• Record Label: Sub Pop
  • Release Date: Apr 7, 2017
Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
Buy On
  1. Apr 18, 2017
    60
    To be sure, his willingness to descend into darkness, both regarding the world and within himself, is a large part of the man's appeal, but here he seems to have misunderstood, or simply ignored, what makes him truly great.
  2. Apr 14, 2017
    60
    In the end, Pure Comedy isn’t anything close to the laugh fest the title implies, but it does provoke a deeper reaction regardless.
  3. Apr 10, 2017
    60
    There are moments here that are truly affecting, like the vignette anchoring Leaving LA, the album’s 13-minute centrepiece. The young Josh chokes on a sweet, as Fleetwood Mac’s Little Lies plays impassively in the background. You wish you could hear more from him.
  4. Apr 7, 2017
    60
    Pure Comedy (or, I would say, Tillman in general) doesn’t suffer for its big ideas, it thrives on them; the real problem is the constant circling and underlining and pointing out those big ideas when just letting them sit and mystify in their black hole weightiness would do.
  5. Apr 7, 2017
    60
    It’s true that he’s certainly earned the right to pursue his artistic vision. It’s just a shame that this only partly inspired slog isn’t a little more, well, entertaining.
  6. Apr 6, 2017
    60
    He’s not really in a fun mood, and the music follows. The lushness has diminished, and the work evokes increasing comparisons to ‘70s singer-songwriters like Randy Newman and Harry Nilsson, who hid their acidic commentary within sturdy pop structures.
  7. Apr 28, 2017
    40
    One of the most frustrating releases of recent times. Tracks meander insipidly, crushed by the weight of a solipsistic “message” and the real moments of quality only serve as a reminder of what might have been.
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 253 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 30 out of 253
  1. Apr 10, 2017
    1
    I was looking forward to this as "Ballad of the Dying Man" was actually a really good song but as the new singles kept rolling out, myI was looking forward to this as "Ballad of the Dying Man" was actually a really good song but as the new singles kept rolling out, my expectations vaporized. Each song sounded just like the one before it and the lyrical content is absolutely vomit and cringe worthy. I loved Fear Fun and Honeybear. I get it, he's always been full of himself and he always will be, but at least those albums were entertaining. This album is like a flatline from beginning to end. There is no pulse, there is no diversity, there is no personality. Can't even fathom the high critic score. This album will age very poorly, and not just because I don't like it, but because it's just commentary on 2016 basically. I just don't see how anyone can enjoy this. Listen to something else instead unless you want to hear moaning bad lyrics over poorly done minimalism. I cannot explain how bad this album is. Such a snooze fest and don't even get me started on "Leaving LA." Quite possibly the worst song I've ever heard. I just have nothing good to say about this album so I'll leave it here. Full Review »
  2. Apr 7, 2017
    4
    Everyone who is heralding this as the best album of the year is probably too young to remember Dan Fogelberg, a man who embodied 70's and 80'sEveryone who is heralding this as the best album of the year is probably too young to remember Dan Fogelberg, a man who embodied 70's and 80's camp, with his simple piano licks and suave, lady-wooing tenor. Music like this is usually deeply embraced at first, then seen down the road as a lame phase you went through. It's missing instrumental and lyrical risks. When many of you agree with me later in life, I won't hold it against you. I used to listen to Bryan Adams. Full Review »
  3. Apr 7, 2017
    10
    Pure Comedy is the kind of album that makes you feel like a piece of **** for being a human being, but at the end of listening you're gladPure Comedy is the kind of album that makes you feel like a piece of **** for being a human being, but at the end of listening you're glad you're not anything else. Full Review »