The Instigator - Rhett Miller
The Instigator Image
Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 14 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 12 Ratings

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  • Summary: This solo set by the frontman of the (still intact) Old 97s was produced by Jon Brion, and ventures away from the alt-country sound of that group's work.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 14
  2. Negative: 1 out of 14
  1. Sung with the versatile confidence of a star, and impeccably assisted by ace producer Jon Brion, The Instigator's songs feel instantly familiar in the best way possible.
  2. Offers 12 diamonds that aren't quite total pop or total rock--but fall in a wonderful zone somewhere in between.
  3. One of the year's best pop albums.
  4. Any imperfections Miller has on this album were already there in Old 97's and shouldn't deter fans. The chances he takes are slight but bold -- a little more sincerity, a little more musically risky.
  5. Miller offers more than enough quality material here to justify stepping out on his own: what he's occasionally lacking in energy, he largely makes up for with craft.... That said, it's unlikely to instigate much beyond some afternoon head-nodding, and even some of Miller's fans will be somewhat put off by the album's borderline MOR sound.
  6. Fans of the Old 97's most recent work will surely snap The Instigator up with glee; in fact, anyone who likes their guitar pop sprinkled with a little angst will be pleased with what Rhett Miller has come up with on his own.
  7. 30
    Shallow and superficial. [#56, p.101]

See all 14 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. jamesl
    Oct 6, 2002
    9
    a pop gem
  2. BenC
    Oct 5, 2002
    9
    I am an old fan of the 97's, and of course was kind of bummed to see Rhett go solo for this album, but I bought it and I think it's great! Too Far to Care is my fav 97's CD, and while some of his songs on this album may seem kind of soft and poppy, if you imagine them with more aggressive instrumentation you know that Rhett Miller's songwriting has essentially remained the same. I give it a 9 because I don't want to seem like a fanboy. Rhett Miller is a great artist, and I hope he hits it big. Expand
  3. S.E.Johnson
    Oct 3, 2002
    5
    If you love the song "Oppenheimer" from the Old 97's Fight Songs album, then you will love the new Rhett Miller. It is poppy and happy, even when trying to be sad. It rings a little empty without the rockin backing guitars and vocals from the rest of the guys in Old 97's. Overall, I found it to be boring and repetetive. Expand

See all 8 User Reviews