Misery Is A Butterfly

  • Record Label: 4AD
  • Release Date: Mar 23, 2004

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. Arguably the best album in their career.
  2. Filter
    Misery doesn't step forward so much as expand outward; roughly half of the album... sounds as if it could've been lifted off of Melody. The other half is purely visceral. [#10, p.91]
  3. The album's soft-focus allows Blonde Redhead to explore its relatively newfound romanticism more deeply than before... but with less tension between the fragile and harsh aspects of the band's sound, its soft-focus occasionally drifts into lack of focus.
  4. Repeated listens... reveal the album's complexity and highlight how far the band has come in the four years since their last release.
  5. The expansion of their sound to include breathtaking strings and keyboards has proven to lift Blonde Redhead out of the post-rock mire and recreated them as a band finally worthy of their past praise.
  6. The whole affair has a grandiose, almost decadent feel to it, with its damaged beauty and elegance.
  7. It's not just the vocals that captivate. The sheer busyness of the whole production and all the sounds are to be marvelled at, and though it would be easy to over-egg, they never allow any of the tracks to be cluttered or overblown.
  8. The Wire
    A rewarding new departure. [#242, p.72]
  9. Despite the increased emphasis on production, like Blonde Redhead's entire catalogue, the chirping, child-like cords of lead vocalists Amedeo Pace and Kazu Makino act as the essential ingredient to the bands avant-garde concoction.
  10. 80
    Like an air-bushed Slint re-emerging with Stereolab as their chief influence, Blonde Redhead engulf their guitars beneath so many keyboard tinkerings.
  11. Mojo
    They've carved a bleak and beautiful album; their best, in fact. [May 2004, p.106]
  12. The album is something of a wash, packing a less potent dose of Makino but an extra kick of Pace.
  13. The bristling energy that once held would-be sympathizers at bay has been turned inward, resulting in an unprecedented illusion of warmth.
  14. Spin
    [Has a] swirling spy-movie ambience. [Jun 2004, p.108]
  15. A bang-up mix of electronic song structure and guitar impressionism.
  16. Deliberately slow in tempo, delicately arranged, emphatically "dreamy" in tone, Misery is a Butterfly is lovely, but also difficult going for Blonde Redhead fans.
  17. Q Magazine
    An otherworldly, richly cinematic adventure. [May 2004, p.98]
  18. Uncut
    It works, mainly: though one or two songs could benefit from the old viciousness, these are seductive confections. [Apr 2004, p.104]
  19. Urb
    Blonde Redhead's most confounding element is also one of their most endearing. With her ethereal, paper-thin voice, [Kazu] Makino often slips frustratingly off-key. [May 2004, p.84]
  20. It is never fun, but is always compelling.
  21. Entertainment Weekly
    Despite sounding derivative at times, Misery... further refines [their] volatile mix with a touch of fidgety elegance. [19 Mar 2004, p.65]
  22. Blonde Redhead haven't run out of ideas, but Misery strips them of their eccentricities so thoroughly that the few that remain sound out of place.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 22 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 11
  2. Negative: 1 out of 11
  1. ToshiakiA
    Mar 31, 2005
    These Critics don't know what they are talking about. This group and this album is a masterpiece. 50 my ***.
  2. Sep 24, 2012
    I discovered The band with this album. I Never heard about them before despite of their big reputation and I think that this helped me to seeI discovered The band with this album. I Never heard about them before despite of their big reputation and I think that this helped me to see this work as a masterpiece because, at that time, i had nothing else to compare this work with. What impacted me the most was the production of most of the tracks. A sort of despairing pompous barroque style with so intense arrangements like the dramatic chords that reminded me of the Gainsbourg "Je t´aime moi non plus" era, clavichords, cheap synths. Heartbreaking most of the times. I remember that i was wondering how they managed to create something so sad and at the same time so beautiful. I still dig this piece of work nowadays although i have to say that after discovering other of their works i think that lp like melody of certain damaged lemons or the in expression of the inepressible are much more powerfull works even if the production is much more focused on this dirty indie sound that was so cool in the 90´s. I really think that Blonde redhead was a feverish young band that wanted to be a matured and confirmed one. Most of the people was expecting the same rage and not this wonderfull melancholy. Full Review »
  3. MartyS.
    Feb 2, 2008
    An album of absolute wonder ......... can't get enough!