To Be Kind

User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 218 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 17 out of 218
Buy On

Review this album

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling
  1. May 13, 2014
    10
    This is not experimental music, this is pure power delivered by Thor himself, or Mr. Gira as we have known him since he formed Swans. Musik, non stop!
  2. Jun 14, 2014
    10
    In short: a legitimate classic (unreal w great headphones). In long: absolutely one of the best albums I've heard in years! When was it decided that Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon was a classic? This album is up there! It's really that amazing! Do you know when you hear music that just sounds so fresh it's like a new window has been found & opened - that's what this is! Super trippy,In short: a legitimate classic (unreal w great headphones). In long: absolutely one of the best albums I've heard in years! When was it decided that Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon was a classic? This album is up there! It's really that amazing! Do you know when you hear music that just sounds so fresh it's like a new window has been found & opened - that's what this is! Super trippy, super groovy, dark & atmospheric, at times totally scary & brutal, but all so amazingly well constructed - the whole thing is truly remarkable! A must particularly for lovers of rock based music wanting more in these bleak days! This is art!!!!! If any other album gets my AotY, I'll be amazed!!! Get it! Expand
  3. Jul 10, 2014
    9
    Was finna give this a 10/10, but that would mean I would have to argue to myself that it's as good as Benji and deserves a 9.5 or higher. Still an amazing album, nonetheless and an improvement on The Seer from 2012, which was good, but the length of that album held it down. The length for To Be Kind does nothing but make it that much more epic.

    Side note:m A Little God In My Hands and
    Was finna give this a 10/10, but that would mean I would have to argue to myself that it's as good as Benji and deserves a 9.5 or higher. Still an amazing album, nonetheless and an improvement on The Seer from 2012, which was good, but the length of that album held it down. The length for To Be Kind does nothing but make it that much more epic.

    Side note:m A Little God In My Hands and Oxygen can both make claims for song of the year in my opinion
    Expand
  4. May 13, 2014
    10
    The thirteenth album of Swans is a work that is pulled with hands in blood, it's arranged by
    demons and conceptuality embarks everything in the mind of M.Gira the monster behind this
    double monster, To Be Kind is a two-hour journey full of screams, tears, whispering voices, epic outros, spiritism, mantras, violence and putting the savage in this masterpiece is putting the glory (in my
    The thirteenth album of Swans is a work that is pulled with hands in blood, it's arranged by
    demons and conceptuality embarks everything in the mind of M.Gira the monster behind this
    double monster, To Be Kind is a two-hour journey full of screams, tears, whispering voices, epic outros, spiritism, mantras, violence and putting the savage in this masterpiece is putting the glory (in my opinion) in the best album by this extraordinary band, To Be Kind is insane, wonderful, terrific,surprising, mortal, ecclesiastical, narcotic, scary but mostly beautiful, it´s beautiful because,it's done with the hard work , with the eternal blood that flows in them. To Be Kind is a masterpiece.
    Expand
  5. May 15, 2014
    10
    Simply put, an amazing piece of music that I don't understand. and that's what makes it infinitely listenable and a great human achievement. OXYGENNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN
  6. Sep 18, 2015
    10
    This album is indescribable. 2 hours with 10 songs which is all amazing. The band plays the music as it should be played since it is "Swans" and Michael Gira sings, screams and shouts in amazingly different ways each track and together with the music it just becomes as near to perfect as possible.

