The Animal Years

  • Record Label: V2
  • Release Date: Apr 11, 2006
Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 13 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 13
  2. Negative: 0 out of 13
  1. Entertainment Weekly
    91
    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]
  2. An album that sounds simultaneously deeply personal and in tune with confusing times.
  3. Mojo
    80
    Despite having some of Ritter's least introspective lyrics, there are some of his most emotionally affecting songs. [Apr 2006, p.98]
  4. His voice - think Springsteen without the gruffness, or maybe a meat-eating James Taylor - is more intimate than ever.
  5. Q Magazine
    80
    Melodic, understated, yet with much natural warmth too, Ritter's time has surely come. [Apr 2006, p.119]
  6. While he retains his literate tongue and expressive voice, there is far less humor on Animal Years than on his previous two outings.
  7. The Animal Years feels effortless.
  8. The New York Times
    70
    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]
  9. Uncut
    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]
  10. Under The Radar
    70
    There's something subtly majestic and quitely engaging about the music of Josh Ritter. [#13, p.88]
  11. Animal Years sounds unsettled: the arrangements are far too bombastic for this record's purposes.
  12. On the whole, Animal Years seems dashed off. Of course, dashed off by a clever songwriter with a helluva voice makes Animal Years a decent album.
  13. 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.

Awards & Rankings

User Score
9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 36 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 20
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 20
  3. Negative: 1 out of 20
  1. 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. Full Review »
  2. 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. Full Review »
  3. Patrick
    Feb 18, 2007
    10
    Exceptional! I bought the CD after hearing "Girl In the War" on the radio. The song really caught my ear and I was intrigued with the lyrics. Exceptional! I bought the CD after hearing "Girl In the War" on the radio. The song really caught my ear and I was intrigued with the lyrics. After listening to a few more cuts on I-tunes I decided to buy the CD. I'm extremely glad I did! I love this CD! I am now a Josh Ritter fan and can't wait to hear his next effort. Full Review »