Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
  1. The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter finds namesake and frontman Ritter boldly claiming musical territory with a reinvented sound, turning from the meticulous arrangements and somber ruminations of his previous album to a more daring, moxie-charged approach that yields some of the freshest, most captivating songs of his career.
  2. The Historical Conquests of..., a sprawling diorama of down-home rhythms and thoughtful lyrics, isn't immediately striking. But there's a joy in unfurling the half-submerged melodies and wry, tender sentiments.
  3. The resulting album is as lean, rambunctious and snarling as its predecessor was stately.
  4. The Historical Conquests is astonishing for its depth of exploration in the folk genre.
  5. You're presently reading about what may be the best album of 2007, hands down, by the most under-accorded American musical genius.
  6. The Historical Conquests is at its best when Ritter's off-the-cuff approach intersects with a winning pop melody, as on 'Right Moves' and 'Empty Hearts,' where the neatly arranged horns, fiddles, and piano play against Ritter's tumbling lyrics.
  7. 80
    The Josh Ritter who appears here is primarily a writer of quality pop songs.
  8. Historical Conquests is above all a fun record. It's got all of the heartache, acute observation, and crushing truth that fans are used to, but it never preaches without a wink and, most importantly, sounds as good blisteringly loud as it does drifting out of a clock radio in the garage.
  9. His fifth album is a triumph where his previous efforts have promised but fallen just short. [Oct 2007, p.105]
  10. 'Right Moves,' meanwhile, is the kind of soppy-hearted, joy-fuelled singalong tune American freeways, convertibles and radios were designed for. If it doesn't make Ritter a star, nothing can.
  11. What makes The Historical Conquests Of... a great album and not just Ritter’s foray into stylistic versatility is the integrity of his musicianship. The album is thorough; it is complete.
  12. In many ways, the album plays out as a far more effective and far less deliberately post-modern survey of the multiple phases of Dylan's career than does Todd Haynes's "I'm Not There" or its accompanying soundtrack.
  13. The production creates a Joe Henry feel of gently deconstructionist pop--warm and relaxed even as the instruments occasionally struggle against their leashes--giving the album's best material an extra spin.
  14. The rollicking Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter, makes clear that the songwriter is no mere mimic, and he’s having a grand old time.
  15. Ultimately, it ends up being a fine album. Nothing too spectacular or breakthrough but filled with enough great tunes to keep you coming back.
  16. Idaho native Josh Ritter's fifth LP illustrates how well an artist can incorporate his influences while developing his own voice and sound, which in this incarnation is part Dylan, part sensitive swinger with a soft spot for Calamity Jane and Joan of Arc.
  17. The urge to dislike Josh Ritter is somewhat overwhelming. But, like a diseased puppy with an adorable smile, it's just impossible to take him out back with Pa's shotgun because he still has an ear for a good tune--even if it is one of Dylan's.
  18. 60
    HIs essential charm flows through raise-a-glass choruses tinged with melancholy. [Oct 2007, p.91]
  19. These songs rarely sound lived in or personable; rather, they're more like museum dioramas where he can pose figures like Calamity Jane, Casey Jones, and Casey at the Bat in stiff tableaux.
  20. Josh Ritter returns with a sloppier, less streamlined record. [Summer 2007, p.91]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 37 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 23
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 23
  3. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. Apr 25, 2012
    Strongest Josh Ritter album, I love every song on it. It is one of the few albums I can listen to the entire album at one and repeatedly. His use of variations on a single chord structure makes for a great musical coloration. Rapid fire lyrics on the first track are very impressive. One of the best lyricists today. Full Review »
  2. Feb 2, 2012
    Josh Ritters 5th studio album keeps to the high standards he's set out so far in his career. This is probably is biggest attempt at breaking into the mainstream radio market. A lot of the songs have been polished here and you definitely get the feeling that a record company had more of an influence here than on any other record. It has some great pop songs and overall is very good, however I'm glad that on the follow up to this - "So Runs the World Away" he went back to the more folky sound. Full Review »
  3. Aug 6, 2011
    There are some great songs on here. There's no denying that. As for an album, it's a little all over the place, but still.. fantastic. "The Temptation of Adam" might be Ritter's best song. Ever. Full Review »