Metascore
77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 37
  2. Negative: 0 out of 37
  1. t may take a few albums for him to perfect the new sound, and we should expect that, keeping in mind that when he does, the results may very well be awe-inspiring. At the moment, however, Kiss Each Other Clean just isn't there yet.
  2. Dec 7, 2011
    80
    Kiss Each Other Clean is the result of years of growth and change, and though that sounds incredibly boring, it's also a record full of roiling emotion, tender wit, and deeply felt melodic beauty.
  3. Jan 19, 2011
    70
    This is Iron & Wine's most resolute statement, and what a wake-up call. [Feb 2011, p.87]
  4. 70
    Ultimately, however, once you've gotten past the nagging feeling that you're not really listening to the Iron And Wine you thought you knew, you realize that you are, and that many of the songs are wonderful.
  5. Jan 27, 2011
    40
    In between erupts the album's clash of will and reality into a messy, ill-defined awkwardness of transition, which might have captivated in the complex shades of ambiguity that Beam expertly builds, except for a complete want of direction or purpose.
  6. Jan 18, 2011
    80
    Beam's songwriting retains a cryptic quality, but the feeling shines through, and however far Iron & Wine travels from its starting point, it still won't feel far from home.
  7. Mostly, the listener will leave Kiss Each Other Clean craving something lyrically to hold onto, to become affected beyond the immediate emotional stirs that the pure prettiness of songs like Godless Brother In Love.
  8. Mar 4, 2011
    74
    Nestling welcomed experimentation among familiar tunes, Beam is hedging his bets with Kiss Each Other Clean.
  9. Jan 25, 2011
    80
    Less folksy, more funky, Kiss Each Other Clean is a rather more lively, sometimes even poppy record.
  10. Feb 3, 2011
    64
    Albums like Kiss Each Other Clean and The Age of Adz are so giddy with compacting layers and counter layers into the already mapped-out confines of their pre-existing aesthetics that they come across like snowflakes: each one is beautiful and unique, except that the detail is too small to see and anyways there's about a billion of them shits and you have to shovel the walkway and hope public transit isn't delayed. It's distracting, basically, because nothing gets a chance to breath.
  11. 70
    When the grandiosity succeeds, it's pleasing, perhaps even wonderful. But when it fails, which it does every so often (even at moments on the strongest tracks), it just kind of makes you wonder why things couldn't just stay the way they were.
  12. 80
    Such is the rich detail dispersed across Kiss Each Other Clean that it demands some intensive listening to absorb all of its pleasures, especially when the choruses are not as cleanly-cut as one might expect of such a well-groomed higher-profile release.
  13. Mar 21, 2011
    80
    Kiss Each Other Clean makes Sam Beam four for four--more if you count the EPs and 2009's rarities set Around the Well.
  14. Jan 25, 2011
    60
    Credit to Beam, of course, for challenging himself rather than continuing to remake The Creek Drank the Cradle over and over again, but Kiss Each Other Clean is unlikely to count among his best work.
  15. 83
    Not all of the new sounds enhance Beam's lovely melodies, but they rarely obscure those underlying charms, either.
  16. Jan 25, 2011
    88
    Now with his fifth album, Beam may not have abandoned his roots, but he's certainly stretched far beyond them.
  17. Apr 20, 2011
    40
    Fourth outing for the hirsute folk/pop alchemist. [Feb. 2011, p. 107]
  18. Jan 18, 2011
    80
    Some of the experiments here may work better than others in the long term, but it is far better that Beam is an artist prepared to take risks. His best work may be yet to come, while his writing remains vivid and evocative.
  19. 90
    Kiss Each Other Clean is a surprising and majestic triumph.
  20. Jan 25, 2011
    80
    The equivalent of changing radio stations in his more youthful days, Kiss Each Other Clean is the result of Beam uncontrollably turning the radio knob until finding the right tune in his head.
  21. Jan 21, 2011
    80
    There can be a thin line between ambitious and pretentious, but this record dodges the latter gracefully.
  22. Jan 25, 2011
    93
    Kiss Each Other Clean has the potential to please longtime fans and generate plenty of new ones.
  23. Jan 25, 2011
    77
    These songs are generally not the type to grab you right away, but there's enough mystery and melody there to call you back.
  24. Jan 26, 2011
    60
    Kiss Each Other Clean might have a sexy title, but it's just a little too effete to be the great pop record that it really should be.
