Mixed or average reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 28
  2. Negative: 4 out of 28
  1. That's why artists like RJD2 are important: They're brave, they're risk takers, and modern music needs more of them. [Apr 2007, p.192]
  2. 90
    The one-man result: breezy soul tracks with pop structures, chill vocals and a grab bag of flourishes recalling everything from McCartney to Prince.
  3. While the record isn’t perhaps as instantly impressive as Scale or Multiply, there’s much to enjoy on The Third Hand for an appreciator of the finer points of this thing we call pop music.
  4. 70
    It's essentially a pop record--albeit a complex and cleverly arranged one. [Apr 2007, p.115]
  5. 70
    Sometimes the '70s feel gets feeling hella silly. [Mar 2007, p.96]
  6. Two skills he has mastered in the past, mood and texture, make this record especially good.
  7. An unexpected treat. [Apr 2007, p.122]
  8. The record loses momentum when its latter half settles into decompressed electronica, but RJD2's daring innovation and unconventional melodies are enough to cement his reputation as hip-hop's most adventurous musical astronaut. [Mar 2007, p.63]
  9. His conception of melody and harmony is well above the average hip-hop artist, but the album as a whole is very flat and boring.
  10. Too much of The Third Hand is bland and undistinguished.
  11. With experimentation comes error.
  12. 60
    An instrument-juggling, one-man-band approach that recalls the romantic, psychedelic pop of the Zombies and the textured electronics of Radiohead.
  13. One man's pop is another man's weirdness. And weird, The Third Hand certainly is.
  14. The melodies aren't always there, and the restrained production makes for an occasionally nagging sense of meandering. [3 Mar 2007]
  15. RJD2 has made an record that simply doesn’t play to his strengths.
  16. For better or worse, RJD2’s talent is beat-making. While it’s easy to applaud him for following his dreams, we can’t give him extra marks for his output.
  17. [Rjd2] has moved away from sample-based instrumental hip-hop, throwing in gently psychedelic Beatles-y songcraft and live instruments to achieve a jack-of-all-trades sound that, while perfectly pleasant, is done better by Beck.
  18. For all its comparative brave departures and originality, The Third Hand just isn’t particularly engaging.
  19. Some sleepy stuff hurts his cause, but his best songs... combine vivid, polished tracks with solid tunes that pack a sneaky emotional weight.
  20. 50
    Longer on nuance than hook. [Mar 2007, p.98]
  21. A disappointment, maybe, but that’s to be expected – and shouldn’t we prefer that he want to give us something new?
  22. This is the sound of a fighter punching below his weight.
  23. It’s more work to listen to than any previous Rjd2 album; listening is a constant quest for the remarkable within the unremarkable.
  24. 40
    He sings with a quavering, unconvincing tremor, and his lyrics are often awkward and bland. [Apr 2007, p.130]
  25. It sadly turns out to be an unsettling piece of evidence that he's lost without someone else's pre-existing sounds to extrapolate from and transform.
  26. When it is instrumental, it’s “Get It,” which seems a timid remake of Since We Last Spoke’s title track, or it’s “Murs Beat,” which, tellingly, has no Murs. Some of the rest sounds like a softer, more overproduced, and generally shittier version of the Cars. The rest of the rest sounds like something duller than that.
  27. For someone who has dazzled with his sonic imagination in the past, Rjd2 sounds very tentative here.
  28. It will forever tarnish everything you ever liked about him, as you will suddenly view him as an eccentric crackpot who is more interested in making "Paper Bubbles" than good music.

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