fleet Foxes' first album. A melodic and lyrical masterpiece.
  21. Jun 29, 2011
    10
    This has to be the best album of 2011 so far. Introspective, yet universal. Deep, yet accessible. Beautiful music mixed with great vocals, and amazing lyrics. It took a while for me to warm up to it, but once I did I couldn't stop playing this album over and over again. This will go down as one of my favorites for life.
  22. Aug 30, 2011
    10
    The best of 2011 for those individuals educated beyond grade 12 that don't define the quality of music by the volume of profanity contained in each song. Highly recommended!
  23. Aug 31, 2011
    10
    The Fleet Foxes release their highly anticipated second album and it's more than just a little bit good, in fact its a classic. You can tell that in the almost three years since their last album this fantastic collection of musicians have been hard at work, perfecting every strum of the guitar, hitting the sweet spot on every harmony and, most importantly, writing beautiful folk songs. TheThe Fleet Foxes release their highly anticipated second album and it's more than just a little bit good, in fact its a classic. You can tell that in the almost three years since their last album this fantastic collection of musicians have been hard at work, perfecting every strum of the guitar, hitting the sweet spot on every harmony and, most importantly, writing beautiful folk songs. The record begins with the best track of the album and never really falters as we take the journey with them back to a time probably just after the American civil war. The highlights of the album have to be "Montezuma", "Battery Kinzie", "Helplessness Blues", "lorelai" and "someone You'd Admire". This is easily the best album of the year so far and gives good competition to Kanye for the best of the decade so far. Amazing, Just Amazing. Expand
  24. Oct 4, 2011
    10
    Beautiful, and nothing less, Helplessness Blues is an instant classic. Lyrically and melodically superb it is the epitome of great folk music. The first time I heard Lorelai I began to tear up, and when I watched the Fleet Foxes perform Montezuma live I cried. I really feel I can connect with this album on a personal level, and maybe that is why I find it so remarkable.
  25. Oct 12, 2011
    10
    Nearly perfect record ... adventurous and unique, this album will stand the test of time. It doesn't "rock", and there's no Stephen Stills in this band (as they are often compared to CSNY,) but it does something more. It conveys a mood brilliantly and it's parts bring together some of the most gorgeous, honest and original song writing to come along in a long, long time.
  26. Oct 28, 2011
    10
    BEAUTIFUL, just everything I could ever want in an album, seeing them live confirmed their true musical genius. I feel as though they really tried to make this album slightly more interesting than the first, which was already great. Perhaps the most underrated track is "The Cascades", what a stunning instrumental, really takes you on a mental journey. Long live Fleet Foxes!!!
  27. Jan 5, 2012
    10
    This is a beautiful album, when I make a cup of coffee and put paint to canvas, nothing inspires me more than this album. I honestly thought they couldn't top thier first effort, but now I think they did. Helplessness Blues deserves a 10 and in my opinion is a tossup for best album of the year with Tom Waits 'Bad as Me."
  28. Dec 13, 2011
    10
    Fleet Foxes is one of those bands that really grows on you with some time and careful listening. While their sound is definitely inspired from the more folksy side of the 1970's, they feel unlike any other band at the same time. And "Helplessness Blues", like their first album, really does them justice in the folk rock realm. The songs all feel like they belong together, and honestlyFleet Foxes is one of those bands that really grows on you with some time and careful listening. While their sound is definitely inspired from the more folksy side of the 1970's, they feel unlike any other band at the same time. And "Helplessness Blues", like their first album, really does them justice in the folk rock realm. The songs all feel like they belong together, and honestly there's not a single bad one on here. Robin Pecknold feels like he's speaking to you personally at times, like in "Blue Spotted Tail" where he sings with his signature soft hum about the question of mortality and the world around us. I don't think another band could really pull off these songs like Fleet Foxes do. Every single one feels genuine. This is up with my favorite albums of 2011, the highlights including the title track, the creepy "The Shrine / An Argument", "Lorelai", "Someone You'd Admire", and the beautiful final track "Grown Ocean", which is the song that got me into this band. Expand
  29. Jan 12, 2014
    10
    I give it a 9.75.
    -Brilliant instruments (mostly acoustic guitar)
    -Beautiful vocals
    -Tremendous songwriting
    Great album, matches with their previous one, both are fantastic and I don't think I could pick which one I like better
  30. Nov 17, 2013
    10
    There is no doubt in my mind that Helplessness Blues is one of the greatest albums that has been released in a long time. It goes to prove something extremely important: Good music isn't made through techno-wash and pop hooks, but instead through good songwriting and solid production. With little besides acoustic instruments and Robin Pecknold's solid gold voice, Fleet Foxes has provenThere is no doubt in my mind that Helplessness Blues is one of the greatest albums that has been released in a long time. It goes to prove something extremely important: Good music isn't made through techno-wash and pop hooks, but instead through good songwriting and solid production. With little besides acoustic instruments and Robin Pecknold's solid gold voice, Fleet Foxes has proven they can make a better album than even the biggest pop producers. This album delivers song after song, pleasing and captivating upon first listen, but deep enough to provide more and more upon further study. The harmony-accented melodies and fantastic instrumentation that fill this album show that Fleet Foxes truly knows what they're doing, and are proving that solid songwriting goes a long way. I have a really deep love for this album, and am fully confident that it is a huge landmark for music in general. I'd highly recommend it. Expand
Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 39 out of 42
  2. Negative: 0 out of 42
  1. 90
    The words are as woodsy and quaint as ever. Pecknold seems to take his inspiration from classic British poetry, and rarely refers to objects, characters, or events that would place him in the 21st century, relying instead on imagery like old stone fountains, seeds, keys, sand, and the night sky.
  2. Jun 9, 2011
    67
    Where its predecessor corralled modern versions of The Canterbury Tales that the band's foxhunting moniker continues to evoke, Pecknold's Helplessness relies on a suitelike flow in the absence of greatest hits.
  3. Q Magazine
    May 31, 2011
    80
    Both mysterious and inviting, Helplessness Blues retains and expands what made the debut so special. It's an open door to a private world. [Jun 2011, p.108]