The Stage Names - Okkervil River
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Universal acclaim - based on 28 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 59 Ratings

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  • Summary: The fourth studio album from the Austin, Texas-based band mixes it up with the help of Jim Eno of Spoon.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. Everything is here: melody, harmony, great lyrics, smart instrumentation and pure emotion. It’s book ended by two of the best songs of the year and everything in between is music gold.
  2. 90
    Wildly alive, majestic and by turns brooding and raucous--often within the same song--The Stage Names burns with all the loneliness and adventure of a never-ending road trip.
  3. Thanks to the fuzzy-folk-rock vibe, Names never feels like an undergrad lit class. [24 Aug 2007, p.133]
  4. The cerebral lyrics take center stage, as it were, while the band rocks out much harder than it did on 2005's melancholy "Black Sheep Boy."
  5. The urgency is still there, as guitars and pianos take turns screaming during the breakdown, but the violence is replaced with a sense of frivolity and playfulness that lingers throughout the group's fifth release.
  6. As much as I enjoy Stage Names, it will never be as highly regarded as the comparitavely masterpiece Black Sheep Boy, as the songs lack the depth and magnitude needed to influence a much more musically inclined indie fan base.
  7. 60
    If at times it's a little too knowing for its own good, the music itself is less claustrophobic than before. [Nov 2007, p.121]

See all 28 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. SaintGod
    Jun 21, 2009
    Better and more coherent than Black Sheep Boy, which basically means a perfect record. Can't wait to see what follows stage names and stand in's... Okkervil River: Stewardess. Will could make something incredible out of it, no doubt. I said it first. Honestly this record is perfect. Not just one of the best records of 2007 but taken with the Stand Ins after, stands among the best double albums, or taken alone, best albums, since contemporary music began. Seriously, the 60's where just a start people, get over it. Expand
  2. HaroldB.
    Sep 12, 2007
    Will Sheff proves yet again he is among the best lyricists in music today. The Stage Names is easily among the best albums of 2007.
  3. PatD
    Aug 9, 2007
    Okkervil River comes back with another amazing album. This is one of those albums that you really have to let grow on you before you can really appreciate it. On par with 'Don't Fall in Love with Everyone You See." Expand
  4. DavidH.
    Nov 8, 2007
    Without a doubt one of the best albums of 2007. Even repeated listening won't get you bored of it; you'll grow to love each and every song even more. Expand
  5. ToddW
    Aug 10, 2007
    If Okkervil River is a real place, I want to spend the rest of my life sunning myself on its banks and swimming in its refreshing waters. The Stage Names does what most albums fail miserably to do: It tops what was thought to be untoppable, while at the same time sounding old yet new and fresh. Will Sheff borrows from Forever Changes, Pet Sounds, and In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, as well as some of the kitschiest bad 80's rock, with equal aplomb. In retrospect, Black Sheep Boy was the appetizer, for The Stage Names is no doubt a main course. And like a great Italian meal, may there be many more this tasty to come. Sheff has given us another candidate for 2007 Album of the Year. Expand
  6. BrandtB
    Aug 27, 2007
    This album should be in every indie-lover's Top Five of 2007 list. "Plus Ones", "John Allyn Smith Sails", and "A Girl in Port" are among the best songs that I've heard thus far this year. Will Sheff joins Sam Beam in songwriting capabilities with this album. Let's see if Iron & Wine's latest album can compete with "The Stage Names." I have a feeling it can. Expand
  7. jaydub
    Aug 10, 2007
    Bland. Soooo bland, and so MOR, and so mid-tempo, and so amused with its own lyrical conceit, and so not emotionally convincing. Basically, the polar opposite of Black Sheep Boy. Also, waaaaay too much on the maracas. Plus, the formulaic song-writing. Boring arrangements as well. Pretty awful use of a string section. I could go on, but... Expand

See all 34 User Reviews