Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. The Beast in Its Tracks wouldn’t be a Josh Ritter album without at least a few home-runs, and luckily, the hits here are plentiful.
  2. Apr 10, 2013
    80
    Ritter's seventh album may not be quite the same league as Dylan's masterpiece, but post his own divorce it does contain all the same edgy recrimination and pain. [May 2013, p.109]
  3. 80
    The Beast In Its Tracks is a gracious, relentlessly honest, post-breakup record.
  4. Mar 7, 2013
    80
    Happy or sad, these are fine songs. [Apr 2013, p.88]
  5. Mar 7, 2013
    80
    Taken individually, some of Beast‘s songs come across as minor Ritter tracks. Taken as a whole, however, the album stands as an impressive document of Ritter’s journey through an emotional storm.
  6. Mar 5, 2013
    80
    As personal as it feels, The Beast in Its Tracks, like the great breakup records before it (Beck’s “Sea Change” comes to mind), is universal in its scope.
  7. Mar 4, 2013
    80
    The lyrics less elaborate, the music lilting and restrained. But Ritter's directness is emotionally devastating.
  8. He sets his bruised but unbowed soul against a stark musical backing and rediscovers the power of keeping it simple. Beautiful.
  9. Mar 15, 2013
    75
    There is much to admire in the trademark plaintiveness and honesty on his seventh album. [No. 96, p.59]
  10. Mar 11, 2013
    70
    This time around, his musings are openly candid and scarcely metaphorical, a necessary breather from all the stuffy, bookish references spread across his last two efforts.
  11. Mar 5, 2013
    70
    Sparse instrumentation, with Ritter's deftly picked acoustic to the fore, keeps the focus on the lyrics, the post-mortem honesty of which amuse, astonish and occasionally unsettle. [Apr 2013, p.77]
  12. Mar 5, 2013
    70
    There is plenty to enjoy here, though many of his long-time fans will be hoping for a return to the bigger picture next time out.
  13. Mar 4, 2013
    70
    Less expansive than 2010's So Runs the World Away, yet still rich enough in atmosphere to make for a relatively seamless transition, Ritter doesn't just sit at the end of his bed with a guitar and emote into a tape recorder.
  14. Mar 5, 2013
    68
    Beast is contemplative and forgiving, a means of burying one relationship to commit to another, and Ritter nicely evokes the excitement and resignation of such a transition. On the other hand, distance is distance, and much of the album is too cool, too levelheaded, too past tense.
  15. Mar 22, 2013
    55
    Despite the minimal aura throughout, luminous field recordings of Ritter's current girlfriend and concrete scene setting keep this LP from devolving into a series of narrow-minded, scribbled diary entries. [Mar-Apr 2013, p.106]
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 7 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. BKM
    Mar 13, 2013
    8
    Josh Ritter's latest album is easily his most personal to date as he uses the 13 tracks here to mull over the end of old relationships and the beginnings of new ones. The material isn't quite as emotionally wrenching as expected given the source material (Ritter's divorce) but the lyrics are still vivid and poetic and his ear for melodies remains as strong as ever. Full Review »
  2. Mar 11, 2013
    8
    As a long time Josh Ritter fan, I really enjoy this album. It is clearly the most personal of any previous album and anyone who has experienced heartbreak will relate. An easy listen from start to finish which gets better every time through; "Hopeful" stood out as the track I will keep coming back for, but the rest also remind me why I anticipate all of Josh's offerings. Full Review »
  3. Mar 10, 2014
    8
    Ritter continues to hone his ability to write a great lyric accompanied by sweet melodies.

    The Beast In Its Tracks follows an increasingly
    long list of solid and consistently good albums from the Idaho songwriter. When I heard what the albums was written about, the breakup of his marriage, I was expecting a heavy record but despite its subject matter, the album doesn't feel as weighty as some of his other work.
    While the songwriting is of the high standard we associate with Ritter, here his usual folky delivery detracts from any pain or sadness that you might have expected to be invoked on this album. Josh Ritter's albums are always lovely affairs and even on this record, dealing with rejection and loss, he never sounds angry or overly bitter. In a way that Eels write about manic depression with melody and a spring in the step, this album is probably one of the most upbeat break up albums ever written, tending to focus on the hope of the future while reflecting on the past. This is most obviously seen in the middle section of the album where we get songs like "Hopeful" and "New Lover". "Joy to You Baby", a great song that reflects elements of Van Morrison, comes towards the end of the record and again see's Ritter wishing the one who jilted him all the best.
    The Beast In Its Tracks rushes by and is over before you know and while not Ritter's best or most consistent work, fits in well with his back catalog and sees him continue to hone his ability to write a great lyric accompanied by sweet melodies.
    Full Review »