Rehearsing My Choir

User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 130 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 22 out of 130

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  1. kellym
    Oct 27, 2005
    10
    i'm not saying that you have to like this album, but to discard it just because you don't get it is a foolish move--there is so much to get out of it. i love it, and to say it is unlistenable, at least to me, is a questionable take as well. this is one of the most engaging and listenable albums i've ever heard.
  2. JeffK
    Nov 10, 2005
    10
    This is quite simply the best album of the year. Sure, it's a tad off-putting at first, but the Furnaces have always followed their muse, even into strange territory. But once you get past the initial strangeness of the music, you will be rewarded with one of the most complex and beautiful albums you've ever heard.
  3. EddieT
    Oct 24, 2005
    9
    More than patience it requires repeated listening. Leave it on in the background a few times and I defy you not to find parts that are catchy, funny, artful, and occasionally really gorgeous. The final song, "Does It Remind You of When," is a true culmination of the lessons--both from the stories and the music--in tracks 1-10, and it might be the most heartbreaking song I've heard More than patience it requires repeated listening. Leave it on in the background a few times and I defy you not to find parts that are catchy, funny, artful, and occasionally really gorgeous. The final song, "Does It Remind You of When," is a true culmination of the lessons--both from the stories and the music--in tracks 1-10, and it might be the most heartbreaking song I've heard all year. (To be a culmination requires a context, so it won't do any good to download the song by itself.) For me, art this nuanced and cathartic is often limited to literature, but the Fiery Furnaces gave it to us in the shape of an album. Don't listen to all the nay-saying reviews. This album is difficult but it needs a champion. This album deserves to have people list all the great things about it so you'll hear them, too. Now can we get to it? Expand
  4. PaulV
    Oct 25, 2005
    8
    mad record - really mad. Think I'll need a few weeks to be able to say anything coherent about it.
  5. [Anonymous]
    Oct 25, 2005
    10
    i can't believe pfm with their review. don't listen to these reviews, this album is utterly amazing. don't let them decide for you, listen to it for yourself, if you skip this album, your going to be missing out on the entire world.
  6. IanC
    Oct 25, 2005
    10
    Pitchfork is right about "Rehearsing My Choir" being exhausting, but to call this record "fruitless" is absolutely ridiculous. If you like music served to you on a silver plate, stay far, FAR away from "Rehearsing My Choir," but if you're looking for a record with rewards comparable to the great challenge they put forth, it will change your life.
  7. Mark
    Oct 25, 2005
    10
    Sad that this incredibly ambitious and brilliant record now has a metascore lower than Jason Mraz and 311. Screw you, Cokemachineglow.
  8. TaylorK
    Oct 25, 2005
    10
    Few artists can be credited with changing the definition of "Music." The Fiery Furnaces have, and they've done it beautifully.
  9. davidd
    Oct 25, 2005
    9
    astonishing. "you mean two jerks" is the funniest line, too.
  10. donaldf
    Oct 25, 2005
    10
    What's startling to me is how listenable this album really is. ignore the sour grapes and go for it.
  11. strurmundrang
    Oct 25, 2005
    10
    this album makes me hope in music
  12. AndyH.
    Oct 27, 2005
    8
    Rehearsing My Choir is not a pop album. Fans of the recent wave of indie-pop, including many casual FF fans, will be very frustrated listening to this. But the Friedburgers know what they're doing, and are doing it better than anyone out there right now. The torrent of bad reviews from the music critics seem to reflect a confusion about the execution of this project; what it's Rehearsing My Choir is not a pop album. Fans of the recent wave of indie-pop, including many casual FF fans, will be very frustrated listening to this. But the Friedburgers know what they're doing, and are doing it better than anyone out there right now. The torrent of bad reviews from the music critics seem to reflect a confusion about the execution of this project; what it's suppose to mean, etc... but in the end there's really nothing to "get". RMC should be thought of as a very large, colorful, convoluted mural, to be appreciated as a whole, and overanalyzing it is missing the point. The storied soundscape of this album is unique and brilliant, reminiscent of some of the best work of The Residents. FF have solidified their place as true artists with this one - but don't worry, if you're a fan and can't handle it, you can rest easy. Bitter Tea will be hear before you know it. Expand
  13. DrewR
    Oct 30, 2005
    8
    The key to "Rehearsing my Choir" is not to approach the album expecting some dancable, friendly indie-pop music. This album is difficult, but considering the Furnaces' catalogue is it that surprising that they've dropped a heady, Joycean, operatic opus on us?
