Love And Its Opposite

  • Record Label: Merge
  • Release Date: May 18, 2010

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. It feels utterly natural, a continuation of the emotional navigations she's spent her career documenting with characteristic insight and sensitivity.
  2. Taken individually, each of Love and Its Opposite’s songs is impressive and affecting. Strung together as an album, though, their sulky nature becomes oppressive.
  3. Love and Its Opposite plays more like a conventional singer-songwriter album. The shift in gears isn't unwelcome: Thorn, as always, exercises that smoky voice to great effect.
  4. Uncut
    It's autumnal but never overbearingly bleak, thanks to the enduring warmth of Thorn's voice, and the empathy of her lyrics, even on the almost desolate "Singles Bar." [Jul 2010, p.125]
  5. Q Magazine
    Often sad yet always warmly sympathetic, it's a well-weighted, smartly observed collection of attractive pop. [Jun 2010, p.132]
  6. Mojo
    What with that album title, a wistful opening waltz, entitled Oh, The Divorces! and a beautifully resigned lament called Singles Bar ("Can you tell how long I've been here? Can you smell the fear?", the theme of mid-life crises hangs heavy over these 10 simply arranged vignettes. [June 2010, p. 92]
  7. Some tracks may dip into generic mid-tempo dancefloor fodder, such as Why Does The Wind, but overall this is up there with some of Thorn's best work since Everything But The Girl.
  8. Thorn's voice, rich and smooth as the most expensive chocolate truffle, brings each story to genuine life and invests it with heart-snagging emotion.
  9. Even when the tempo goes up (on a song called “Hormones,” naturally), Love is cocktail-hour ready, but that helps Thorn’s realism go down like a highball.
  10. Still, for as remote and guarded as Thorn comes off in these 10 vaguely embittered tunes (two of which are covers: "Come on Home to Me" and "You Are a Lover"), and for as sparse and reserved as their arrangements are, there remains one connective thread between this and Thorn's lullabies of clubland: She still summons drama with just the force of her voice.
  11. I like this relatively blunt, unadorned Tracey Thorn – not that she was ever forced or florid in her expression, but Love and its Opposite offers her most complete disarmament yet.
  12. On her gently magnificent third solo album, Tracey Thorn--the beguiling voice of Everything But the Girl--tackles serious big-girl issues.
  13. Love and Its Opposite is often a careful-sounding album and while that synopsis may not quicken the heart, it gives Thorn’s work an air of professionalism and care.
  14. Her enviable clarity of tone and the disarming beauty of her vocals lend Love and Its Opposite a dreamy, if uncomfortable, sort of truth. But blithe, sunny romantics are advised to keep a stiff drink (and a hanky) within very easy reach.
  15. In Ewan Pearson’s thoughtfully modest production, the songs are played by small groups, usually just three or four musicians recorded cleanly, as unglossy and intimate as Ms. Thorn’s songs.
  16. ‘Long White Dress’ and ‘Singles Bar’, subject matter made clear from the off, are highlights; the former is mellow and wistful, with a delightfully lilting chorus, while the latter radiates the fatigued disenchantment of somebody lacking motivation in the unfulfilled pursuit of love.
  17. Everything but the Girl fans might miss the duo's dancey leanings, but Thorn proves that her voice is enough to transcend genre preferences.

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