Set Yourself On Fire

Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. Spin
    91
    Delicate Casio-toned anthems. [Mar 2005, p.91]
  2. Planet
    90
    It's hard to think of a more fully realized album out now. [#9, p.70]
  3. This is a gorgeous pop album that deals maturely with a wide range of emotions and ideas.
  4. Set Yourself On Fire could become your favourite record, and Stars should justifiably be many people's favourite band.
  5. The songs spring from a warm hearth, upping the ante from their well-received sophomore LP, 2003's Heart.
  6. Filter
    86
    This stunning third full-length does an incredible job of riding the highest of highs. [#14, p.101]
  7. Set Yourself on Fire is about breaking up and breaking down, and as such the album feels wontedly cathartic, like the moments right after you hit your emotional nadir and start getting your shit together. Stars handle the mood delicately with few slip-ups; my only complaint is that they never handle much of anything else.
  8. It takes more getting used to than their previous work, but it rewards even more for it.
  9. It’s not that the male-female duo vocals make it or even the moments where the group channels the Delgados in their sublime use of strings and horns; it’s more that Stars has gotten tighter since their last outing.
  10. Entertainment Weekly
    83
    It's sort of an indie-pop Rumours, sans the wooden balls. [11 Mar 2005, p.102]
  11. Stars sound confident enough to set anything on fire.
  12. The New York Times
    80
    Like many of the best indie-pop bands, this one is musically conservative. Rather than chase new forms and sounds, the members are content to perfect the mannered pop song, nodding to forebears and fellow travelers, from Prefab Sprout to the Postal Service. [30 Dec 2004]
  13. In the end, the group proves that its unflinching lyrics and memorable melodies are well suited for songs about warring lovers and war itself.
  14. Blender
    80
    The songs are sincere without sappiness and orchestral without bombast. [Apr 2005, p.125]
  15. Vocalists Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan connect with their audience with the breathy ease of scenester storytellers, sketching out their tales in economical but well-chosen strokes, and the tunes behind them, invariably elegant, are often deceptively cheeerful.
  16. Aside from the added guitar riffs and post-punk tones, Stars stick with a lush string section and neatly placed horns throughout, and their romantic appeal stays largely intact.
  17. Set Yourself on Fire is a release of unexpected dimensions.
  18. Stars rely instead on melody, charisma, and lyrics as sharp as any modern essayist, and it's all they need to sell the quiet grandness of Set Yourself On Fire.
  19. Paste Magazine
    80
    Nothing short of breathtaking. [#14, p.119]
  20. Urb
    80
    Sweet femme fatale vocals, oceanic synth waves and shoegazing guitar riffs abound on these sprawling sound confections. [Jun 2005, p.85]
  21. Most of these powerful pop songs bloom to match the intensity of the feelings they lament.
  22. New Musical Express (NME)
    80
    A marvellous little menagerie of smart, eccentric guitar pop full of arty tics and tricks. [13 Aug 2005, p.58]
  23. Alternative Press
    80
    Sweet without being saccharine. [Mar 2005, p.124]
  24. Contains some of their best work, as well as some of their most indulgent.
  25. Like Ivy and other suave postmodern light-rockers, Stars sounds better in small bites than big gulps.
  26. Fusing elements of Human League’s sophisticated new romantic aesthetic and Belle & Sebastian’s unapologetically arty preciousness, Montreal-based Stars deliver their most consistent effort with Set Yourself on Fire.
  27. It’s fairly impressive that Stars could make a record that comes this close to replicating its predecessor while still offering discrete pleasures of its own.
  28. If this record doesn't quite match Heart, it's a close-run thing.
  29. Under The Radar
    70
    It's a satisfying album, and its richness becomes increasingly apparent on subsequent listens. [#9]
  30. Uncut
    70
    While nothing here quite matches the last album's majestically weary "Elevator Love Letter", Set Yourself On Fire is still quite sublime. [Sep 2005, p.104]
  31. Q Magazine
    70
    An album of some considerable beauty. [Sep 2005, p.118]
  32. Mojo
    60
    It's a little hard to take in one sitting, though downcast fans of Saint Etienne and The Magnetic Fields will find much to adore. [Sep 2005, p.92]
  33. It's too much risk-free computation and not enough wild emotion.
User Score
9.1

Universal acclaim- based on 89 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 56 out of 57
  2. Negative: 0 out of 57
  1. Blake
    Jul 25, 2007
    10
    BEST ALBUM OF ALL TIME!!! Beautiful little gem.
  2. tim
    May 22, 2007
    9
    I forgot about this record. 2005 was such an aweful year it was hard to find true gems in a sea of crap. I used to get them confused with I forgot about this record. 2005 was such an aweful year it was hard to find true gems in a sea of crap. I used to get them confused with Azure Ray, Let's Go Sailing, Midnight Movies, High Violets and Frou Frou so I kind of clumped them in that whole nugazer catagory. This record proves their on a level of their own. Excellent! Full Review »
  3. Logan
    May 14, 2007
    10
    Truly wonderful! Filled with tons and tons marvelous songs from start to finish. Great music that anyone can enjoy.