The Animal Years - Josh Ritter
The Animal Years Image
Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 13 Critics What's this?

User Score
9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 36 Ratings

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  • Summary: Brian Deck (Modest Mouse) produced the Idaho singer-songwriter's fourth album and major-label debut.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 13
  2. Negative: 0 out of 13
  1. An album that sounds simultaneously deeply personal and in tune with confusing times.
  2. He finally has the sumptuous, sweeping arrangements to go along with his ruminative road stories and stream-of-consciousness, Dylanesque folk. [14 Apr 2006, p.86]
  3. The Animal Years feels effortless.
  4. 80
    Despite having some of Ritter's least introspective lyrics, there are some of his most emotionally affecting songs. [Apr 2006, p.98]
  5. 70
    There's a tendency to drift rather than fully engage, but... "Wolves" and... "Thin Blue Line"... dazzle with poetic imagery and invention. [Apr 2006, p.102]
  6. Through previous albums, his love songs and narratives have grown ever more phantasmagorical, and now he's writing oracular meditations. Love and war, faith and music, restlessness and a longing for home pervade his new songs, which might turn pretentious if they weren't so grounded in folky melody. [10 Apr 2006]
  7. He establishes grand lyrical arches, overworked symbols, and Deep Meaning. Problem is, he forgets any of the emotion, realism, or originality that would make anyone care.

See all 13 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 20
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 20
  3. Negative: 1 out of 20
  1. Aug 6, 2011
    10
    My personal favorite album of all time, closely followed by Dylan's Blood on the Tracks. I can't stress enough how important it is to listenMy personal favorite album of all time, closely followed by Dylan's Blood on the Tracks. I can't stress enough how important it is to listen to these songs. Expand
  2. AlexK
    May 5, 2006
    10
    One of the best blendings of atmospheric swells, rootsy grit and shuffle, and smart, story-telling lyrics I've ever heard. He is amazing.
  3. TripS
    Oct 4, 2006
    10
    Best CD of 2006, hands down, and Ritter's breakthrough album.
  4. Matt
    Apr 13, 2006
    9
    Stylus Magazine is an especially bad review source - typical that I would have another disagreement with them here. The Animal Years keeps up Stylus Magazine is an especially bad review source - typical that I would have another disagreement with them here. The Animal Years keeps up Josh's folk style, but he doesn't just imitate his influences. More than on Hello Starling even, you can hear an eclectic soundscape. Expand
  5. AndrewG
    Jun 29, 2006
    9
    Truly magnificent, surely the top of the pile of the recent surge of american singer-songwriters. Ritter has an increadible melodic and Truly magnificent, surely the top of the pile of the recent surge of american singer-songwriters. Ritter has an increadible melodic and lyrical ability with just enough injection of personality to set him apart from his contemery. Surely this is his time. Expand
  6. Feb 2, 2012
    8
    I wouldn't quite go as far as to say it's a classic but it is certainly a great album from the American pop/folk writer. 11 very good tracksI wouldn't quite go as far as to say it's a classic but it is certainly a great album from the American pop/folk writer. 11 very good tracks on this record and shows mature progression from his previous effort Hello Starling. The song writing here is as strong as Springsteen's or Dylan's and lyrically it's pretty close to faultless. Perhaps a few more upbeat melodies would have gained this one an extra point or two. Expand
  7. TecloE
    Apr 29, 2006
    0
    Horrible music.

See all 20 User Reviews