Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 43 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 41 out of 43
  2. Negative: 0 out of 43
  1. Apr 8, 2013
    80
    Shaking the Habitual isn't as cohesive or accessible as Silent Shout, and after experiencing the whole thing, fans may not return to it often, but it's hard to deny that it's an often stunning work of art.
  2. Apr 8, 2013
    90
    The Knife has created a work of art that’s not just a dream waiting to be realized, but a living, breathing reality that’s waking you up to what’s possible in the wildest of imaginations.
  3. Apr 8, 2013
    84
    It is the Knife's most political, ambitious, accomplished album, but in a strange way it also feels like its most personal.
  4. Apr 9, 2013
    80
    Less dazzling than Silent Shout, but The knife still create a world like no one else's. [May 2013, p.105]
  5. Apr 1, 2013
    90
    This duo's songs are genetic pop mutations, scampering out of control. [Apr 2013, p.73]
  6. Apr 9, 2013
    80
    While synth stomp Full Of Fire circles the (twisted) dancefloor, the bias is for brave, immersive, and high-risk music. [May 2013, p.88]
  7. Apr 8, 2013
    70
    Seven years later, they've released a 94-minute follow-up that explores even wilder styles of mordantly nutso android bleat.
  8. Sporadically brilliant, perhaps it is The Knife’s Inland Empire--a fearless piece of work with its own logic, one that shears away all safety nets.
  9. Apr 9, 2013
    91
    Shaking The Habitual has minor drawbacks—it wastes too much time on shambling instrumentals, and a wall-to-wall rager would have been great—but this brother-sister team is still heroically alienating and giddily perverse.
  10. Apr 1, 2013
    85
    This is The Knife's show--and we're not allowed to forget that. [Mar-Apr 2013, p.93]
  11. Apr 8, 2013
    90
    If you admire The Knife’s music for its incredible unpredictability and off-the-scale inventiveness, you are likely to consider this to be at least amongst their best work yet.
  12. Apr 8, 2013
    90
    They've never sounded more in tune with the materiality of sound or the sonorousness of the physical world.
  13. Apr 2, 2013
    70
    Shaking the Habitual is an entity entirely unto itself; a warm chaos that drinks you in.
  14. Apr 4, 2013
    60
    Shaking the Habitual's problem is that the Knife seem to have dismissed the idea of making your point concisely as merely another affectation of a decadent and corrupt society.
  15. Apr 9, 2013
    91
    It shouldn’t work--they went all or nothing. They got all.
  16. 90
    Learning how to untangle one of the richest experimental albums of recent memory becomes a challenge well worth the undertaking.
  17. Apr 11, 2013
    60
    Shaking The Habitual is full of thrillingly percussive highs and brilliantly deranged vocals, but overall its anti-pop move is more typical than radical.
  18. Apr 8, 2013
    70
    Of the album's 90-odd minutes (emphasis on odd), Shaking the Habitual features maybe 16 or 17 that fall into place within a canon that also includes the rubbery robo-funk of "Heartbeats" and the atmospheric devastation of "Silent Shout," though in most cases those minutes are buried inside much longer songs, consigning anything remotely hooky into the realm of affectation.
  19. Apr 4, 2013
    90
    Shaking The Habitual is quite simply a triumph, a bold and experimental statement.
  20. Apr 1, 2013
    90
    Shaking the Habitual is something else, but it’s hard not to find that profoundly exhilarating.
  21. Apr 8, 2013
    66
    The Knife’s sound and vision--and the members’ unrelenting oddness--seem to slightly buckle under the weight of their idealism.
  22. May 30, 2013
    80
    While the Knife seem to have outlined a much clearer vision for what they were trying to achieve, they do so, crucially, through experimentation starting outward from their own comfort zones, and with almost zero lyrical element.
  23. Apr 8, 2013
    80
    Despite clear flaws though, enthusiastically raving about the album, even when taking into account that a third of it (including those aforementioned ten minutes of Fracking… ) is borderline irritating, feels entirely justified, rather than an exercise in willful perversion, thanks to the quality of everything else on offer.
  24. Apr 9, 2013
    80
    Easy listening this is not, but Shaking the Habitual is at least bold and brash, the work of a band hungry to explore strange sonic textures.
  25. 70
    This music has deep weirdness but incredible will and charisma.