    Give it a listen. It is 2 hours worth it. That's for sure.
  7. Jun 3, 2014
    10
    Really one of those rare albums you list under the category of incredible. Once you start playing it, you will most likely not be able to stop until the experience is complete. Powerful and profound, this is shaping up to be the almost unanimous best album of 2014. And it's only June.
  8. Nov 24, 2014
    10
    mind blowing made by the gods themselves Just listen to it understand it and you'll love it. Swans-To be kind is the best album of 2014 no doubt. I Love Swans
  9. May 13, 2014
    10
    I've been waiting for this album for several months already, and I just have to say that this has been the most groovy Michael Gira and the gang have gone. The beginning reminded me of their old 'Filth' album, except they really got a catchy hook going on in each of the songs, especially their title track in the end. To be honest, this album will grow on me and I may very well like thisI've been waiting for this album for several months already, and I just have to say that this has been the most groovy Michael Gira and the gang have gone. The beginning reminded me of their old 'Filth' album, except they really got a catchy hook going on in each of the songs, especially their title track in the end. To be honest, this album will grow on me and I may very well like this over 'The Seer'. But nothing stands out enough to compete with their best tracks like 'Her' and 'Failure'. Expand
  10. May 13, 2014
    10
    perfect album. why does metacritic list the Quietus rating as an 8? AnyDecentMusic lists it as a 9.5, which seems much more accurate, given the content of the review.
  11. May 31, 2014
    9
    Here is my Pitchfork-esque review of To Be Kind:

    Michael Gira's thunderously godlike vocal spasms set against the deep and churning chasm of eternity wash over in a sea of ear-popping post-rock melodies and hypnotic beats sure to induce plenty of mental breakdowns and much nightmarish dream content for the nights to come. It's as if Prometheus has returned to steal fire from Mount
    Here is my Pitchfork-esque review of To Be Kind:

    Michael Gira's thunderously godlike vocal spasms set against the deep and churning chasm of eternity wash over in a sea of ear-popping post-rock melodies and hypnotic beats sure to induce plenty of mental breakdowns and much nightmarish dream content for the nights to come. It's as if Prometheus has returned to steal fire from Mount Olympus for the first time in a thousand years, only this time to be sucked into a time warp where Judgment Day and the Creation of the World converge into one paralyzing hour of fear and fire, awash in moral calamity."

    In other words, it's a 9 out of 10.
    Expand
  12. Jun 25, 2014
    5
    For an album that's two hours long, you're bound to find some good music. This one has. The music is rich many layers of good instrumentation; sometimes even great. The problem is: the good and great doesn't comprise the majority of the album. I've read the music in this album being called "hypnotizing". It's not. In many, many parts: it's actually quite boring.

    The vocal performance
    For an album that's two hours long, you're bound to find some good music. This one has. The music is rich many layers of good instrumentation; sometimes even great. The problem is: the good and great doesn't comprise the majority of the album. I've read the music in this album being called "hypnotizing". It's not. In many, many parts: it's actually quite boring.

    The vocal performance is basically annoying. The lyrics, when there are some, are nothing monumental.

