Lisbon

Metascore
83

Universal acclaim - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 30
  2. Negative: 0 out of 30
Buy On
  1. Lisbon is like a treatise on the untapped power of the have-nots, delivered by the kind of people who could turn a raw potato, a cup of water, and a pinch of salt into a five-star dish.
  2. Their incongruence makes neither any less brilliant. So powerful is its imagery, and so timeless is its presentation, Lisbon is sure to join High Violet on any shortlist of the most memorable albums of 2010.
  3. This is an album to fall in love to, to break up to, to drown sorrows to, or to bounce around to. One-hit wonders? Well, the wonders part is right.
  4. Lisbon is an album from a band finally using the full palette of their talents to adapt and come out the better for it, and that's a pretty picture to behold indeed.
  5. It offers a peppy antidote to You and Me, their especially downbeat 2008 offering, walking you through all the requisite Walkmen emotions: chipper resentment ("Blue As Your Blood," "Woe Is Me"), resignation ("All My Great Designs"), hung-over longing ("Torch Song"). But it's "Juveniles," the opener, that consolidates in one track all we expect the Walkmen to deliver.
  6. He's sad and pathetic and needy and yet somehow still smooth, which is sort of the central animating paradox at the heart of the Walkmen. They make these wounded, anxious songs, but they make them so confidently, with such unearthly rich-guy assurance.
  7. It's true the band has made a radical decision to turn down the volume on the wall of sound they've been building up since their debut, but in doing so they've turned up something else they've been fond of for so long: measured nuance.
  8. Dec 13, 2010
    80
    Middle-aged indie jinks for NYC mainstays.
  9. Mojo
    Dec 13, 2010
    80
    Much of the album's charm lies in its simplicity, often paring back the instrumentation to focus upon the group's strongest elements. [Nov 2010, p.96]
  10. Dec 13, 2010
    80
    Lisbon is up to the band's usual high standards; if you've followed their career closely that's really all you need to know.
  11. Lisbon is the New York quintet's sixth album, and it hinges on a precision that wasn't there previously.
  12. 80
    Lisbon, like 2008's You & Me, is a gorgeous journey into the elegiac, inspired by the music of Memphis' Sun Studios.
  13. Q Magazine
    80
    Underachieving alternative heroes finally come up with the goods. [Nov. 2010, p. 110]
  14. Lisbon is, for The Walkmen, a reinforcement rather than a reinvention - but for those listeners already fond of their sound, or of melancholy rock stripped down to its essentials in general, that makes for a rewarding listen.
  15. 80
    Lisbon, solemn overall, plays like a jukebox at closing time, wrung out but ready for a new day. 
  16. 2008's You and Me arguably represented a high-water mark in the Walkmen's sturdy career; the new Lisbon does nothing to erode that goodwill. On the whole, it's less raucous than its predecessor.
  17. Uncut
    80
    Lisbon instead makes defiant virtues of under-ambition and overindulgence. Short on hooks but long on atmosphere, the songs suit Hamilton Leithauser's Dylan drawl. [Nov 2010, p.110]
  18. Under The Radar
    80
    Lisbon is an excellent, cohesive album full of surprise and emotion, not a simple show of force. [Summer 2010, p.80]
  19. Lisbon is another great record in an admirably consistent discography. It's got a drive and precision to it we didn't see on the last record and it reminds us that, for all their intricacy and texture, The Walkmen are one of the great rock bands going.
  20. The Walkmen have done it slightly different this time, but I guarantee that after hearing this album, the brilliance of Lisbon will stay with you for the entire day, no matter what color the sky sitting above.
  21. It's hard to say that any specifically Iberian influence is audible here – this album's sound was more or less in place on 2008's much-admired You & Me – but it's nonetheless another lovely record.
  22. Lisbon, like the rest of their music, is meant to be savored, the fullness of its songs allowed to develop over many listens.
  23. Bluntly, Lisbon is a collation and culmination of their finest work in years. Rather than a selection of scattered snapshots, this time we've got the bigger picture. And it's irresistible.
  24. You always know when a Walkmen song comes on your shuffle, and Lisbon does nothing to dispel that. In fact, it adds another solid entry to an increasingly solid catalogue.
  25. Reportedly inspired by two rainy trips to the Portugese capital, Lisbon nevertheless sounds like a continuation of the NYC outfit's 2008 turning point, You & Me, a dramatic din of last-call waltzes and dimly lit remembrances.
  26. What draws me most to Lisbon is the exciting reinventions on the band's own formula.
  27. Lisbon might leave plenty of listeners unsure what more the band has to offer us in the coming decade, but on its own there's little to be disappointed with.
  28. Lisbon sounds like your typical Walkmen album. Laid-back and tempered at moments and jarringly stunning at other times, but never dull.
  29. The Walkmen are that rare band that can stretch into all manner of different shapes and retain their oneness with the rock gods, and they've held onto the zeal that made them stand out like a diamond among the other jeweled NYC bands with impeccable resumes in the early aughts.
  30. Sometimes the Walkmen's anthemic naturalism wanders without much direction.

