Metascore
87

Universal acclaim - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 15
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 15
  3. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. Jun 13, 2013
    100
    Listening to this stunning album will provide you with your own moment of clarity. Don’t let it slip away.
  2. Jun 11, 2013
    91
    For the most part Southeastern is pretty serious business. Then again, so is life and the one that Isbell has lived thus far is certainly worth documenting, especially when the songs supporting it are this stunning.
  3. There’s a real dynamic arc here, not just for the album as a whole, but also within each and every individual song, and whether or not you’ve gravitated toward county music in the past, that unrivaled depth of passion makes this record an absolute essential.
  4. Jun 19, 2013
    90
    It’s a poignant, reflective, and very often frank portrayal of humanity’s dual impulses authored by someone who has lived several chapters, yet knows the story is constantly being rewritten.
  5. Jun 17, 2013
    90
    The music remains solidly Southern, using all three chords, but the lyrics reach for new levels of cussedness and vulnerability. [No.99, p.57]
  6. 90
    This album is harrowing and not for the timid, but those who stick with it will be treated to a truthful, moving journey and a master class in songwriting to boot.
  7. Jun 11, 2013
    90
    By any reasonable aesthetic criteria, Southeastern is a triumph.
  8. Oct 31, 2013
    80
    It's Isbell's best album yet, and suggests that he'll do better still. [Dec 2013, p.64]
  9. Oct 16, 2013
    80
    What makes the album itself addictive is Isbell's fusing of gothic Memphis blues and Nashville tenderness. [Nov 2013, p.90]
  10. 80
    The result of his efforts is a celebration of the strength of his character and like his personal journey, Southeastern is story full of meaning and it commands the listener’s full attention.
  11. 80
    Southeastern finds him working in a more stripped-down manner which focuses attention firmly on his songs. Fortunately, they're brilliant: vivid, multi-faceted tales of souls adrift.
  12. Jun 18, 2013
    80
    Just about every song here has a couplet Elvis Costello would be proud to call his own, and the money shot "Elephant" has several.
  13. Jun 11, 2013
    80
    It is, quite frankly, Isbell's best solo album thus far.
  14. Jul 11, 2013
    77
    Southeastern is easily Isbell’s best solo album--his most richly conceived and generously written. If it’s not quite the album that lives up to his considerable talents, it’s mostly the music that’s to blame.
  15. Jun 18, 2013
    70
    Here, he mostly dials back the volume to plumb heavy emotions.
User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 46 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 11
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 11
  3. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. Jun 11, 2013
    9
    His most well rounded album to date. Masterful songwriting. Songs like "Cover Me Up" and "Live Oak" and "Elephant" will stick with you forHis most well rounded album to date. Masterful songwriting. Songs like "Cover Me Up" and "Live Oak" and "Elephant" will stick with you for days. Great album for hitting the road. Full Review »
  2. BKM
    Jun 12, 2013
    8
    Isbell's latest effort is his most personal work to date and features his most consistently excellent songwriting. His smoky, broken voice isIsbell's latest effort is his most personal work to date and features his most consistently excellent songwriting. His smoky, broken voice is perfect for these tales of heartache, loss and loneliness; especially Elephant which may be one of the most shattering narratives he's ever composed. Full Review »
  3. Oct 30, 2013
    10
    I "discovered" Isbell with this album and I am hooked. Great lyrics, haunting melodies and Isbell's distinctive style make each songI "discovered" Isbell with this album and I am hooked. Great lyrics, haunting melodies and Isbell's distinctive style make each song uniquely memorable. I can't play this album enough. Every word has value and you will want to contemplate each story again and again. Blues/folk/country fans...this is the intersection of all. Enjoy! Full Review »