    There isn't a track that i can say i liked from start to finish; just segments here and there. It's an overrated album (as it's predecessor was). But at least "The Seer" had some segments with an emotional punch. This, on the other hand, has almost no emotion or soul.
    Expand
  13. Jun 4, 2014
    3
    Apparently these guys used to be good, well, not anymore. This album is annoying. They use relentless, menacing crescendos in nearly every song to, I think, grate and offend listeners. Sometimes it worked, managing to send chills down the spine, but mainly it was just boring. It also has an unappealing Prog Rock tone to it and it feels heavily focused on displaying the complexity of theApparently these guys used to be good, well, not anymore. This album is annoying. They use relentless, menacing crescendos in nearly every song to, I think, grate and offend listeners. Sometimes it worked, managing to send chills down the spine, but mainly it was just boring. It also has an unappealing Prog Rock tone to it and it feels heavily focused on displaying the complexity of the instrumentation. A very angry Dad rocker album for bitter, unemployed or 'mis-understood' thirty-something year olds. Expand
  14. Jun 16, 2014
    2
    Annoying, distant, foggy, echoing, repulsive, childish, naive. The masses are obviously flying with the Swans. I keep giving chances but after several listens, no. Good music is not about being extraordinary and weird, it's something else. They've got their own sound, yes, but instead of feeling great, I feel like this is music for the depressed and bittered **** Grow up. You have only oneAnnoying, distant, foggy, echoing, repulsive, childish, naive. The masses are obviously flying with the Swans. I keep giving chances but after several listens, no. Good music is not about being extraordinary and weird, it's something else. They've got their own sound, yes, but instead of feeling great, I feel like this is music for the depressed and bittered **** Grow up. You have only one life to live. Expand
  15. Jul 11, 2014
    9
    You don’t need a painted face, hyper-extended unreally red tongue lolling down to your navel, odd coloured contact lenses, matted hair and definitely not foot-high heels to be a scary musical act. You just need to be Michael Gira and make the kind of music his band Swans makes. But that’s the tough part. Because the band’s music is scary not in a horror-inducing way. It is terrifying inYou don’t need a painted face, hyper-extended unreally red tongue lolling down to your navel, odd coloured contact lenses, matted hair and definitely not foot-high heels to be a scary musical act. You just need to be Michael Gira and make the kind of music his band Swans makes. But that’s the tough part. Because the band’s music is scary not in a horror-inducing way. It is terrifying in its unrelenting intensity. In these times of 3-minute attention spans (am I being generous here?), Swans is an anachronism, making a huge demand on you with albums that are 2-hour long monster works. Less than two years after the release of their riveting epic “The Seer”, Swans have come back with what I think is perhaps an even better effort in “To Be Kind”. All the Swans stock-in-trade are here. The hypnotic quality created by phrases repeated, building up with slight modifications, gradual additions and then the nearly out-of-control spiralling crescendo best exemplified in my opinion on the shamanistic “Screen Shot” which, had the words been different, could well make for an incitement to ritual mayhem. The multi-movement half-an-hour extravagance in “Bring The Sun/Toussaint L’Ouverture”. The mystical allure and strange interludes of “Nathalie Neal”. Gira and co. draw you in to their murky, insane swirl of music, bind you such that even when you break back to the surface and clamber on to safe shores, you dive back after a short breather. Either that or you bounce off the surface perhaps never again to venture anywhere close. Not for everyone, this. Because this is a dark pool that is not penetrated by the light of joy. Yet it will cleanse you in a cathartic way...at a price. More than just music, it’s an experience. Not necessarily uplifting but definitely something that will make you question convention. And that in my opinion is a good thing. Expand
  16. May 23, 2014
    10
    Gira and his band members of primal animals throws out what is their best album to date, with its crashing instrumentation and mind-f*cking lyricism that show hints to their older works like Filth and Cop, the band proves itselves to be one of the world's greatest experimental rock group.

    Must hear tracks:
    ALL

    Avoid tracks:
    NONE
  17. Jun 30, 2014
    9
    This album will be a hard one to beat this year. It can be a bit intimidating at first. 2 Hours worth of music, but if you focus on the music, those 2 hours will feel like a half hour
  18. Jul 8, 2014
    5
    The music is good but the lyrics are mostly nonsense. "Love love love". Is it progressive rock or mainstream nonsense? I doubt their sincerity.
    ------
  19. Jun 12, 2014
    10
    To Be Kind is an album unlike anything I have heard in years, its absolutely fantastic. Difficult, and impossible to get through in one sitting, but its otherwise a stone cold classic...
  20. Nov 9, 2014
    10
    Për një LP që zgjat 2 orë e gjatë , ajo nuk ka humbur interesin dëgjuesit me këngë të shumta që shtrihen kufijtë e muzikës . Prandaj , To Be Kind nga mjellmat mund të jetë një nga LPS më të mira të 2014.
    10/10
  21. Jul 12, 2014
    10
    “Is there such a thing as insanity in a world which has already gone insane?”

    As well as being most complicated and refined of their works, “To Be Kind” is by far Swans’ most visceral and provocative. Gira’s riveting and primal lyrical delivery illuminates both the affliction of the human condition, and the self-imposed limitations of our lives, which restrict our freedom, and
    “Is there such a thing as insanity in a world which has already gone insane?”

    As well as being most complicated and refined of their works, “To Be Kind” is by far Swans’ most visceral and provocative. Gira’s riveting and primal lyrical delivery illuminates both the affliction of the human condition, and the self-imposed limitations of our lives, which restrict our freedom, and ultimately our own happiness. Swans strip away any saccharin elements of melody or catchiness to showcase pure sonic power through tense, complex and progressive instrumentation, unstoppable rhythm, and ferocious vocal delivery. Not only is it their magnum opus, it may just be the best album of 2014.
    Expand
  22. Jul 7, 2014
    10
    The musicianship the band gives with Michael Gira's beautifully-thematic and devastating approach in songwriting really gives you an introspective view on how the band works dynamically in the studio.