  26. Apr 16, 2013
    85
    Shaking proves from the get-go to be easily the most ambitious and defiantly challenging release in either Dreijer sibling's catalog. [No. 97, p.57]
  27. Apr 9, 2013
    80
    However difficult the album may be, it's a rare pleasure to see artists who know how to make great pop songs eschewing expectations, growing beyond their previous oeuvre and audience to pursue a brave creative path into genuine 21st century music.
  28. Apr 2, 2013
    80
    Self-possessed and uncompromising, this is a record with regal bearing.
  29. Apr 24, 2013
    80
    It's inscrutable and inspired, and this time mystique has nothing to do with it. [Apr 2013, p.51]
  30. Apr 4, 2013
    80
    Both heavy and cumbersome and light and uncertain, it will prove difficult for some to find an entrance to it, but once you’re inside you’ll find yourself enveloped by its bold experimentation and the stunning way they execute it.
  31. 70
    It’s an admirable pool of ideas, thrilling noises, rare, unpredictable melodies and a huge amount of imagination but to be brutally frank, it doesn’t encourage repeat listens.
  32. If any record of this relatively young year demands your full attention then Shaking the Habitual is it, as it opens up as a vast chasm of unexpected possibilities, and despite any possible subconscious misgivings, you’ll immediately want to jump in without thinking twice.
  33. 80
    It's long (nearly 100 minutes), strange, disturbing, uncomfortable, challenging. But it never fails to fascinate.
  34. Apr 16, 2013
    80
    The resulting album, unsurprisingly enough, contains their most texturally diverse work to date.
  35. 80
    At its most compelling, Shaking the Habitual is racked with lust, anger and urgent, quaking rhythms.
  36. Apr 11, 2013
    80
    It would be incorrect to say that the duo is pushing “weird” to its sonic limits; “curiosity,” mostly in the space of the extremes of human personality, would be most apropos.
  37. 90
    At Shaking the Habitual’s core are the processes of deconstruction and reconstruction, so rare in the tradition of mostly reiterative pop music that the album feels transgressive, even though its underlying ideologies are reasonable rather than radical.
  38. Apr 2, 2013
    90
    While some of the abstract material here is frustratingly opaque, how many other ‘pop’ acts can you name that would have the brass cojones to drop a near 20-minute track right in the middle of their record? Astonishing.
  39. Apr 12, 2013
    90
    They massage the album's plentiful organic charges into a sonic puzzle with an almost symphonic reach, one that's as challenging, bounteous, and ultimately unknowable as anything you'll hear this year.
  40. Apr 11, 2013
    90
    Regardless of whether they're successful or not isn't quite the point; what makes Shaking the Habitual so important is that The Knife used an important moment in their own history to truly subvert the hierarchy that both the band and the album exist in. Thankfully, they also wrote some near-perfect music in the process.
  41. 83
    Judicious use of the skip button to find the tracks on which Andersson’s transfixing voice is front and center, results in a much more rewarding, immediate experience.
  42. 100
    An exciting, multivalent Dreijer sibling showcase. Karin provides saving shades of humanity by exercising the vocal cords nature gave her. But Olof's imagination, sense of humor, and bent rebop carry the day.
User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 80 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. Apr 9, 2013
    10
    Their most experimental album so far. An, maybe not as good a Silent Shout (which is impossible) but it's in another level. I find that almost all the songs are great somehow, and this is something difficult to reach. Full Review »
  2. Apr 10, 2013
    10
    An incredibly brave album. The Knife should be applauded for simply attempting this, most bands wouldn't dare take the risk. The music itself is very inspiring, makes you want to be creative. It opens up a whole world of possibilities. Full Review »
  3. Apr 9, 2013
    9
    Shaking The Habitual is completely unlike the rest of the Knife's discog. Deep Cuts it's not. Oh no, it's an outrageously different beast altogether. If Silent Shout was the door leading into experimentalism, STM is the 3-story mansion they enter. Track after track are filled to excess with noises, detailed layers of sounds interweaving every which-way. Not to mention ambient, droney landscapes that almost make me think of Godspeed! if they were an electronic band. The Knife really take a left turn on terms of how different it really is from their other previous releases.

    All In All, Shaking The Habitual is a challenging piece of music, it really takes a lot to fully digest. But once it hits you, it's unlike any album you'll ever have the pleasure to listen too this year. A-
    Full Review »