Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle


Universal acclaim - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. 80
    Eagle is as good as anything he's ever done.
  2. To that extent Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle seems like a return to older pastures--Callahan’s vocals again dominate, the production is more intimate, the songs themselves are again driven forward by the self-same rhythmic percussion and simple guitar riffs that became Callahan’s signature style over the last decade.
  3. His vantage from Eagle is one of textured ambivalence; his images split and shimmer like double-exposures, immediately releasing an obvious meaning quickly followed by a subtler one that equivocates the first.
  4. If "Woke On A Whaleheart" (2007) was the cuckoo clock, Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle‘s Callahan’s triumphant Renaissance.
  5. Eagle is the ultimate cohesion of Callahan’s singular storytelling and bewitching delivery.
  6. It is perhaps a seminal new chapter in Callahan's oeuvre of higher yet lo-fi outsider music.
  7. The entire first half of Eagle shows Callahan as a much more evolved and mature musician. He appears more comfortable expanding his musical space, and he exercises tasteful restraint with Beattie’s strings.
  8. Consistently literate and full of the comfortable resonance of his unique voice, Eagle once again proves Callahan to be as ageless as the forest.
  9. While the dewy-eyed mood of his last album, "Woke on a Whaleheart," suggested Callahan's romantic entanglement with Joanna Newsom had turned his brain to mush, this miraculous return to form finds the artist formerly known as Smog losing his girl, but rediscovering his mojo.
  10. It's reminiscent at times to what pal and label stablemate Will Oldham did on Bonnie "Prince" Billy Sings Greatest Palace Music.
  11. 2007's stellar Woke on a Whaleheart found him miles from Smog's lo-fi folk prophesies, the music revived, almost jubilant. Eagle's halfway there but sounds preoccupied, his stoic baritone never giving too much away.
  12. He’s resonating some true beauty here; entirely lost in his nostalgic feelings and openly retrospective about where he has been, Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle is absolutely beautiful.
  13. It’s that prickliness that makes this record intriguing, and durable enough to reward repeat listens.
  14. The music is imaginative like a good dream--not the kind some of his older records intimated, the kind in which you’re walking but can’t move forward.
  15. The uneven Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle finds Callahan's knack for twangy crispness, pastoral imagery, and stone-faced singing very much intact, though he adopts a distinct growl to utter the title of 'My Friends.'
  16. As if in an attempt to gain the attributes of the album’s namesake bird, the songs on Eagle feel like they’re rising on thermals, shifting and soaring effortlessly where the wind takes them. And occasionally they dive right for your throat.
  17. This may not have any of the hard-hitting jabs his best Smog records had, but I Wish We Were An Eagle is a subtler, more bittersweet heartbreak.
  18. Callahan sprinkles his world-weary perspective with enough wry humor to make the album pleasant and endearing.
  19. What makes Eagle so strong is that the music stayed light, and those bucolic splashes of washed-out color contrast so well against Bill Callahan’s blues.
  20. Under The Radar
    There are moments peaking around 'The Wind And The Dove' with its gauzy Wurlitzer and "Thief Of Baghdad arrangements. Later, 'Rococo Zephyr' and 'My Friend' start in interesting places but slowly dissolve into the album's clunky tail section. [Spring 2009, p.65]
  21. Mojo
    Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle is a record of grand hopes and epic imagery, and powerful, uplifting music--the most accomplished of his 20-year career. [Apr 2009, p.102]
  22. Q Magazine
    The overlong 'Faith/Void' aside, this is another absorbing collection. [Apr 2009, p.100]

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 31 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 6
  2. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. May 1, 2012
    Bill Callahan doesn't quite measure up to his previous recordings on this one.
    Revamped lyrics to Faith/Void: "It's time to put Smog
    Bill Callahan doesn't quite measure up to his previous recordings on this one.
    Revamped lyrics to Faith/Void: "It's time to put Smog awaaaaaaaaaaaay..."
    Full Review »
  2. Joanna
    Apr 28, 2009
    One of the best albums of 2009 for me.
  3. GrantMacMillan
    Apr 24, 2009