Sweet Heart Sweet Light Image

Universal acclaim - based on 38 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 17 Ratings

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  • Summary: The seventh album for the space rock band was produced by frontman Jason Pierce.
  • Record Label: Fat Possum
  • Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Dream Pop
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 38
  2. Negative: 1 out of 38
  1. Apr 18, 2012
    Truly, Sweet Heart, Sweet Light is one of those gorgeous things and, if nothing else, the most profound late statement Spaceman has given us in a decade.
  2. Apr 25, 2012
    Past albums might have romanticized drugs and booze as the way out, but here it's music, and the album feels more healing as a result, even if its ode to the sweet sounds that came before it presents its own complications and delusions.
  3. Apr 17, 2012
    From its opening moments, in fact, Sweet Heart packs in one of Pierce's most impressive works yet.
  4. Apr 12, 2012
    There's still nothing particularly radio-friendly here and plenty of weirdness to go around, but more than ever the free jazz influences and pulsating drones seem designed to serve the song and not just enhance the listener's physical sensations.
  5. Apr 18, 2012
    Those who have spent endless hours tripping to various corners of the universe with Spiritualized on the stereo might be surprised by how earnest and grounded the great Spaceman sounds here.
  6. Apr 17, 2012
    On songs like the acid-funk "I Am What I Am," co-written with Dr. John, he shows he can scale back with equal power, making lush sounds for lean times.
  7. Apr 16, 2012
    Not only does Sweet Heart Sweet Light hit all patented Spiritualized thematic buttons squarely between the eyes – religion, drugs, sickness and redemption – it is also a record that covers everything with a Wyoming sized scoop of full-fat icky sentiment.

