Real Animal

Metascore
83

Universal acclaim - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 16
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 16
  3. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. Real Animal is an album about life--both as survival and as the faces and moments that fill our days on this Earth. How many artists could make two masterpieces in a row that are so different?
  2. Music this rich and evocative should be heard by everyone, and one can only hope that more and more people will hear as Escovedo continues to write his own story.
  3. For Escovedo fans that have followed the local star through the Nuns, Rank and File, the True Believers, and Buick MacKane, Real Animal bares teeth and soul in rock & roll payback.
  4. I have seen Esco­vedo’s future, and its sound is rock ’n’ roll.
  5. The particulars of Mr. Escovedo’s autobiography on this album — his wanderings to New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Austin--may not matter much to those not already following his music. But the songs also tell a larger story: of reckless youth and unrepentant maturity, of time’s ravages and insights.
  6. 80
    The enthralling Real Animal presents a concise overview of the man's art and life, encompassing the punk fury of the Nuns, the country-rock twang of Rank and File, the rootsy guitar assault of True Believers, and the late-era tortured, string-quintet balladry that showcases his unbearably sad voice.
  7. Sweeping violins and take-no-prisoners guitars co-exist in producer Tony Visconti's gorgeous glam frame for Escovedo's visionary sound.
  8. On 'Sensitive Boys,' one of several standout ballads, he articulates the album's thematic truism: Done right, rock 'n' roll is a reason for living.
  9. Even as the songs triangulate the nexus of Marc Bolan, Iggy Pop and Doug Sahm, the album never sounds beholden to rock history. It’s more of an autobiographical undertaking, as if Escovedo is taking stock of his life, his career and his record collection—which are all essentially the same thing. As a result, each song sounds like a new chapter in a larger story and Real Animal like a new installment in an ongoing epic.
  10. Uncut
    80
    With strong ensemble backing Escovedo alternates gentle, reflective lullabies with incendiary Mott-styled rockers, to marvellous effect. [Aug 2008, p.93]
  11. Leave it to him to fascinate even when he just wants to clear out a few closets and keep on smiling.
  12. The production choices are well-matched to the individual songs on both structural and thematic levels--Real Animal works as a testament to the diversity of Escovedo's career and the breadth of his talents--but those individual choices don't necessarily make for a cohesive album.
  13. Taken as a whole, Real Animal shows a man content with the life he has lived, even as the rest of us hope that his final statement is still some ways off.
  14. This is not his best record, but it does have a couple songs that rank with his best.
  15. Real Animal is one powerful sermon.
  16. It’s for the Pabst crowd, not the trendy crowd concerned about looking the part. It’s this honesty that permeates everything Escovedo does.

Awards & Rankings

User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 6 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. BruceN.
    Oct 4, 2008
    10
    Best record of the year from beginning to end. Excellent songwriting and sujperb guitar work by Escovedo and David Pulkingham backed by the Best record of the year from beginning to end. Excellent songwriting and sujperb guitar work by Escovedo and David Pulkingham backed by the production wizardry of Tony Visconti. I listened to this recording more than any other I've purchased in recent years. Full Review »
  2. TrabajadorS.
    Aug 28, 2008
    10
    His best work yet--and two of his previous are firmly planted on my desert island list.
  3. JeffP
    Jul 9, 2008
    7
    My first Escovedo album purchase. This is not killer. It is pedestrian rock and roll at best. His voice is interesting as are the lyrics, but My first Escovedo album purchase. This is not killer. It is pedestrian rock and roll at best. His voice is interesting as are the lyrics, but honestly aren't these just re-writes of old Sprinsteen and Clapton songs? Produced well enough to rate this score. Full Review »