  14. EricD
    Oct 30, 2005
    10
    "Rehearsing my Choir" will be debated by every overextended struggling writer and indie-slob-know-it-all who think they have a stake in the "fruitful landscape" of the contemporary indie scene. The fact of the matter is that this album is beyond any such debate. In fact, it is beyond the indie scene and with that, music in general. "Rehearsing my Choir" is more of a testament to life,: "Rehearsing my Choir" will be debated by every overextended struggling writer and indie-slob-know-it-all who think they have a stake in the "fruitful landscape" of the contemporary indie scene. The fact of the matter is that this album is beyond any such debate. In fact, it is beyond the indie scene and with that, music in general. "Rehearsing my Choir" is more of a testament to life,: with all of its drama and anti-climactic twists. For those who make the argument that it could have been done better or been less prententious, I remind you of two points, First, that is almost word for word what many grim-faced critics said about "Blueberry Boat", perhaps one of the greatest achievements any band has ever released. Second, I need only reference one word "Tommy" - the penultimate benchmark of ambitious, borderline "pretentious", rock operas, also one of the greatest albums ever released. "Rehearsing My Choir" might as well be a historical document written by an alzheimers patient with a great imagination. The twists and unexpected tone variances require the full attention of the listener in the same way a stage performance does. The Freidbergers are able to mix experimentation with sentimentality, avant-garde with nostalgia, expectation and desire. "Rehearsing My Choir" is a masterfully constructed album that should be seen for what it is, not the an exposition of musical literacy, but rather an expression of philosophical concern with life and the way in which memory constructs the past, not the other way around. Expand
  15. Paul
    Apr 26, 2006
    7
    A unique album, worked out better than i expected it to be but overall their least best record.
  16. DrGoob
    Nov 14, 2005
    8
    I was ready to hate this album - it sounds like a horrible concept. But I love it. I have no idea why it has been called 'horrific' 'a disaster' 'exhausting and fruitless' and so on by so many critics. It just isn't. There is so much to like here. Olga's rough voice contrasts wonderfully with Eleanor's sweat tones, and their exchanges are used I was ready to hate this album - it sounds like a horrible concept. But I love it. I have no idea why it has been called 'horrific' 'a disaster' 'exhausting and fruitless' and so on by so many critics. It just isn't. There is so much to like here. Olga's rough voice contrasts wonderfully with Eleanor's sweat tones, and their exchanges are used well in conveying a story (the best example being 'The Wayward Granddaughter'). The lyrics are often extremely rewarding - 'Seven Silver Curses' is an excellent example, as is 'Guns Under The Counter', which is brilliantly surreal. The music is admittedly difficult, but not unrewarding. I especially enjoy the sudden transitions - they often catch you by surprise, which I find incredibly compelling as you're never entirely sure where the song will go next. On the whole this is a very rewarding album. Expand
  17. harveyw
    Nov 1, 2005
    10
    i bought this record after reading an article in the times and i have to say that it's really remarkable. i haven't heard anything like it. it's not the easiest thing to listen to--it's not jingle pop--but it's rich and is way easier than some reviews lead you to think. it's an album you can actually JUST listen to, sitting, absorbing, rather than websurfing i bought this record after reading an article in the times and i have to say that it's really remarkable. i haven't heard anything like it. it's not the easiest thing to listen to--it's not jingle pop--but it's rich and is way easier than some reviews lead you to think. it's an album you can actually JUST listen to, sitting, absorbing, rather than websurfing or chatting with it in the background. it clamors for your full attention. and deserves it. Expand
  18. Kristoffer
    Nov 6, 2005
    8
    Strangely haunting and very off-limits as far as pop music is concerned. I like.
  19. SeanT
    Dec 11, 2005
    8
    it gets a 10 for ingenuity and a 6 for listenability but then again this music is not meant to really enjoy but more so to study and yes there is a place in music for study despite all the people who just like music for dancing.
  20. SpencerM
    Dec 11, 2005
    10
    Critics hated it for not being a pop record; a record they wanted. But it's not supposed to be, you idiots! Who would ever do a pop record with their 83 year-old grandmother?? Nobody has, and nither have the Furnaces. This album is more of a radio show, a theatrically-whimsy and changing-as-is-life collection of sounds that tell the story of Olga Sarantos, the Furnaces' grandma. Critics hated it for not being a pop record; a record they wanted. But it's not supposed to be, you idiots! Who would ever do a pop record with their 83 year-old grandmother?? Nobody has, and nither have the Furnaces. This album is more of a radio show, a theatrically-whimsy and changing-as-is-life collection of sounds that tell the story of Olga Sarantos, the Furnaces' grandma. It's brilliant and if you don't like it not because you don't like Furnaces' style, but because it's too "out there" or "too far", then you're missing out. Expand
  21. KlausF
    Oct 25, 2005
    9
    Like no other record this year, this album makes it stunningly clear just how dull, uncreative, and safe 'avant garde' music has become. Screw the emotionally vacuous noise acts, down with dance-punk, this is a brave and difficult paradigm shift from indie pop's most vital band.
