Just Us Kids

Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 11 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 11
  2. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. The protest songs on Just Us Kids, particularly 'Cheney's Toy,' will hog all the attention, but they're the least of this roots rocker's treasures here. It's James McMurtry's brilliant character sketches that really shine.
  2. Live, McMurtry can still be way too strophic and trad. But he's never made an album so loud or hard.
  3. In such stories, McMurtry locates again and again an element of humanity that saves his angriest screeds from easy pigeonholing.
  4. Just Us Kids is an album very much of its time that also speaks to the larger ideas of life in America in an uncertain age, and it's brave, smart, and pithy music that captures James McMurtry at the top of his game.
  5. It’s the ache of 'Ruby and Carlos' that reveals McMurtry’s sensitive brilliance as a chronicler of quiet desperation (though even here, he can’t resist a jibe about “the Mason-Dumbass Line”).
  6. McMurtry cuts through all the crap when describing the state of America these days. Call McMurtry’s music what you will, just don’t call it kids’ stuff.
  7. Mojo
    80
    A definate contender when those Best of the Year polls gets underway. [Aug 2008, p.105]
  8. Q Magazine
    80
    He's getting better with age. [Aug 2008, p.140]
  9. 70
    Muscularly arranged with bongolated beats, psychedelic swamp guitars, boogie-woogie pine top and snowballing chorus hooks, Just Us Kids approximates a certain literate strain of early-'80s album rock.
  10. He's always here to try to twist reality's wires some more, just so, and leave a little room to move.
  11. Uncut
    60
    Just Us Kids in part repeats the forumla, targeting SUV drivers, filthy corporations, and Dick Cheney, in an affecting but familiar preach to the converted. [June 2008, p.97]

Awards & Rankings

User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 10 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. PaulC
    May 13, 2008
    7
    The songs themselves are excellent, in particular "Cheney's Toy," but I can't help but wish someone else was performing them.
  2. EricO.
    May 12, 2008
    7
    Let's get this out of the way right now; James McMurtry is a better writer than his dad. Consider as evidence "Song For A Let's get this out of the way right now; James McMurtry is a better writer than his dad. Consider as evidence "Song For A Deckhand's Daughter", "Outskirts" (both from "Too Long In The Wasteland") or "Levelland". He's a genius at crafting four-minute narratives that hold more water than most full-length novels, and yet a strange thing happens when he attempts to get political: the humanity and humor of his best work go AWOL. We already have a Steve Earle, and he does this kind of thing far better than James. I love McMurtry's work, I've been with him since "Wasteland", but he should leave the pontificating to others and get back to what he does best, i.e. acute observations without the grandstanding. Full Review »
  3. LarryW
    May 10, 2008
    10
    Another superb cd by one of the great songwriters of our generation. The music is more diverse and expanded, and the lyrics as biting, Another superb cd by one of the great songwriters of our generation. The music is more diverse and expanded, and the lyrics as biting, poignant and intelligent as ever. It ranks up there with his best. Full Review »