Awards & Rankings

User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 36 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Oct 30, 2010
    10
    These guys have quietly been one of the greatest bands in indie rock since their debut album "Everyone Who Pretended to Like me is Gone".These guys have quietly been one of the greatest bands in indie rock since their debut album "Everyone Who Pretended to Like me is Gone". They aren't hip and don't follow trends. No one else is combining a slow hazy 50s-60s motown vibe with biting guitar hooks, brooding bass lines, and howling vocals. They aren't afraid to let loose, which is rare for indie rock bands these days it seems. An essential band. Go see them live if you get a chance. Full Review »
  2. Sep 15, 2010
    10
    I thought The National had album of the year in the bag with 'High Violet', but I couldn't have been more wrong.

    The Walkmen have taken a
    I thought The National had album of the year in the bag with 'High Violet', but I couldn't have been more wrong.

    The Walkmen have taken a more subtle and precise approach with 'Lisbon' than their previous efforts. I can just picture them in some dim lit warehouse somewhere like mad scientists determining which note goes where and with what instrument and how loud to make each note and so on and so forth. It may not seem like that at first listen, but with repeated listens you will soon find out how much time and effort they put into 'Lisbon'. It's their most simplistic yet complex album yet. It's a well rounded mix of all the greatness of their previous albums but it doesn't feel old at all. It's as though they've figured out a way of making all their strengths feel new and refreshed.

    From the ballad and first single "Stranded" which sounds like an album highlight from '100 miles off' to the intrepid title track, "Lisbon", that could have been 'Everybody who Pretended to like me is gone's' most idealistic single, the Walkmen dazzle in every way. The opener "Juveniles" is a perfect start to 'Lisbon'. It's slow and bending lyrics sound as though they are about to embark on a journey and they want you to sit back, drink your whiskey, open your mind and let your thoughts flow. As the end of the song echoes, "you're one of us or you're one of them", you will start to question which one you are as you anxiously await the ride to continue.

    There are a few faster paced songs on the album like "Angela Surf City", which will probably be the biggest single on the album just because it's more of the sound the Walkmen are popular for. "Victory" and "Woe is Me" are great emotionally charged high velocity tempo storms that crash you with promise and misery all in a matter of minutes. Other than these three songs the rest of the album sits in the bondage of haste and perseverance.

    The only setback on the album is "Follow the Leader". I only say it's a setback because it seems unfinished to me. It has perfect rhythm and smooth lyrics but just didn't seem complete and it kind of halted the album with two very strong tracks before it. On the other hand, I see why its on the album. It builds up to the highlight, "Blue as your Blood". "Blue as your Blood" is the Walkmen's best song to date. As Hamilton croons "Life rolled us over like a town car/Bruised up and busted to the ground", you can feel the sentimentality in his voice. It should be the anthem for every love story, every severed relationship, every guy/girl sitting at a bar thinking about the years past, drinking their favorite drink contemplating every decision, good and bad, they've made over the span of their life. Yes, it's that good.

    "While I shovel the snow" reminds me of my childhood in Chicago, thinking of times past and what's transpired since. It brought back memories I forgot I had. It's simplicity and candid emotion will bring tears to your eyes and happiness to your soul. The lines "half of my life I've been watching/half of my life I've been waking up" will make you want to go back to that childhood and slap yourself in the face, tell yourself to do something with your wretched painful life ahead. "Torch Song" and "All the Great Designs" are standouts as well. They keep the album moving at a soul binding pace. As the album digs at your every thought and bulletproof emotion, not stopping until the end of the title track, "Lisbon", hits you and makes you crave a cigar and another drink to flourish what just transpired. But you cant go on this ride just once. It's like your 12 again at six flags on a Tuesday during the summer when there are no lines...just you and the rollercoaster and you keep riding it over and over again...feeling the pain and nauseau of the rollercoaster's jolt but loving every minute of it. You hunger and crave for more. The only thing that's missing from this album is taste and scent, but if you delve hard and long enough you swear you can smell that old after shave lotion your father use to wear or taste those homemade mash potatoes your mom use to make because memories is what this album is about.

    Metronomes aren't needed because 'Lisbon' doesn't follow any sort of compliance or standard, it's original and that's something you cant say much anymore about music today. 'Lisbon' brings emotion, it brings character and most of all it brings memories for The Walkmen stand in the likes of none of their peers because their greatness cannot be compared.
    Full Review »
  3. Jan 6, 2015
    4
    Mediocre stuff. Not a fan, - as it is nothing special. Neither the singer nor the musicians are doing great job. As a compositions, the tracksMediocre stuff. Not a fan, - as it is nothing special. Neither the singer nor the musicians are doing great job. As a compositions, the tracks don't go anywhere musically, but are not bad also. It is listenable, I guess. Full Review »