I'm New Here

  • Record Label: XL
  • Release Date: Feb 9, 2010

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 28
  2. Negative: 1 out of 28
  1. Forty years after his debut, I’m New Here contains the artful immediacy that distinguishes Scott-Heron’s best art. The modern production adds immeasurably to that quality, underscores his continued relevance in reflecting the times, and opens his work to a new generation of listeners while giving older ones a righteous jolt.
  2. I’m New Here is an unlikely but triumphant return, packed full of sadness, experience and an underlying feeling of someone making peace with their mistakes and regrets.
  3. Reflective but never bitter, I'm New Here contains the musings of a poet wizened by hard luck.
  4. The album is very much a producer’s piece, all layers, overdubs, and effects. Yet the swirling miasma of sound wholly suits Scott-Heron’s mood, which is angry yet humble, and even more his voice, which is rich and intent as ever.
  5. It may just be his best record. I’m New Here manages to pack a lifetime’s worth of artistic growth in one completely unobtrusive half-hour.
  6. I’m New Here is an outstanding album and one of beauty and substance and for the first time in fifteen years, Scott-Heron is back.
  7. Whether these 15 tracks have helped him lay some demons to rest is impossible to say, what’s beyond all doubt however, is that I’m New Here is a seriously good record.
  8. Mojo
    There is a stark grandeur in songs like the almost Leonard Cohenesque title track, and the gritty, abstract New York Is Killing Me. [Mar 2010, p97]
  9. The vast majority of I'm New Here sees Scott-Heron looking back on his life. The result is remarkably honest; as he puts it at one stage, "If you have to pay for what you've done wrong, then I've got a big bill coming".
  10. What it does do, however, is remind us that he is a copper-bottomed genius.
  11. His voice a weathered and worn device, there are facets to his personality that seem to make this album work, when otherwise its disjointed presentation would seem haphazard or pasted together. It’s also very short, clocking in at shy of thirty minutes despite its fifteen tracks.
  12. This brutally honest record is in many ways more powerful than anything from his agitprop days.
  13. I'm New Here might turn out to be a footnote rather than an American Recordings-style new chapter, but this is as striking a return as we're likely to hear all y.
  14. The album sounds heavy and elusive, like a field recording, and it will surely be studied with the most powerful of cultural microscopes, but its author will just puff cigarettes and chuckle.
  15. Yet it still feels honest, like something said out of necessity instead of opportunity, and the result is an album that engages with the idea of loneliness in exceptional ways.
  16. In short, I'm New Here is the perfect comeback album, deploying modern production in the service of timeless songcraft and personal vision.
  17. Q Magazine
    His first album in more than 15 years sees him back atr the musical vanguard--thanks in large part to XL boss and producer, Richard Russell, whose arrangements brilliantly frame the 60-year-old's rich burr and terse street poetry with brooding electronica and stark blues handclaps. [Mar 2010, p.106]
  18. I'm New Here is an album that is best appreciated as a whole, under optimum conditions, when you can really absorb what he is saying. It's worth your time and your money, and stands proudly among the better works in Gil Scott-Heron's large and impressive discography.
  19. This is one of the things that makes I'm New Here such a masterfully stark album. The music is darker, more mechanical than the jazz-inflected backing he used in the '70s, he exhibits few of the tendencies of the genres he helped influence.
  20. 70
    His weathered voice has fissured in all the right places.
  21. Scott-Heron's roughed-up reading of Bill "(Smog)" Callahan's title track certainly does the trick, though his tender take on the Bobby Blue Bland hit "I'll Take Care of You" only makes you realize how much life he's got left in him.
  22. Harrowing poetry is mixed with choice covers, from Smog's road-to-redemption title track to a particularly haunted take on Robert Johnson's Me and the Devil. It's blistering stuff.
  23. I'm New Here is undoubtedly a bleak record, and given Scott-Heron's trials, it's hard to imagine it being anything else. But his take recognizes a hard-earned beauty, as well.
  24. 80
    Not all of it works...But, as a radical overhaul of a career, it's a brave, brilliant and highly personal statement. [Mar 2010, p.83]

There are no user reviews yet.