  22. Qualler
    Oct 25, 2005
    10
    It's ridiculous to review this record in the context of other albums, let alone their own other albums, because they're not trying to do what they tried to do on Blueberry Boat or Gallowsbird Bark. If you're giving this a bad review because you think "the grandma's voice is annoying", then you're lazy and an idiot.
  23. jeanniew
    Oct 25, 2005
    10
    i love this. no genre exists for it, yet.
  24. lucys
    Oct 25, 2005
    10
    oooh, matt is dreamy and nuts and genius.
  25. NathanS
    Oct 25, 2005
    9
    People need to stop trying to listen to this like a rock album. It's like a radio play or music theater piece - in the tradition of Harry Partch's "Bitter Music" or Shelley Hirsch's "O Little Town of East New York". Go listen to those albums first and then come back and listen to this one. Then you might appreciate how well it succeeds, both as narrative and as music.
  26. donm
    Oct 25, 2005
    10
    love this, can the furnaces be my friends?
  27. michaels
    Oct 25, 2005
    10
    brilliant.
  28. alexm
    Oct 25, 2005
    10
    i really think this record is invaluable experience for anyone who cares about music. it's out there, but in the best, boldest, blaringest way.
  29. J.Cason
    Oct 26, 2005
    9
    Another challenginhg and rewarding album from the Fiery Furnaces. Unlike most anything you have heard before. If you go in expecting 'songs' or 'traditional-style lyrics' you're bound to be disappointed, but if you're tuned in to the Furnaces particular creative wavelength then you're in for a treat. There is nothing else like this out right now and we Another challenginhg and rewarding album from the Fiery Furnaces. Unlike most anything you have heard before. If you go in expecting 'songs' or 'traditional-style lyrics' you're bound to be disappointed, but if you're tuned in to the Furnaces particular creative wavelength then you're in for a treat. There is nothing else like this out right now and we should be thankful that they're following their muse instead of marching lockstep to anyones idea of what a band, an album, or a song should be. "Rehearsing My Choir" is an album that demands and rewards close attention, and as another great song put it, "It's not what you expected, but it could be right." Expand
  30. hacienda
    Oct 26, 2005
    9
    Although I'd concede that this is more an oral history or musical theater project than a pop record, I find it absolutely fascinating. In a sense, the pitchfork review is right to read it in terms of a cultural analysis, but it's also a lot of fun. The bit about the donut maker / doctor is great, as are countless other moments. And there is some music here as well.
  31. RB
    Oct 27, 2005
    10
    An endlessly rewarding album.
  32. BCW
    Oct 28, 2005
    7
    Slavin' Away is one of the best songs they've ever done, and so is Garfield El, but unlike Blueberry Boat, each song lacks it's own energy that makes it great while simultaneously being unique. Most of the songs just "are".
  33. SimG
    Oct 24, 2005
    8
    You can download this album from amazon by streaming in advance. I like it quite a bit, although not as good as their previous efforts I think the critics are giving it a hard time cause it's over the top. They are overthinking an album that just takes regular stories and makes them magical. Worth a listen.
  34. nickH
    Oct 24, 2005
    10
    This album is total genius. Who would think to make something like this? Only The Fiery Furnaces. Amazing. If you have any music taste at all, you will know this is gold.
  35. PatF.
    Oct 25, 2005
    10
    Best Fiery Furnaces album yet.
  36. PlatypusQuest
    Oct 25, 2005
    9
    I love it. Definitely rewards many listenings, though it CERTAINLY must be listened to from start to finish. As individual songs, it simply doesn't work - but as a whole, it's quite magnificent. This is simply the most ambitious (and pretty much successful) offering in many, many years.
  37. KyleP
    Oct 25, 2005
    10
    Great album, Matt and Eleanor have done it again, with a little help from Olga.
  38. mattyourmother
    Oct 25, 2005
    7
    "if you skip this album, you[']r[e] going to be missing out on the entire world." Why don't you let people make up their own minds about what they do and don't want to listen to? If someone doesn't want to hear this album, then that's their business. Personally, I believe this album is no where near as engaging as 'Blueberry Boat,' but then again I "if you skip this album, you[']r[e] going to be missing out on the entire world." Why don't you let people make up their own minds about what they do and don't want to listen to? If someone doesn't want to hear this album, then that's their business. Personally, I believe this album is no where near as engaging as 'Blueberry Boat,' but then again I didn't particuarly like that album. Listen if you'd like, don't kick yourself for not doing so. Expand
  39. BobX
    Oct 25, 2005
    8
    Probably the strangest record recorded since the likes of captain beefheart. Wehre as the music frames the lyrics in pretty mcuh every other album ever, the exact opposite is true for this album. When the grandmother speaks of being in a hurry, the music speeds up, when she speaks of being a kid the music becomes playful. The structure and sound ofthe music isreflective of the lyrics, not Probably the strangest record recorded since the likes of captain beefheart. Wehre as the music frames the lyrics in pretty mcuh every other album ever, the exact opposite is true for this album. When the grandmother speaks of being in a hurry, the music speeds up, when she speaks of being a kid the music becomes playful. The structure and sound ofthe music isreflective of the lyrics, not vice versa and it makes for perhaps the most complex record ever recorded. Listen to it if you dare :D Expand
  40. melissaa
    Oct 26, 2005
    7
    It was innovative and at times fantastic, but I don't think I'll listen to it exhaustively, the way I do the other three ff albums. Also, their grandmother's voice is nearly unlistenable, masculine and froglike.
