Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
Buy On
  1. Nov 26, 2012
    For Skelethon is the kind of record an artist only makes once in their career; the culmination of long-gestation, departing loved ones and having to innovate out of your comfort zone.
  2. Jul 27, 2012
    He's found ways to make complexity entertaining and to harness pain in the names of maturity and laughter.
  3. Sep 18, 2012
    However challenging or confusing his rhymes can be, the songs still work with their combination of banging beats, rich lyricism, and twisted humor.
  4. Jul 10, 2012
    The chorus sums up why Skelethon sits comfortably with his best albums: "Take the brain out / Leave the heart in."
  5. Jul 10, 2012
    These beats are bespoke. The rapping has never been better either, with the music tailored to wring maximum tension out of each bar.
  6. The Wire
    Oct 3, 2012
    His murky but upbeat productions augment this sensation, giving Skelethon a sort of B-boy gothic feel, an old school park jam recreated by Tim Burton. [Sep 2012, p.74]
  7. Aug 2, 2012
    Skelethon is a wildly energetic, funny, poignant, nostalgic and sad record; the result of huge personal investment on Aesop's behalf.
  8. Magnet
    Jul 18, 2012
    Skelethon finds the stealth-drawling rapper swallowing his wise-as-his-namesake words, then spitting out more quixotic phrasing and racing, racy syllables than Busta Rhymes might if he was on a hot martini of Red Bull, moonshine and methamphetamine. [No.89, p.52]
  9. 80
    Now, he's removed all high concepts and stripped both the music and his voice bare, and Skelethon makes you feel that vulnerability and emotion--it's real stuff.
  10. Jul 13, 2012
    Aesop has tremendous control for a syllable-stuffer; he's Kweli with restraint, knowing when to rein in the racehorse flow and slow down for emphasis, never loosening his grip long enough to stumble over the vigorous drum-driven beats, which - to the benefit of Aesop's gruff narration - are simple and unobtrusive and angry and allow whatever he's talking about at the moment ... to sound not only compelling, but also hard.
  11. Jul 10, 2012
    His first solo production, the brooding music on Skelethon is often as intoxicating as the stentorian rhymes.
  12. Jul 10, 2012
    More than ever he seems to accept his differences and embrace them, making an album that is more a solid work of art than anything previous.
  13. Jul 10, 2012
    Skelethon ranks among Aesop's greatest work yet.
  14. Jul 9, 2012
    Aesop sounds stronger and sure after taking this journey, making Skelethon his most rewarding effort to date.
  15. Alternative Press
    Jul 5, 2012
    Lacing together 15 tracks this tight is nothing short of a rap lifetime accomplishment. [Aug 2012, p.84]
  16. Jul 5, 2012
    Aesop Rock shows an accomplished ability to join the unflinchingly candid with the unfalteringly compelling.
  17. Jul 5, 2012
    Skelethon is funky, freaky and heavy on the drums.
  18. Jul 11, 2012
    The best compliment to the record is that its omnivorous approach feels right at home today.
  19. Jul 10, 2012
    It may not be his best record, but it absolutely reaffirms why his craft is so vital.
  20. Jul 5, 2012
    This is still a consistently great set of songs, and the album another major accomplishment for Aesop Rock--but it's still there on the edges, keeping a great record from becoming another classic from one of our best working emcees.
  21. Aug 28, 2012
    At its best the album is transportive, realizing surprisingly complex snapshots straight from the Aesop's brain... When the album misses, the experience can be unfortunately stressful, unnecessarily serious, and lacking in healthy self-awareness. Luckily these moments are in the minority.
  22. Jul 18, 2012
    Ultimately, fans of Aesop will love this release, but those who have yet to find a reason to listen to his music won't find one here.
  23. Under The Radar
    Jul 9, 2012
    "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Racing Stripes" alone produce an image more three-dimensional than just about anything hip-hop can dish out. [Jun 2012, p.161]
  24. Q Magazine
    Sep 7, 2012
    Although his monotone becomes a little wearing over an entire album, this is still his best work in a long time. [Oct 2012, p.106]
  25. The Source
    Aug 22, 2012
    By bringing in different talents from the indie/underground scene, Aesop keeps his core satisfied while sticking to a formula that he knows works for him. [#254, p.89]
  26. Jul 27, 2012
    There's not nearly enough of Aesop living up to his impressive talent.
  27. 60
    Named after a fabulist, yes, but still not quite fabulous.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 36 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 9
  2. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. Jul 11, 2012
    Skelethon is an album that contains multitudes. Much like they say about people. This is perhaps because it is the work of an artist trulySkelethon is an album that contains multitudes. Much like they say about people. This is perhaps because it is the work of an artist truly coming into their own and giving himself fully to a project at the peak of his ability. On the album, Aesop Rock (a.k.a. Ian Bavitz) handles nearly all the production work (though he gets assistance from Rob Sonic, DJ Big Wiz, Grimace Federation and Dirty Ghosts Full Review »
  2. Nov 15, 2012
    This album is what is right with hip hop. It is creative and intelligent to the point of nearly being self aware. Listening to the album, oneThis album is what is right with hip hop. It is creative and intelligent to the point of nearly being self aware. Listening to the album, one cannot help but hear in it the soundtrack of one's nightmares- but in a good way. Dark and obtuse but not off putting, Skelethon bears repeated listening. Full Review »
  3. Jul 13, 2012
    Skelethon is a beast of album with many faces ready to turn corners at break-neck speed and leave you with beads of sweat on your brow. ThisSkelethon is a beast of album with many faces ready to turn corners at break-neck speed and leave you with beads of sweat on your brow. This is not easy listening and if you aren't up to being challenged take a pass on it, no harm no fowl. If you are then you will be rewarded. Aes' wordplay and flow are top notch and turned up throughout. He took the helm of producing this one himself and it paid off. Tracks are tight and drums driving, nothing gets lost in the mix.

    A test of any piece of art, being painting, film, sculpture or music, is if can illicit an emotion that is unable to be conveyed in any other medium. "Ruby 81'" comes to mind immediately in this description, I do not believe that the emotion it communicates could be reached in any other medium; it is a mix of sadness, tension, relief and ennui. The same could be said about much of the rest of the album. Just when you think you are listening to a twist on your average banger filled with braggadocio (Tetra) it takes an almost delicate dip and back again. Lighthearted tracks are few but there are plenty of moments where you can enjoy tracks at face value. "Grace" is grin worthy from start to finish and "Racing Stripes" is downright joyful and jubilant.

    When Skelethon turns dark is is pitch pantone black. The album ender "Gopher Guts" is such a sobering slap in the face you might want to call your mom and tell her you love her, think about how you treat your friends and maybe write a letter to someone you miss. Despite it's variance, Skelethon is much more than the sum of it's parts. Taken together, it is a harrowing look into the mind of someone brave enough to let others in. Aesop Rock has produced and wrote and preformed an album that excels in every aspect of what art, not just music and not just hip hop, can be.
    Full Review »