Loud City Song - Julia Holter

Universal acclaim - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 30
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 30
  3. Negative: 0 out of 30
  1. Aug 26, 2013
    This album is the sound of an excellent singer, songwriter, arranger, and, I’d argue, thinker translating those strengths into some of the most stirring music you’ll hear this year. Loud City Song may not be loud, but the echo it makes is unforgettable.
  2. Aug 22, 2013
    It’s an impressive record to listen to--the compositions are even more beautiful than Ekstasis, even though they’re often more fragmented--but it’s also a frightening depiction of what it feels like to have a whole population making you up in its head.
  3. Aug 20, 2013
    This sits up quietly but pointedly as a quiet rebuke to records that won’t try to render the depth of the world in a layered and crafted way, those that prefer to just wink, shrug, or laze.
  4. 90
    This is wild music, a celestial cabaret that absorbs and unsettles.
  5. Aug 19, 2013
    Loud City Song is Holter's most polished work to date, and another example of how she upholds and redefines what it means to be an avant-garde singer/songwriter.
  6. Aug 16, 2013
    Most vividly, Loud City Song evokes the easy, tingling drift of early Robert Wyatt.
  7. Aug 14, 2013
    It’s certainly Holter’s most accomplished and imaginative album--indeed, there hasn’t been an album this packed with ideas since tUnE-yArDs' w h o k i l l a couple of years ago.
  8. Aug 13, 2013
    Like any new city, this album may take some getting used to--there's beauty everywhere, but the streets are far from a neat grid. But as you walk them, Holter's genius as a sonic town planner reveals itself. [Sep 2013, p.96]
  9. Aug 13, 2013
    Although it takes more than a couple of listens for Loud City Song to feel like a cohesive album, the reward once you do is well worth the outlay.
  10. Aug 13, 2013
    With Loud City Song, Julia Holter marks the scene’s zenith, continuing her journey from obscurity, through marginality and onwards into accessibility.
  11. Aug 13, 2013
    Holter may write stunning pop-tinged songs, but she’s an experimental artist through and through.
  12. Loud City Song is a true achievement from Julia Holter. Nary is there a hook on the album, but the richness and vividness that she brings to the songs musically and lyrically will hook you more effectively anyway.
  13. Aug 16, 2013
    Though it draws upon the distant past, Julia Holter's made a timeless people-watching soundtrack: an acutely felt ode to the mysteries of a million passersby, all the stars of their own silent musicals.
  14. Aug 16, 2013
    A thoughtful pop aesthetic that few others even shoot for. [No. 101, p.55]
  15. 85
    Like her previous works, Loud City Song requires time and patience, but once you grasp its intent the investment will feel wholly worthwhile.
  16. Jan 27, 2014
    Her songs are challenging, expansive and cinematic, turning minimalist melodies on their heads and redefining the limits of pop. [Oct 2013, p.103]
  17. Sep 4, 2013
    Loud City Song is her most broadly scoped and epic album to date.
  18. Aug 26, 2013
    Her progression in two short years, from the sonic scarcity of Tragedy to the evocative symphonic grandeur of Loud City Song, hints at a vision we are only beginning to see the full range of.
  19. Aug 22, 2013
    It’s a jaw-dropping accomplishment, one of those records that’s almost pointless to listen to as a series of individual songs--tracks are mini symphonies in themselves, and to break Loud City Song down into tracks would be missing the point.
  20. Aug 21, 2013
    This is music that takes a while to comprehend, designed for longevity over quick appeal. For those of you wistful for this approach, look no further.
  21. Aug 20, 2013
    Nobody else is doing what Holter is doing, and it’s well worth following her lead.
  22. Aug 19, 2013
    Like Gigi herself, it is a work of perpetual self-invention, an extended state of becoming. Have pity on the inquisitory birds, because it's impossible to look away.
  23. 80
    Loud City Song is a sightseeing trip with a person fully able to portray the objective beauty of the sights, as well as her own take on them.
  24. Aug 16, 2013
    It’s that sonic gluttony that makes Holter’s production an alluring tryst that’s hard to let go of come curtain call.
  25. Aug 15, 2013
    The result is an enriched soundworld, more ambitious than her much discussed debut, Tragedy. [Aug 2013, p.53]
  26. Aug 15, 2013
    Barbara Lewis's soul classic Hello Stranger gets a chillout makeover, which doesn't quite work; but any faults are obliterated by the album's closer, City Appearing.
  27. Aug 14, 2013
    This is a clever, sophisticated album that still oozes warmth and affection. Superficiality and loneliness have never sounded so tender and dazzling.
  28. Aug 13, 2013
    Still ethereal and episodic, it's less sequestered, more outgoing [than Ekstasis], with an influx of strings and brass bringing warmth to concoctions of stunning invention and variety. [Sep 2013, p.94]
  29. Aug 23, 2013
    Everything comes together, creating an album as deep and wide as the vistas it conjures up.
  30. Aug 16, 2013
    It is an easier, more focused listen than Ekstasis, but there is nothing here to rival that album's 'Marienbad' for sophisticated songwriting.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 67 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. Sep 6, 2013
    I am totally on the fence with this one. I want to like it. But ultimately I feel it's a bit overrated. Unusual yes and that is a good thing. But it feels like a sorbet when you are extremely hungry nice, refreshing, but doesn't hit the spot. Maybe I'll have to give it a few more listens but there's not much to grasp onto here. Full Review »
  2. Aug 25, 2013
    The best way I know how to describe this album is by saying that this is the album that David Byrne and St. Vincent's album, Love This Giant, should have been. The varying vocal styles, the energetic baroque-pop, the eccentric lyrics, and a mix between the ambient and atmosphere, as well as bouncier arrangements and more jubilant sounds. Tight songwriting, natural sounding production, and as cohesive as could be, this is one of the most solid listens that anyone will find this year. Standouts, like "Horns Surrounding Me," "In the Green Wild," and "City Appearing" are three of the best tracks of any other songs of 2013, but each track on this record is something special. This is a must-listen album. Full Review »
  3. Aug 25, 2013
    Like listening to someone's thoughts throughout a day, "Loud City Song" holds a surreal theme, yet does so through the exploration of peaks and valleys. Many of the low key compositions and arrangements are intense and take a bit of getting used to. Once you're there and have occupied Julia's train of thought, it becomes as comfortable as a cup of unusual tea you can't help but drink to the bottom (and gets tastier with every refill). Regardless of hints at possible influences Julie Anderson and others, this is overall a lovely and original effort with true moments of brilliance. Full Review »