  41. hilariousbookbinder
    Oct 26, 2005
    9
    Sublime. Much more indebted to Philip Glass/Robert Wilson, Harry Partch, and Charles Ives than anything rock or pop. I guess as an "indie rock" record it would rate a "42"--trouble is, it's not an "indie rock" record in any way shape or form--so don't be scared, it won't hurt you.
  42. leek
    Oct 26, 2005
    10
    Once again, the Fieries amaze us with something completely out there. Last time it was Blueberry Boat - notice the equally polarized reviews - now it's Rehearsing My Choir. Blueberry boat received more than it's fair share of critical scorn, but it was an unqualified success, RMC is receiving equally polarized reviews and it is equally amazing. The grandmother is amazing, does Once again, the Fieries amaze us with something completely out there. Last time it was Blueberry Boat - notice the equally polarized reviews - now it's Rehearsing My Choir. Blueberry boat received more than it's fair share of critical scorn, but it was an unqualified success, RMC is receiving equally polarized reviews and it is equally amazing. The grandmother is amazing, does anyone else hear how she sounds like Capt. Beefheart? Expand
  43. chrisk
    Oct 27, 2005
    10
    to assign a number to rate this wonderfully creative work feels inappropriate. all facets of this unique musical statement are beyond reproach. from concept to execution, rehearsing my choir is genius. the disparate reviews only indicate that this will go down as one of the all-time misunderstood gems. well, i am glad i get it and happy the fiery furnaces had the foresight to commit their to assign a number to rate this wonderfully creative work feels inappropriate. all facets of this unique musical statement are beyond reproach. from concept to execution, rehearsing my choir is genius. the disparate reviews only indicate that this will go down as one of the all-time misunderstood gems. well, i am glad i get it and happy the fiery furnaces had the foresight to commit their grandmother's stories to recorded history. three cheers for the furnaces! Expand
  44. RonR
    Oct 27, 2005
    9
    Man, people need to lighten up. Not only is this album incredibly fun (what's the point in life if it's not fun?), and tells a very good story. The music (as chaotic as it can get at times) plays it's role well in setting the mood. Concept albums should never be rated the same as "Pop Hits" albums. This one is very good.
  45. human
    Oct 28, 2005
    7
    I'm not a fan, but I liked this enough to recosider their previous output....
  46. AdamX
    Oct 29, 2005
    10
    An album destined to split opinion straight down the middle. I personally find myself adoring this album for it's spirit, vitality and message. It is a perfect late night listen, and an album guaranteed to give a life affirming lesson to those who want to listen. Wonderful.
  47. LouisF
    Oct 31, 2005
    8
    I love the Furnaces. You know why? Because I don't have to wonder why. I just get into this album and get caught in the whirlwind. There's like this strange smile across my mouth which tells me: ''Come on, man, cut this silly racket.'' Won't. Can't. Like the voices too much. Like the sound of the words. Like the dissonance, like the harmony, like I love the Furnaces. You know why? Because I don't have to wonder why. I just get into this album and get caught in the whirlwind. There's like this strange smile across my mouth which tells me: ''Come on, man, cut this silly racket.'' Won't. Can't. Like the voices too much. Like the sound of the words. Like the dissonance, like the harmony, like how they're ordered in weird sequences. Like that, as far as I consider, there is simply no ''attitude''. Just this focused execution of carefully composed segments, a bit like a chamber trio. This is really just one big piece, a piece that plays with me, laughs at me (''Listen!'') and downright spellminds me. Another fine trip. Expand
Metascore
63

Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 25
  2. Negative: 5 out of 25
  1. As a think piece, Rehearsing My Choir is enormously engaging, but as a pop record, it's exhausting and fruitless.
  2. The Fiery Furnaces have delivered another great American novel via guitars, drums, bells, and whistles.
  3. Billboard
    50
    Think of a visit to Nana's house reimagined as alt-Broadway musical theater. [29 Oct 2005]