See all 38 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 5
  2. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. Jun 10, 2012
    I've been thinking about this album a lot, which qualifies Jason Spaceman for some kind of lifetime achievement award, or as another critic suggested, a "public service" honor. My first inclination is to compare it to other albums by Spiritualized, because I found myself thinking once this one managed to sink in for what it "is," "this is as good as Pure Phase [my favorite on there being 'These Blues'] and Lazer Guided Melodies." This means a lot, seeing I've been following all the records and seeing the live shows over the last few years, and these thoughts just didn't come up even though I liked what I was hearing each time, a lot. Most people prefer "Ladies and Gentlemen..." above the other LPs, which has some of the best moments in Spiritualized, no doubt. I generally like abstraction, so high points for me have been "Pure Phase" and "Lazer Guided Melodies" (to give the reader some idea, I adore Slowdive's last album "Pygmalion" - very abstract). And I prefer the recently released demos for "Ladies and Gentlemen" a bit more than the actual album, which in parts has always been a little too polished for me, notwithstanding the brilliance of "Come Together" or "Cop Shoot Cop," say. Anyway, this new album I have concluded is among the top four Spiritualized albums - it's the fourth added to the three top-tier entries, in my view, already mentioned, and maybe even the top one; this one seals the deal, a deal I didn't even realize needed to be sealed beforehand. "Sweet Heart, Sweet Light" is probably best seen not in comparison to the others, however, but as a capstone - a real capstone, not the kind of "capstone" administrators want to sign you up for. "I Am What I Am" is one of the finest tautological moments in recent rock n roll, and is on par with "Cop Shoot Cop," to which Dr. John also added piano. The last track, "So Long You Pretty Thing" - whose appeals to Jesus with a new genuineness at first threw me entirely (I was like "huh?" as on the cover) - is perhaps the finest thing Jason Spacemen has ever written. There is a new depth here represented perfectly by the very end of "Hey Jane" where after a set of "Nah Nahs" he and others sing "Sweet heart, sweet light, sweet heart and love of my life." This album takes at least a dozen listens to sink in; even those "Nah Nahs," which for me now are like gates opening up to paradise in the here and now, seemed trite to me on the first few listens ; indeed "Hey Jane" sounded repetitive and lazy to me the first few listens until it came together for me subjectively; now I see it for what it "is" - the mark of an album opened as phenomenally as it is closed ("So Long You Pretty Thing"). When you read very negative reviews of this album, they echo some of my own initial impressions, about how the lyrics are cliched (wishing "one could fly," say), or about fitting a particular Spiritualized prescription we know a bit too well. But here I think you might be hearing from people who didn't give this album enough time. Unlike those who filed a review before giving a nice amount of time, consider giving it two to three weeks, and I'm convinced if Rolling Stone had listened a few more weeks, they would have given this album at least four stars rather than three and a half, which is strong for them as is. The album is stellar. I'd like to point out the wonderfully consistent approach to the lyrics in "I Am What I Am," where things are turned inside out over and over, which is beautifully dialectical (kind of like turning a glove inside out) - "I am the road that drives the cars," for example. There is a conceptual consistency to the lyrics in this song that easily qualifies it as contemporary art; that said, there's a beauty that everyone can get this for ten to twenty five dollars unlike Damien Hirst's prints, say. I disagree that there is nothing new lyrically here: there is a greater variety of entry points to reality and emotions than on earlier records and a (still sophisticated) hope that has me listening to earlier Spiritualized records and thinking "I'm really into where they are right now... I'm happy for them." Also, the references to having "wasted time," 'for real', on this album are new lyrically, matched with a gritty honesty that's also new. Lastly, if you can see them play this one live, do. They played "Stay with me" nestled within these new songs recently. In this case you could hear the new material beginning to "infect" the earlier music in the best way imaginable. Spaceman's vocals at the end of "Stay with me" felt more raw and driven by heart-felt content than on past records, and that's saying something I never thought I'd say. To pay Jason Spaceman a compliment on his own terms, with new album I can finally separate him, as author, from every song he has ever written, and I like what I'm hearing; sounds like best of 2012 to me. Expand
  2. May 20, 2012
    It was a pleasant surprise the first time I listened to "Hey Jane" back at the start of the year, partially because it raised my expectations for this album, but most of all because it's one of the best songs J. Spaceman has ever penned. While the rest of Sweet Heart Sweet Light may not be able to quite rival its quality, it still keeps up a fantastic standard of songwriting, all draped in seemingly effortless orchestral production, from the muscular, exotic-sounding strings of "Get What You Deserve" to the almost cheesy, sweet instrumental section of "Life is a Problem" accompanying forlorn lyrics about Jesus and heaven and recalling "Broken Heart" from that notorious 1997 opus. Still, no-one should go into this album expecting another Ladies and Gentlemen; it's a great record in its own right. Expand
  3. May 26, 2012
    Already highly successful classical intro introduces effectively in the climate of the Spiritualized's album - "Sweet Heart Sweet Light". Songs like "Hey Jane" or "I Am What I Am" show the best side of the space rock, which was also on the disc enriched with elements of neo-psychedelia, while more subdued songs - such as "Mary", "Freedom" or "Too Late" are characterized by insertions deriveng from classic rock. Expand
  4. Apr 20, 2012
    Pretty typical post-Floating in Space Spiritualized. Nothing new lyrically here - plenty of brooding about religion, death, etc., though I would say it's more upbeat Pierce's past productions. There are some really great moments here: Hey Jame reminds me of Ghost is Born era Wilco with its breezy guitar shading into harsh distortion and Mary is a slinky, fuzzy blues piece that represents Spiritualized at its best. But the album as a whole just isn't memorable for me. Certainly this reveals a bias of mine, but when I more or less already know how an album is going to sound before it's released, I have a hard time being that enthusiastic in review. Expand
  5. Apr 17, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. If you've heard the previous three Spiritualized albums, then you've already heard Sweet Heart Sweet Light. The album sounds more uplifting than the previous three albums, but the overall sound is dull. More songs about God, Jesus, the Lord, something set on fire, something being on a roll, about how he's not getting into heaven, etc.. That said, there are four good songs on the album and "Hey Jane" is by far the best song I've heard in years. Too bad the album goes downhill after track 2. Expand