  25. Feb 1, 2011
    90
    A noticeable departure on Kiss Each Other Clean is that Beam seems to be having a genuinely good time on the album.
  26. Feb 2, 2011
    80
    More subtle delights from the bearded Mr. Beam. [Feb. 2011, p. 117]
  27. Jan 21, 2011
    70
    Beam's headed someplace, and it's worth following.
  28. Jan 25, 2011
    80
    This is not an edgy or restless record, but rather introspective, warm, and almost tropical.
  29. Jan 18, 2011
    90
    Kiss delivers plenty of unexpected layers, employed judiciously in service of Beam's usual ruminative ideas about good and evil, love and death.
  30. Jan 25, 2011
    91
    The music reflects the excitement of a man who realizes he's onto something; Beam's vocals have never been so strong, and the bountiful instrumentation marks a musician eager to show off the range of options he's discovered.
  31. 88
    On Kiss Each Other Clean, Beam's muse must have told him to pull back on the reins.
  32. Jan 21, 2011
    80
    Beam comes across as a latterday prophet, casting his gentle eye over capitalist, warmongering western society with sorrow and kindness.
  33. 100
    Kiss Each Other Clean is much more focused and homogenous, but there's still a lingering sense of abundant inspiration, eager to carry the songs off to different lairs.
  34. Here, Beam adds funky Stevie Wonder synths to the mix. And marimba. Lots of marimba.
  35. Feb 15, 2011
    60
    Kiss Each Other Clean recalls Scritti Politti, or Sufjan Stevens--perhaps not what his folky fans were hoping for, but it's an impressive makeover.
  36. Jan 31, 2011
    70
    The remarkable change here comes from courtesy of the record's sonic qualities.
  37. Jan 24, 2011
    70
    Somehow Beam pulls off the variety without making Kiss Each Other Clean feel disjointed or forced.
User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 38 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. Jan 26, 2011
    8
    Who is Chad Taylor? HE is the drummer in the group. Samuel Beam is the main guy. The group should be called IRON & WINE

    Got this at Borders
    Who is Chad Taylor? HE is the drummer in the group. Samuel Beam is the main guy. The group should be called IRON & WINE

    Got this at Borders a week early - oops! I like all IRON & WINE's stuff. More blues / country than I usually like, but this guy always puts out winners in my book. My main point was to correct the mistaken identity of the musician / group - not to write a review.
    Full Review »
  2. Sep 2, 2011
    9
    This is my favorite Iron and Wine album by far. I've been a fan from the beginning, even seeing them perform in tiny bars with leakingThis is my favorite Iron and Wine album by far. I've been a fan from the beginning, even seeing them perform in tiny bars with leaking ceilings. I love this record not only because it has giant cajones, but because it is an uplifting and beautiful piece of work. Full Review »
  3. Apr 7, 2011
    9
    It would be ridiculous to attempt to describe each of the album's 10 tunes, since a few clicks of your mouse will deliver the album to yourIt would be ridiculous to attempt to describe each of the album's 10 tunes, since a few clicks of your mouse will deliver the album to your doorstep, figurative or literal, and my verbose descriptions would probably bore you. But let me assure you, not one piece of Kiss Each Other Clean is boring. There is the relaxed groove (supplemented by electronic sounds) of "Monkeys Uptown," one of the most immediate tracks on the album; there is the poignant piano-led ballad "Godless Brother In Love," whose lyrics confront loss and parents' feelings about children; there is the doo-wop/country/folk mash-up "Half Moon," where Beam's influences - and emotions - are clear: "I wake beside you on the floor/ Counting your breathing/ 'Cause I can't see nothing in this half moon/ Lay me down if i should lose you." But most of all, there is the finale "Your Fake Name Is Good Enough For Me." It is not so much a denouement or an epilogue as it is a culmination of Beam's entire career - an epitome of music that most writers strive for but never find. It comes just in time, right after Kiss Each Other's two weakest tracks, the Dave Matthews Band-esque "Big Burned Hand" and the melancholy ballad "Glad Man Singing." While these two tracks would take the reins on any other album, they don't quite summit the peak that the rest of Kiss Each Other's songs do: they have the oxygen to make it up K2, not Everest. At this point, most listeners might be ready to press "repeat," expecting the closer to be some sort of dulcet ballad like the two that closed Our Endless Numbered Days and The Shepherd's Dog. But no. Rest of this is at http://www.thetunemusic.com/2011/03/iron-wine-kiss-each-other-clean-2011.html :) Full Review »