The Big To-Do

  • Record Label: ATO
  • Release Date: Mar 16, 2010
User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 19 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19

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  1. May 13, 2011
    6
    The Drive-By Truckers can write some good Southern rock riffs, but this album felt less inspired than Brighter than Creation's Dark or Go-Go Boots. There are some interesting songs on here ("Birthday Boy", "This F****ng Job", "The Fourth Night of My Drinking"), but not having a defined concept seems to have zapped the music of its cohesiveness.
  2. Jul 15, 2011
    7
    Probably their most accessible album in terms of catchy songs (maybe I'm wrong). There appears to be something on here for everyone. The guitars crunch like their rockier records like a ten minute Crazy Horse jam, but in respectful restraint. Patterson aims big on this one, with partner in crime Mike Cooley paving the usual territory. His "Birthday Boy" might be the album highlight. ShawnaProbably their most accessible album in terms of catchy songs (maybe I'm wrong). There appears to be something on here for everyone. The guitars crunch like their rockier records like a ten minute Crazy Horse jam, but in respectful restraint. Patterson aims big on this one, with partner in crime Mike Cooley paving the usual territory. His "Birthday Boy" might be the album highlight. Shawna Tucker's contributions are well placed too ("You've Got Another") and Hood keeps it familiar with his direction ("The Wig He Made Her Wear"). Not mellow like their previous effort (Brighter Than Creation's Dark) or the next one after (Go-Go Boots). If you're a fan of the band, you'll enjoy the album. Nothing groundbreaking, but worth every penny. Expand
  3. Oct 18, 2016
    7
    "The Big To-Do" does (most of) what it set out to do.

    As a rock record goes, it's succeeds, as far as variety and lyrical depth, it does stagger a bit. The first four tracks are great. Nothing could stand in the way of this record. That is until we reach "The Wig He Made Her Wear". Structurally, it's not great. And lyrically, I've heard it a million times from Patterson in better ways.
    "The Big To-Do" does (most of) what it set out to do.

    As a rock record goes, it's succeeds, as far as variety and lyrical depth, it does stagger a bit. The first four tracks are great. Nothing could stand in the way of this record. That is until we reach "The Wig He Made Her Wear". Structurally, it's not great. And lyrically, I've heard it a million times from Patterson in better ways. And after this it's only okay until the last two or three. Definitely not a bad listen, but they've done better. Worth a listen to for sure.

    Key Tracks:
    "The Fourth Night of My Drinking"
    "Birthday Boy"
    "Santa Fe"
    "The Flying Wallendas"
    Expand
Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. The Big To-Do features some of the band's most evocative chunks of misery-detailing to date.
  2. 70
    The old comedy adage goes that if it bends, it's funny, but if it breaks, it's not. Tell that to Drive-By Truckers, who break everything in sight yet still strike tragicomic gold every time. The Big To-Do, their eighth full-length, features another cast of walking-dead survivors struggling with their vices in a Faulknerian landscape of rocked-up desperation.
  3. Musically, the DBTs manage a decent range--from big, squalling rockers to teary, lap-steel balladry--albeit without throwing any great surprises. Same old story, to some extent, but one worth hearing again.