Keep It Like A Secret - Built To Spill

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. The last album's title ['Perfect From Now On'] was a promise; this one makes good on it.
  2. 100
    Beautiful pop symphonies that hit like a Louisville Slugger.
  3. Recalls last year's fine Halo Benders release, The Rebels Not In, the album Martsch recorded with Beat Happening's Calvin Johnson and former Spinanes and current Built to Spill drummer Scott Plouf. And that's not a bad thing at all.
  4. In a sense, this is Built to Spill's pop album: every song is direct and clean, without the long, cerebral jamming that characterized their earlier albums.
  5. 90
    Somehow these fragments instantly assemble themselves into a gorgeous whole, and there's not a piece you could imagine replacing.
  6. Perhaps the secret they're trying to keep here is that Built To Spill quite frankly write some of the most original, interesting and catchy pop songs you'll ever hear.
  7. Regardless of how much noodling, compromising or second guessing this trio does, Martsch and crew remain the best band America is not listening to.
  8. It's sort of a cross between the epic masterpieces of Perfect From Now On and the shorter, more pop songs of There's Nothing Wrong With Love. Basically, it's another winner from the group.
  9. 80
    Built to Spill's combo of wry phrasing and explosive sound is more honed on this album than ever before.
  10. With its layers of guitars and sharp lyrics, Keep It Like A Secret is a smart, challenging installment in a career that's been as varied as it is prolific.
  11. Built to Spill make music with a weird naive excitement that recalls R.E.M. at their fresh-out-of-Athens finest.
  12. The album you always want Sebadoh to make: unrestrained, kinda sensitive, speckled with paranoia and insecurities and, best of all, in love with the very idea of making music for the sheer thrill of it.
  13. Keep It Like a Secret is tightly wound clang, effectively understated in spots.
  14. Sounds exactly like its predecessor, except the songs are shorter and less interesting. [March 1999]
  15. Built To Spill have made a concise, pop-smart record.
  16. It's pure BTS, but without enough sparkle or rough-hewn beauty to be memorable.
  17. Built To Spill sound as if they're trying too hard, and ultimately both The Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev do this sort of thing with far more panache.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 27 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 9
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 9
  3. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. j30
    Aug 19, 2013
    It is nice to know good rock music was being made during a time of laughably bad, rap/rock music (Limp Bizkit, Kid Rock, etc). Built To Spill's 1999 gem "Keep It Like A Secret" is an essential indie rock album and one of the best rock albums to come out that year. Full Review »
  2. Dave
    Feb 7, 2007
    Truly an outstanding, fully realized, elegant recording. Perhaps the best ever "indie-pop-rock" album. The lower meta score is a bit perplexing. I notice that White Stripes' Elephant and TV's Return to Cookie Mountain have very high scores; I have and enjoy both of those records and do not really understand why this BTS record was not as widely acclaimed. Perhaps critics prefer the edgy punk-metal sound of Elephant or the unusual new sound of Cookie Mountain. Keep It Like A Secret is no less creative, complex, brilliant and moving than those two records, or anything else out there for that matter. Highly recommended! Full Review »
  3. jimh
    Sep 7, 2006
    The low rating of this album is proof of how jaded and cynical critics can be. This is one of the most quintessential rock albums of the 90's.