Skelethon - Aesop Rock
Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. Nov 26, 2012
    90
    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
    89
    He's found ways to make complexity entertaining and to harness pain in the names of maturity and laughter.
  3. Sep 18, 2012
    85
    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
    83
    The chorus sums up why Skelethon sits comfortably with his best albums: "Take the brain out / Leave the heart in."
  5. Jul 10, 2012
    82
    These beats are bespoke. The rapping has never been better either, with the music tailored to wring maximum tension out of each bar.
  6. Oct 3, 2012
    80
    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
    80
    Skelethon is a wildly energetic, funny, poignant, nostalgic and sad record; the result of huge personal investment on Aesop's behalf.
  8. Jul 18, 2012
    80
    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
    80
    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
    80
    His first solo production, the brooding music on Skelethon is often as intoxicating as the stentorian rhymes.
  12. Jul 10, 2012
    80
    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
    80
    Skelethon ranks among Aesop's greatest work yet.
  14. Jul 9, 2012
    80
    Aesop sounds stronger and sure after taking this journey, making Skelethon his most rewarding effort to date.
  15. 80
    Lacing together 15 tracks this tight is nothing short of a rap lifetime accomplishment. [Aug 2012, p.84]
  16. Jul 5, 2012
    80
    Aesop Rock shows an accomplished ability to join the unflinchingly candid with the unfalteringly compelling.
  17. Jul 5, 2012
    80
    Skelethon is funky, freaky and heavy on the drums.
  18. Jul 11, 2012
    75
    The best compliment to the record is that its omnivorous approach feels right at home today.
  19. Jul 10, 2012
    75
    It may not be his best record, but it absolutely reaffirms why his craft is so vital.
  20. Jul 5, 2012
    75
    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
    70
    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
    70
    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. Jul 9, 2012
    70
    "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. Sep 7, 2012
    60
    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. Aug 22, 2012
    60
    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
    60
    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
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 31 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Jul 11, 2012
    10
    Skelethon 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
    10
    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, 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 10, 2012
    9
    Production wise, this is by far Aesop's best work. He has found away to balance his impeccable vocabulary with a beat style that matches his weird, metaphor based, rhyme style. On the lyrics side, this is definitely his darkest, and possibly his most complex album to date. It doesn't have some of the large syllable usage of "Labor Days", but the level of deepness and subject matter is at its highest. There are certain songs that will bring Aesop fans back, songs resembling track beats on "Bazooka Tooth", but these beats are much more layered and change tempo and bpms throughout the tack. This is the indie rap equivilant of the mainstream rap's "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy". "Tetra" is by far the biggest standout track on the album, changing up beats 3-4 times, and Aesop's lyrics at his best shouting "I wear the same hoodie everyday like Mumra!". Excluding "Tetra", my favorite tracks on the ablum would probably be "Gopher Guts", "Leisurforce", and "Homemade Mummy". I would give this a 9.3/10. Give it a listen; it is definitely his most accessible album to date, and will ease you into his strange style. Full Review »