The Life Of The World To Come

  • Record Label: 4AD
  • Release Date: Oct 6, 2009

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. He's still writing finely observed vignettes that manage to intersect life as we live it with life as we wish we could live it, and as such, he has more in common with a short story writer than he does with the typical singer/songwriter.
  2. Austin Chronicle
    While all this makes for a unique record, one can't help but crave just a little bit more of Darnielle's own fiery voice. [Nov 2009, p.110]
  3. Regardless of his collaborators or how he chooses to approach his songs, The Life of the World to Come is further proof of Darnielle's ability, evident since long before he traded a boombox for a studio, to imbue his imagery, his sentiments, and his many characters with astounding weight and power.
  4. Darnielle's lyrics are as true as ever to his incisive yet confused style; 'confused' because, as his myopic cleverness makes for phrases as bracing and direct as can be, his words always--simultaneously--obfuscate or complicate themselves.
  5. It's cool that he's trying to change things up, but there's no substitute for a strong result.
  6. The Life of the World to Come isn't exactly a head-nodding compendium to the Good Book as much as a shoulder-shrugging desire for surrender. For some, an album with such strong religious overtones may distance those disenchanted with the church.
  7. In less dexterous hands, of course, this could--and most likely would--be a disaster, but Darnielle's lyrical prowess and songwriting nous ensures he just about gets away with it.
  8. While he might elicit the specific from his listeners, his music--especially here--is general. This is his gift and the gift of effective storytellers: to build toward the general by using the specific.
  9. What makes The Life of the World to Come one of 2009's best albums, and the Mountain Goats' studio albums maybe the single greatest second act in modern American rock/indie/whatever music, is that he never assumes those groups are, at the heart of it all, different from each other or less deserving of our attention and compassion.
  10. This is a record not so much crying in the wilderness, but one recognizing that its characters are in that wilderness.
  11. Literate, perceptive, sometimes a tad mawkish, they're also resolutely sturdy, insightful diversions that would please even without the Biblical trappings.
  12. When the mix is right between that meticulously detailed intimacy and a little religious mythologizing, this album is at its best.
  13. Indeed, when everything clicks, Darnielle can't be denied, and even when there's cause for concern, there's always something worth taking note of.
  14. Uncut
    Each of the 12 tracks on The Life Of The World To Come is named after the [Bible] verse that informs it. The settings are gloriously apposite. [Nov 2009, p.96]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 12 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Oct 15, 2010
    A beautifully literate work that combines the intimacy of Darnielle's trilogy of autobiographic records with his masterful storytellingA beautifully literate work that combines the intimacy of Darnielle's trilogy of autobiographic records with his masterful storytelling abilities that are so integral to the Mountain Goats. At the same time, this is easily The Mountain Goats' most musically beautiful album (by mountain goats standards, of course), in spite of the fact that the melodies and rhythms on display here are by and large amongst Darnielle's simplest and most minimalistic. All in all, this was easily among the best albums of 2009, and a fascinating and moving new direction for this consistently fantastic band
    (Standout tracks: "Psalms 40:2", "Genesis 3:23", "Hebrews 11:40", "Genesis 30:3", "Ezekiel 7 and The Permanent Efficacy of Grace")
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