Metascore
62

Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
  1. Oct 14, 2011
    84
    [It] transcends sonic genres with a mature exploration of a global village too distracted to notice it's shorting itself.
  2. Dec 22, 2011
    80
    This 17-track colossus is eclectic, ambitious ad expertly executed. [Nov 2011, p.103]
  3. Oct 4, 2011
    80
    Except for the occasionally bumpy ride, though, The Less You Know, The Better is one of the most entertaining albums of the year, with countless moments of brilliance.
  4. Sep 26, 2011
    80
    A guest spot for Little Dragon's Yukimi Nagano adds spice to this unexpected feast.
  5. 75
    Shadow's densest and longest work at first sounds like an overstylized, underwritten retread with lots of superfluous cuts sporting names like "Tedium." But it eventually rewards hard listening.
  6. Nov 3, 2011
    70
    The Less You Know isn't as consistently stunning as Shadow's first two discs, but it'll be comforting proof that he's no mere shadow of his former self. [Oct 2011, p.112]
  7. Oct 17, 2011
    70
    While this album may lack his debut's soul-jazz seamlessness, it compensates with bipolar freakiness.
  8. Sep 26, 2011
    70
    The Less You Know, the Better isn't a bad album at all, and will likely grow into something far more impressive, something that isn't quite evident on first play.
  9. Oct 4, 2011
    67
    The Less You Know also feels inconsequential, sounding like the work of a man who has run out of ideas and is coasting along on craft. Which might be fine, except that so little of it actually sticks.
  10. Oct 3, 2011
    63
    Shadow also flirts with more conventional songs, putting vocalists at the forefront of "I've Been Trying" and "Sad and Lonely" with acceptable if hardly transcendent results. But when he focuses on dark, shape-shifting mood pieces ("Tedium," "Circular Logic," "Enemy Lines") he remains unmatched.
  11. Nov 23, 2011
    60
    The Less you know is a rather ponderous return to form. [Dec 2011, p.81]
  12. Nov 8, 2011
    60
    While Josh Davis has valiantly refused to photocopy his pioneering 1996 debut Endtroducing, this fourth album could use its mystery and cohesion. [Nov. 2011, p. 139]
  13. Sep 30, 2011
    60
    It's a hit-and-miss affair.
  14. Sep 27, 2011
    60
    What's sometimes impossible to put into words is how, despite all an album's shortcomings and stacked odds, it's still a perfectly enjoyable listen.
  15. Sep 26, 2011
    60
    The Less You Know, the Better 
is equal parts frustrating and admirable.
  16. Sep 26, 2011
    60
    Overall, this is a highly schizophrenic collection.
  17. 60
    There's a pronounced shortfall of his usual joyous eclecticism here, with many pieces settling for basic repetitive sequences; some sound like little more than extended intros.
  18. Oct 6, 2011
    50
    Things jump back and forth from there, and never seem to build to very much. Shadow may want to cross back.
  19. 50
    For an artist who lets as much time pass between albums as DJ Shadow does, his ideas shouldn't feel as undercooked as they do here.
  20. Overall it sounds like the work of a man struggling to recall his motivations for making music in the first place.
  21. Nov 15, 2011
    45
    DJ Shadow first made his name by delving deep into the world's bottomless pile of debris to redeem the wannbe hits and half-formed artistic statements of our musical past. Now, he contributes to it. s[#82, p. 54]
  22. Oct 6, 2011
    45
    Its only commitment is to a subtle antagonism, and it ignores pretty much any worthwhile development in pop, rock, electronic, or hip-hop music since the turn of the century.
  23. Dec 6, 2011
    40
    Given the sprawling length, naturally it's not devoid of a few stray gems and curiosities. [Oct 2011, p.60]
  24. Oct 31, 2011
    40
    Shadow's production is wantonly flashy, but it can't mask his lack of flair.
  25. Oct 20, 2011
    40
    His newest album, on the other hand, is all technique and no emotion.
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 11 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 4
  2. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Jun 1, 2012
    5
    The patented blueprint is there, the form... doesn´t. A record that compensates the collection: 2 great initial, 2 unfulfilling last. Plain, generic beats, that maybe ´cause of the expensive cost for clearance sampling, pushed Josh to use nowadays souless tools. Only 1 of the 16 songs made me put extra attention thinkin this was the one for us that listened to him from the beginning, but nothing interesting happened at last. I hope the next will fullfill my need of memorable, epical, provocative songs that made a Dj Shadow album worth of remembering. To try: "I Gotta Rokk" , "Redeemed" Full Review »
  2. Dec 3, 2011
    9
    For me The Less You Know The Better is one of the best album of 2011. Every song of the album are great specially Back to front..Stay the course...Sad and Lonely (very special a melancholic piano with the vintage female voice) and awesome I Gotta Rock...Scale it back with Little Dragon what a great song and very different ...Circular Logic!! Another great album by the greatest Dj Shadow!!! Full Review »
  3. Oct 9, 2011
    7
    Agreeing with critics to some point, this is no Entroducing (we all know that). It isn't even The Private Press. What it is better than is The Outsider (his 2006 album). He has gone back to what he is known for, but he hasn't done it the same way as before. This album includes a lot more different styles of music involved which is good for some songs. The only songs, however, that are like his old stuff and are the best are "I Gotta Rokk" and "Circular Logic (Front To Back)". This is worth it if you are a hardcore Shadow fan. If not, try the first two albums. Full Review »