• Record Label: V2
  • Release Date: Apr 11, 2006
User Score
9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 36 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 36
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 36
  3. Negative: 1 out of 36

Review this album

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling
  1. TecloE
    Apr 29, 2006
    0
    Horrible music.
  2. TripS
    Oct 4, 2006
    10
    Best CD of 2006, hands down, and Ritter's breakthrough album.
  3. Eric
    Apr 10, 2006
    10
    Doesn't get much better than this
  4. MartinA
    Apr 12, 2006
    9
    Pretty close to a masterpiece.
  5. RickardB
    May 16, 2006
    8
    A very good record. I really enjoyed the last three albums, and this is surely as good as the others, which means its great!
  6. kevint
    May 30, 2006
    8
    A great album. Girl in the War and Thin Blue Line are worth the purchase alone. Saw him live recently and he was excellent. Full of emotion.
  7. 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.
  8. GarthE
    Jun 18, 2006
    7
    Strong-yes, different-not so much. Typifies the singer-songwriter but doesn't expand on it. If you buy this Album, which is worth several or more listens, do not buy Jason Collett's debut, as Ritter's could easly fall by the wayside. Like it, not in a love sort of way.
  9. GeorgeB
    Apr 11, 2006
    8
    On early listens, this collection does not impress with the same immediacy as "Hello Starling," but appears to reward with repeated listens. The mood is darker and the lyrics reflect his unease with global developments. This may or may not be his breakthrough disc...here's hoping it is!
  10. TomN
    Apr 11, 2006
    10
    There is something incredibly compelling about Josh Ritters music. While Josh Ritter has always been an interesting artist, his music sounded far too similar to Elliot Smith, and his ilk. This album however breaks away from the legions of moping singer songwriters, with its incredible lush arrangements which clearly have been enhanced by producer Brian Deck (Iron & Wine, Wheat, Modest There is something incredibly compelling about Josh Ritters music. While Josh Ritter has always been an interesting artist, his music sounded far too similar to Elliot Smith, and his ilk. This album however breaks away from the legions of moping singer songwriters, with its incredible lush arrangements which clearly have been enhanced by producer Brian Deck (Iron & Wine, Wheat, Modest Mouse). I have been listening to this album continuously for hours now and doubt I will stop anytime soon. This album is best of the year so far and I doubt it will be topped. Expand
  11. Brendan
    Apr 12, 2006
    10
    This is an amazing album...Enjoy!
  12. 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 Josh's folk style, but he doesn't just imitate his influences. More than on Hello Starling even, you can hear an eclectic soundscape.
  13. matta
    Apr 13, 2006
    9
    Very impressive, emotionally moving stuff. This is currently in my top five of the year so far and I can't really imagine it slipping much further from that spot. His lyrics aren't as good as has been noted my some publications, but what he lacks in that department, he makes up for in sheer emotion and a great voice (Brian Deck's genius production doesn't hurt either). Very impressive, emotionally moving stuff. This is currently in my top five of the year so far and I can't really imagine it slipping much further from that spot. His lyrics aren't as good as has been noted my some publications, but what he lacks in that department, he makes up for in sheer emotion and a great voice (Brian Deck's genius production doesn't hurt either). Definitely worth your money. Expand
  14. shannonf
    Apr 23, 2006
    10
    amazing. he is the most under-rated musician of my generation. ireland know's what's up- only they have seemed to give him the credit he deserves
  15. brianc
    May 16, 2006
    10
    great album that i recommend to all my friends. lyrics touch important and timely topics
  16. 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. 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.
  17. JohnK
    Apr 18, 2006
    10
    I've listened to the album close to 26 times straight through over the past few weeks, and I am still finding it interesting, and provocative. Ritter is an incredibly talented songwriter, and this is his best album of the other three that I've heard. While it is not groundbreaking, it is the best album of the year so far.
  18. 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 lyrical ability with just enough injection of personality to set him apart from his contemery. Surely this is his time.
  19. 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 listen to these songs.
  20. 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 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 thisI 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
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. Mojo
    80
    Despite having some of Ritter's least introspective lyrics, there are some of his most emotionally affecting songs. [Apr 2006, p.98]
  3. His voice - think Springsteen without the gruffness, or maybe a meat-eating James Taylor - is more intimate than ever.