The Bravest Man in the Universe


Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. Jun 14, 2012
    It's eminently clear these producers know exactly when to assert themselves and when to stay out of the soul legend's way to achieve the most captivating results possible.
  2. It's bold, cathartic, and essential; a candidate for not only one of 2012's best, but one of the most important records in all of American soul.
  3. 91
    At times the dribs of Gorillaz-style glitch don't quite fit, making some songs on The Bravest Man in the Universe feel more like clever remixes than organic moments. Still, Womack shines.
  4. Jun 11, 2012
    For as haunting as parts of the album are, there is no fetishization of death on the parts of Albarn and Russell; even with a tinge of melancholy coloring the fringes of the album, this is an album that affirms the power of life, in all of its mess and glory.
  5. Jun 12, 2012
    The result confronts old age without giving in to self-pity. It earns its title.
  6. Magnet
    Jul 24, 2012
    The dramatic new music made by Bobby Womack - a true survivor - is an important listening session for any serious music lover. [No.89, p.60]
  7. Jun 12, 2012
    While The Bravest Man In The Universe bears little surface relation to Womack's best-known music, it is-like "Stylo"-in line spiritually with what Womack's all about.
  8. Q Magazine
    Oct 12, 2012
    It's to Russell and Albarn's eternal credit, then, that they not only noticed but reach out and made this wonderful record happen. [Jul 2012, p.99]
  9. The Wire
    Jul 24, 2012
    The gift that this record has offered him is the gift of being who he is once again. [Jul 2012, p.59]
  10. Mojo
    Jun 25, 2012
    The Bravest Man impresses on a steadily rising graph as Womack's soul-soaked voice humanises the machinery in ways rarely heard these days. [Jul 2012, p.84]
  11. Jun 15, 2012
    We are in the presence of mad, brilliant, soulful genius and there is no choice but to surrender.
  12. 80
    The Bravest Man in the Universe is the sound of that perseverance in the form of an album, but it's also Womack at his darkest and most vulnerable.
  13. 80
    The Bravest Man in the Universe doesn't need much of a buffer as it quietly approaches its essence with backing tracks, loops, bouts of acoustic guitar and piano all holistically orbiting around the central component of the album, Womack's unblemished vocals.
  14. A passionate, heartfelt, serious, dogged effort, pregnant with reflection and as wise as you could hope for.
  15. Jun 11, 2012
    Overall this is a deeply satisfying meeting of many minds.
  16. 80
    It's been a long time coming, and all the more welcome for it.
  17. Jun 8, 2012
    The Bravest Man In The Universe is a success. It doesn't re-invent Womack as some sort of lost beacon of soul, nor is it an ersatz look at the career trajectory of a legendary figure. Instead the album posits Womack as a restless spirit, ever expository, invigorated and emboldened by age and experience.
  18. Jun 8, 2012
    While The Bravest Man in the Universe may not be quite a masterpiece, it is unquestionably a great achievement in which weaknesses are so few and far between that they barely even register.
  19. Jun 8, 2012
    It's an album he could only have made in the autumn of his life, at the apex of his game.
  20. Jun 8, 2012
    An album that's completely beguiling.
  21. Jun 11, 2012
    It adds up to Womack's strongest work since the early '80s.
  22. Jun 11, 2012
    The production's click-clack effects and arcade synths often distract and inadvertently undercut the sincerity of Womack's words.
  23. 70
    The only problem is that at times, it feels like all parties are a little intimidated by each other, stopping just short of going the whole way with the primal force that the best moments prove Womack is still capable of.
  24. Jun 13, 2012
    He's at home testifying over coolly throbbing beats.
  25. Jun 12, 2012
    Although not quite the greatest release that Womack's name has been stamped on (as Womack asserts it is), The Bravest Man will, with some luck, serve as a pleasant and uplifting gateway to Womack's imperative back catalogue.
  26. Jun 11, 2012
    Few voices have been able to reach the emotional heights of Bobby Womack's, and he infuses The Bravest Man in the Universe with every ounce of his lost time.
  27. Uncut
    Jun 8, 2012
    The results are startling, setting Womacks's distinctive voice against stark electro backings and thunderous beats. [Jul 2012, p.75]
  28. Jun 8, 2012
    Barring any idiomatic prejudices against the contemporary production techniques, there are no glaring missteps here.
  29. Jun 14, 2012
    While Womack does his best to step up to his alien surroundings, he can't help but sound like an out-of-place guest on his own album.
  30. Jun 25, 2012
    The contemporary beats and intermitted uses of techno make this album youthful. For instance, Stupid has a stoic loop that runs through Womack's raspy cries and a sophisticated piano melody. It's a really beautiful blend of new and old.
  31. Jun 19, 2012
    While the lyrical content can be a little prescriptive in places, all of Womack's contributions are frank, honest and humble
  32. Jun 12, 2012
    More studio sympathy and less technical trickery might've made The Bravest Man in the Universe a minor classic.
  33. Jun 26, 2012
    [The production] intrudes on the songwriting, distracts the listener, and interferes with what are otherwise solid and sometimes deeply moving performances.
  34. Jun 13, 2012
    The lack of development and subtlety is a frequent problem for the album.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 24 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Jan 9, 2013
    This is the first album by Bobby Womack I've ever listened too, and I must admit, it's one of the best, boldest, and biggest surprises I'veThis is the first album by Bobby Womack I've ever listened too, and I must admit, it's one of the best, boldest, and biggest surprises I've listened too in the year 2012. Bobby Womack sounds tired, drifted, beat up, and 100% soulful. Womack sings the blues the best, he still sounds fantastic. The lyrics are powerful, and made me really look at things differently. The production is slick, mixing Gorillaz style beats from Albarn with Bobby Womack couldn't of been a better movie. All In All, this album will forever go down as one of the best American releases of 2012, and will stick with me for the rest of my life. A Full Review »
  2. Oct 9, 2012
    I have little knowledge of Bobby Womack's past. Whatever that past was it has conspired to create a voice that is full of hope and sadnessI have little knowledge of Bobby Womack's past. Whatever that past was it has conspired to create a voice that is full of hope and sadness simultaneously. It is a voice both old and new and definitely beguiling. This album has a power and soul that continues to make me pause for reflection when I listen to it. Full Review »
  3. Jul 24, 2012
    Bobby Womack returns after many years of hiatus - and most importantly - he is back with a worthy successor over twelve years agoBobby Womack returns after many years of hiatus - and most importantly - he is back with a worthy successor over twelve years ago "Resurrection". The new album entitled "The bravest Man In The Universe" is above all the release maintained in the conventions of R&B music - but if you expect the album, whose songs are constantly played on the radio you'll be somewhat disappointed. But in the positive way. Songs - among others - created featuring Fatoumata Diawary, Gil Scott-Heron or Lana Del Rey, have this sophisticated and difficult to forge element which no doubt makes album is not only an interesting proposition for fans of R&B. Full Review »