The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett

Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 23
  2. Negative: 1 out of 23
Buy On
  1. Apr 22, 2014
    89
    The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett understands the grace of understatement.
  2. Mojo
    Apr 23, 2014
    80
    It's the chiming guitars of album centerpiece, A Swallow In The Sun, that really underlines a sense that The Cautionary Tales Of... operates in the same ballpark as Sea Change--Beck's 2002 work of staggering heartbreak. [May 2014, p.91]
  3. Q Magazine
    Apr 23, 2014
    80
    As always with the finest of Eels albums, Everett's loss is the listener's gain. [May 2014, p.110]
  4. Apr 21, 2014
    80
    The subject matter may not be as harrowing as the real-life inspiration for some of his earlier work (most notably Electro-Shock Blues), but this is still a powerful and emotionally coherent set.
  5. Everett’s earlier, fearless accounts of family tragedy have refined his ability to explore extreme states of emotional disrepair.
  6. Apr 18, 2014
    80
    Rarely do mistakes of one’s youth sound so beautiful.
  7. Apr 17, 2014
    80
    A gorgeous, luscious Eels record, sounding every bit as familiar as any of that suggests, the country-tinged guitars, the organs, piano, sprinkling of xylophone and those comfortingly gravelly vocals in which the world's in love.
  8. Apr 17, 2014
    80
    Eels may not tread any new ground musically (aside from being generally less noisy), but never before have we seen such raw emotion on show.
  9. Uncut
    Apr 14, 2014
    80
    As frustratingly close to perfect as ever. [May 2014, p.73]
  10. Apr 22, 2014
    78
    In its simplicity lies a uniquely Eels beauty, realistic and wise. It may be unsure, yes, and there’s certainly some fresh horror around the bend, somewhere, but perhaps that future is more promising than what came before.
  11. Apr 28, 2014
    74
    This is a record of painful, plaintive soul-searching.
  12. 70
    Bereft of blues bombast, electronic trickery or bothersome concepts, when E's not coming on like Red House Painters he's getting seriously classical.
  13. Apr 21, 2014
    70
    What saves this album from being just another version of some guy at the bar going on and on about some lady he lost is E's subtle and easy way with a melody, and even though some of these songs are so slow as to barely have a pulse, they flow well and easily into and out of each other.
  14. Apr 15, 2014
    70
    Though this is a flawed collection, The Cautionary Tales Of Mark Oliver Everett still partially succeeds in getting the message across perfectly in an accessible and honest manner.
  15. 60
    This is unquestionably slow going and perhaps best taken in smaller doses, but it’s ultimately rewarding for those willing to take advice from a guy whose darkness and internal demons have remained key components to his emotionally naked creativity.
  16. Apr 23, 2014
    60
    Cautionary Tales certainly doesn’t feel new--it ultimately feels like a retread of the orchestral and maudlin sound he tried on two records ago--but it feels true to its songwriter.
  17. 60
    The Cautionary Tales... is wracked with recrimination, remorse and self-doubt. It can be bleak--the electric piano of “Lockdown Hurricane” seems a sound soaked in self-pity--but the intimate beauty of the strings and woodwinds sweetens the pill.
  18. Apr 14, 2014
    60
    It works well enough as a snapshot of where Everett finds himself as he approaches middle age, but the overwrought agonisation on the past and infuriatingly samey instrumental choices make it a difficult record to love.
  19. Apr 21, 2014
    55
    Reflecting entirely on a misplaced relationship, The Cautionary Tales of... is a personal record that lacks few comforting cushions.
  20. Apr 14, 2014
    50
    Cautionary Tales is underwhelming, but it's also a victim of context.
  21. 50
    This record utilizes straightforward folk-rock with understated string and brass accompaniments, mostly stripped of the whimsical music box quirks of yesteryear.
  22. Apr 17, 2014
    40
    The Lennon reference serves to highlight the record's main flaw: the former Beatle's cathartic recording provided a jolting contrast with his previous work, whereas Everett--now in his 51st year--ventures nowhere new.
  23. 33
    What The Cautionary Tales needs is a prudent pruning. This album struggles to appear deeper than a common puddle.
User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 5 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 1
  2. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Jan 6, 2015
    5
    It seems to meander along without any punch. I listened to it and it seemed it was all just one song, a long depressing acoustic song withoutIt seems to meander along without any punch. I listened to it and it seemed it was all just one song, a long depressing acoustic song without variance. And I am a big fan of E's.
    E unfortunately missed the mark here.
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