Mama, I'm Swollen Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 15 Ratings

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  • Summary: The sixth studio album for the Omaha, Nebraska-based indie-rock band.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 20
  2. Negative: 1 out of 20
  1. Wracked with doubt, contradiction and existential despair, Mama, I’m Swollen strikes out as a weighty, superbly realised endeavour which, for all its oppressive nature, is as eminently listenable and brave an album as any the band have produced.
  2. Diehard fans will continue to bray for "The Ugly Organ 2," but Swollen features better songs, stronger playing, and Dylan-level lyrics, making it the band's most cohesive work to date.
  3. Although the album drags in its back third, Mama, I’m Swollen is a strong addition to Cursive’s catalog.
  4. Mostly Mama comes filled with soul-aflame adolescent angst that generates lines like “I am the joke of existence / I am no one” with guitar squall to match.
  5. Kasher still embraces his flaws and while that may not work to the record's advantage when it does Cursive hits hard as ever.
  6. There is of course a huge market for their kind of angst-ridden emo, and in many ways--particularly lyrically--this album sounds like it's been lifted straight from the emo handbook, which may well satisfy many listeners. For the less committed, however, the lack of the band's usual wit and musical inventiveness will be missed.
  7. 30
    The emo-punk angst is cut with little of the band's trademark wit or ingenuity: Most of the songs plod bloodlessly to an inevitable, pointless climax of noise, sour humor, and teen nihilism.

See all 20 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 1 out of 3
  1. JesseT
    Mar 17, 2009
    I am a long time fan of Cursive and I think this album is excellent.
  2. beaus
    Mar 14, 2009
    Critics... you envy the creative genius that is cursive thats why you are writing words and not creating music like the people you review. You know nothing. Expand
  3. LyleS
    Mar 13, 2009
    Cursive has been on a gradual decline since their fourth album The Ugly Organ. Kashir has become more obnoxious with his sexual issues and less vulnerable which has eliminated the endearing quality of the lyrics. Ultimately, especially for any long time fan, this album is boring - like a friend who only calls to talk about the same issues over and over again. We get it Tim - you have a love/hate relationship with sex, suburbia, and religion. You can't live with them and can't live without them. We heard that loud and clear six years ago and your message has been getting repetitious. Oh, and the music sucks too. Expand