Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 16
  2. Negative: 1 out of 16
  1. 100
    Some of the best songs he's written since Heartbreaker. [Jan 2004, p.98]
  2. The Adams of ‘Love Is Hell’ has gone out to make an album that actually is classic rock ‘n’ roll rather than one that can simply impersonate it, and sound convincing. [Review applicable to both Part 1 and Part 2]
  3. Some of the most focused, artful, and affecting work of his career. [Review applicable to both Part 1 and Part 2]
  4. Shares some influences -- the Replacements, '80s English alt-pop -- with ''Rock N Roll,'' but the writing is tighter, the production cleaner, and the performances more considered.
  5. Part 1's eight deluxe country rock essays all impress. [Feb 2004, p.98]
  6. 'Love Is Hell' is proof that Ryan Adams is still on form and as splendid as ever.
  7. Stripped of arrangements, the songs are mostly brooding ballads, shadowy blends of folk mixed with traditional country that highlight Adams' shaky voice and caustic songwriting. [combined review of 1&2]
  8. The Love Is Hell discs are far more dense and dark, making the songs a fun challenge to crack open, though it isn't difficult to determine what a no-brainer it must have been for Lost Highway to favor the brilliant Roll over the more spotty Hell discs. [Review applies to both EPs and 'Rock N Roll']
  9. More commercial - and much better - than 'Rock'n'Roll', occasionally resembling the grandstand melancholia of Coldplay, and more frequently their antecedents The Smiths and Jeff Buckley. [Review applicable to both Part 1 and Part 2]
  10. 70
    The bleakness is stirring as often as it is enervating. [#23, p.100]
  11. 67
    Everything is underwritten or overwrought. [Feb 2004, p.104]
  12. When [Love is Hell] works, and it does so only sporadically, Adams creates songs of suffocating closeness and density.
  13. If Love Is Hell, Pt. 1 has the edge over Rock n Roll, it's because it's more carefully considered in its production and writing, and he manages to hide his allusions better than he does on Rock, where every title and chord progression plays like an homage.
  14. The songs comprising both parts of Love Is Hell constitute the worst songwriting by Adams ever stamped with a price tag.
  15. 40
    An utterly gloomungous affair with barely a crack of light piercing the lowering clouds of misery. [Jan 2004, p.116]
  16. A collection of preposterously cheerless (and charmless) songs that try much too hard to achieve a poignancy-- or anything, really-- that might hide their complete insignificance.
User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 18 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. Sep 5, 2011
    9
    A spectacular display of raw emotion, particularly in the album's creme de la creme, 'Avlanche' and 'The Shadowlands'. Adams coversA spectacular display of raw emotion, particularly in the album's creme de la creme, 'Avlanche' and 'The Shadowlands'. Adams covers 'Wonderwall' beautifully, to an extent that I can bear to listen to the meaning behind it as he gives it a meaning. So mellow, yet so powerful in what it delivers on quality of sound and the enigmatic yet decipherable messages of passion, beauty in nature, and, perhaps the most significant, the hope of a bright future - this truly is his crowning glory. Full Review »
  2. ZachJ
    May 16, 2006
    10
    Wow, the Pitchfork review Of Love is Hell (parts I&2) is by far, their most misguided effort yet. This is not only Adams' best album, as Wow, the Pitchfork review Of Love is Hell (parts I&2) is by far, their most misguided effort yet. This is not only Adams' best album, as a whole, but is also one of the few albums in general that I consider "perfect... Not "perfect" as in flawless, but perfect in its current state where I wouldn't change the perceived flaws. Adams eschews the alt-country and rock labels on his previous albums and conquers the 80's brit-popish, delightfully depressing vibe. Yes, it does take a few spins to fully appreciate, but man oh man, is the payoff great... Tough to even list favorite songs as the album plays best from start to finish. Full Review »
  3. NastyR
    Feb 3, 2006
    9
    Heartland rock, so charming and impassioned that i always shake like a milk. His best album (with second part together) and one of the best Heartland rock, so charming and impassioned that i always shake like a milk. His best album (with second part together) and one of the best of new century Full Review »