Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
  1. What makes the album rather extraordinary is that it's as much celebration as it is protest.
  2. Mojo
    90
    This is a great record for and about New Orleans and one of the best the two men have ever made. [Jun 2006, p.96]
  3. Costello can still oversing and overwrite... But even when he threatens to turn baroque, as in ''Broken Promise Land,'' Toussaint rescues him.
  4. It's Toussaint's soulful songs and naturally funky grooves that make this unlikely pairing work almost in spite of Costello's overbearing presence.
  5. This album is best heard through audio equipment tweaked to suppress the excesses of Elvis Costello's strained bleat.
  6. Uncut
    80
    Costello... sing[s] with the enthusiasm and fun of a true fan. [Jul 2006, p.110]
  7. Q Magazine
    80
    The River In Reverse's soulful arrangements and warm textures are no surprise. [Jul 2006, p.113]
  8. What could have been a curiosity is instead a hallmark in the catalog of each artist.
  9. Though ballad-heavy, The River in Reverse rocks.
  10. Los Angeles Times
    75
    Not surprisingly, the album hits hardest in those numbers that take on the broad sweep of a cry for social and political justice. [4 Jun 2006]
  11. An urgent, soulful collection.
  12. With such strong material and talented performers, it's a pity that River frequently sounds too fussed-over.
  13. It's the master's steady, rollicking piano that elevates the music -- and keeps the ever-elusive Costello honest.
  14. Costello's vocal range is challenged like never before, but his phrasing is always on the money, and Joe Henry's production makes it all sound so natural.
  15. Most of these tracks merely feel professional or workmanlike, sincere recordings that sadly lack inspiration.
  16. Mr. Toussaint's florid yet precise New Orleans piano, the way he can make a horn section laugh or sigh, and the stubborn idealism and canny humor of his songs temper Mr. Costello's convoluted earnestness.
  17. The River In Reverse is a dark, passionate work that channels its rage toward redemptive joy.
  18. New Musical Express (NME)
    60
    A good album, in a well-produced way, but it's not as good or as important as it thinks it is. [24 Jun 2006, p.43]
  19. It's good to see this album released, but whether the meeting between Costello and Toussaint has produced anything of greater note that their individual achievements, I'm not convinced.
User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 7 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. JedZep
    Aug 31, 2006
    9
    What a great pairing at any time but certainly sounds right and righteous in light of Katrina. Bears repeated listening all the way through. What a great pairing at any time but certainly sounds right and righteous in light of Katrina. Bears repeated listening all the way through. It covers a lot of musical ground while not straying far from New Orleans. Full Review »
  2. MattK
    Jul 5, 2006
    10
    What a great collaboration. Top it off with a live performance and you've got the very best that music can offer. Costello's vocals What a great collaboration. Top it off with a live performance and you've got the very best that music can offer. Costello's vocals and Toussaints arrangements will live a long time. Full Review »
  3. ImanL
    Jun 16, 2006
    8
    I dont know squat about Toussaint but Costello's best in years and years and years maybe since "For the Stars" (another collaboration: I dont know squat about Toussaint but Costello's best in years and years and years maybe since "For the Stars" (another collaboration: hmmmmmmmm). "Brother" is just plain great, title track masterful, and the playing livly and fun. Full Review »