• Record Label: Matador
  • Release Date: Jun 8, 2004
Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. The most amazing power-pop album I've heard all year.
  2. Spin
    91
    Lets you better appreciate his knack for weaving glorious pop songs out of change-ups and mixed signals. [Jul 2004, p.109]
  3. Carl Newman deserves every last bit of praise thrown his way. In a better world, he would be our Elton, our Todd, our McCartney, and Slow Wonder would be on everyone's iPod, rotating on M2 hourly, and his name would be on the lips of everyone from aged Royalty to teen-aged girls.
  4. These songs are timeless. These songs are addictive. These songs are great. Why can't every album be like this?
  5. True to its title, The Slow Wonder is a much more relaxed and toned-down, yet no less complete listen than Electric Version or Mass Romantic.
  6. These are soulful sing-alongs with grit, pop nuggets that hold up to hours of repeat play in humid bumper-to-bumper traffic, and ultimately, the sound of a great songwriter hitting his stride.
  7. A uniformly appealing summertime sleeper that mostly eschews wall-of-sound blowouts for a sound just as rich and rewarding.
  8. It’s an impressive display of the sort of catchy and fun (natch) music that Newman can make, even without the substantial talents of his usual collaborators.
  9. Taking chances within the realm of a three minute pop song takes sheer talent, and on The Slow Wonder, Carl Newman proves that he is one of the brightest songwriters working in music these days.
  10. Newman has created a record bearing all the traits that make him such an engaging musical personality in the first place: elliptical wordplay, unusual delivery, and obscenely catchy songs.
  11. Uncut
    80
    A big, baroque fusion of sharp garage, paisley pop and '70s sleekness, finished with a coating of Terry Jacks sentiment. [Jul 2004, p.104]
  12. Chock-full of catchy songs, off-kilter melodies, and A.C. Newman’s clever lyricism.
  13. Fans of the New Pornographers will find Slow Wonder not quite as rocking (though "Miracle Drug" features some crackling guitar work), but possessed of just as many memorable hooks and choruses.
  14. Q Magazine
    70
    A refreshing, bracing detour. [Jul 2004, p.121]
  15. Newman pens melodies that seem to have sprung from the collective unconscious and then encases them in bright, lush power-pop arrangements.
  16. While it's delivered splendidly, The Slow Wonder doesn't succeed as well as an album as its songs do as individual parts.
  17. It's not that The Slow Wonder is a bummer by any means, because it's not. It's simply not riding quite the same giddy highs as work by his previous groups.
  18. Blender
    70
    A terrific joy bomb of power chords and power-pop keyboard riffs. [#27, p.142]
  19. "Wonder" isn't as immediately accessible as any New Pornographers album, which may turn off some fans looking for another set of sugar-coated rock. Nevertheless, these compositions also demonstrate Newman's immense talent, which ensures any monotonous patches on the album are quickly redeemed by far more interesting sonic departures.

Awards & Rankings

User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 24 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 24
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 24
  3. Negative: 1 out of 24
  1. David
    Jul 10, 2005
    9
    This is a joyful, puzzling album in all the right ways. There is some New Pornography here, but especially because of the elliptical lyrics This is a joyful, puzzling album in all the right ways. There is some New Pornography here, but especially because of the elliptical lyrics (my favourite kind!) we wonder what all the jubilant force, surprising/catchy riffs, sullen mystery, and emotion-about-event is all about. Listen to mainstream FM or AM radio after this, and one realizes how much octane A.C. Newman has here and "how nothing" mainstream pop usually is. My jaded head is turned . . . Full Review »
  2. JavinH
    Sep 20, 2004
    7
    I found some rewarding moments on this album, one of the more memorable ones being " Most of Us Prizefighters." "Miracle Drug" was what I found some rewarding moments on this album, one of the more memorable ones being " Most of Us Prizefighters." "Miracle Drug" was what prompted the purchase though. Great tunes for the most part, but a few snooze tracks. " The Town Halo" kind of sounds like a late INXS rip off - but with the addition of the rocking cello surpasses any reference. I think that the originality of the material is what carries this release by AC, not the musicianship or the sound itself. AC's is not a sound that dictates any one emotion, only an ever changing mixture. The only important thing here is where YOU take the music. With The Slow Wonder, you will get there wherever it may be. Full Review »
  3. MarisaG
    Sep 2, 2004
    8
    I get distracted listening to the 60's and 70's influences on this album...but then I relax and realize they all come together into I get distracted listening to the 60's and 70's influences on this album...but then I relax and realize they all come together into something original and incredibly enjoyable. Good stuff. Full Review »