    The grooves throughout the record clearly makes this an uncompromising album ready to slam down and show no mercy to any potential rivals. Not that Mr. Gira was/or is intending to do such
    The musicianship the band gives with Michael Gira's beautifully-thematic and devastating approach in songwriting really gives you an introspective view on how the band works dynamically in the studio.

    The grooves throughout the record clearly makes this an uncompromising album ready to slam down and show no mercy to any potential rivals. Not that Mr. Gira was/or is intending to do such thing, but the fact remains that this album achieves a startling, staggering and palpable point. A definite must-have for music fans bent on experimentation in any sort of genre, especially one by a hugely underrated band like Swans.
    Expand
  23. Aug 18, 2014
    10
    Epic and big. Even though it's 2 hours longs, i didn't loose interest at one point. His voice is amazing, and the music is hypnotic and beautiful. Clearly a 10 for me.
  24. Apr 27, 2015
    10
    Michael Gira has demonstrated his ability to push musicians beyond any expectations, and over the years, Swans has become one of the most respected bands when it comes to experimental music. It’s safe to say that Swans had enough records to be regarded as one of the most consistent and demanding bands these past decades, but it sounds as if Gira’s fear of death had grown to a point whereMichael Gira has demonstrated his ability to push musicians beyond any expectations, and over the years, Swans has become one of the most respected bands when it comes to experimental music. It’s safe to say that Swans had enough records to be regarded as one of the most consistent and demanding bands these past decades, but it sounds as if Gira’s fear of death had grown to a point where he can no longer control it. To Be Kind is full of surprises, full of details. There are songs that last for over 10 minutes and one over 30, that’s not interesting until you witness how intense those are. Perfect instrumentation, Gira’s voice is immaculate and it does what The Seer didn’t, it becomes fearless and uncompromising when it has to. Sometimes the less said the better. To Be Kind is a flawless album and the best of 2014.

    Best track: She Loves Us
    Exact Score: 10
    Expand
  25. May 22, 2015
    10
    This is not music to put on in your car while you're driving around. This is music to transcend. While you can enjoy specific songs in the traditional way it is much more powerful as an immersive experience. It takes an investment of time and soul I think but the ultimate payoff is worth it and has opened me up to other "music" that I found too intimidating or strange. And if you everThis is not music to put on in your car while you're driving around. This is music to transcend. While you can enjoy specific songs in the traditional way it is much more powerful as an immersive experience. It takes an investment of time and soul I think but the ultimate payoff is worth it and has opened me up to other "music" that I found too intimidating or strange. And if you ever get to see them live DO IT! As powerful as the music is on recorded media it is 10x more effective in a live setting with all of your senses absorbing the energy. Beautiful brutality! Expand
  26. Apr 16, 2017
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Interesting, creepy and experimental- To Be Kind in a nutshell. Very long tracks, which have a lot to offer, sonically and lyrically. The vocals are very meaning full. Almost every track follows the same pattern- after a few minutes of quiet jamming, the big range of instruments just explode into a big, unstoppable wall of sound. On of the best experimental rock, post-rock, noise rock, drone and ambient records in a while. Expand
  27. Apr 8, 2017
    10
    The inevitable conclusion of the loudness wars; get good and loud like it's 1988, play as long as a 1971 drug jam and as violent as 1593. Every sound on this album is perfectly mixed, from the explosive guitars to the glassy sheen of drum spills. Even the ear splitting noise is mixed to not clip, given plenty of breathing room in the mix, alongside trombones and oboes who knows what theThe inevitable conclusion of the loudness wars; get good and loud like it's 1988, play as long as a 1971 drug jam and as violent as 1593. Every sound on this album is perfectly mixed, from the explosive guitars to the glassy sheen of drum spills. Even the ear splitting noise is mixed to not clip, given plenty of breathing room in the mix, alongside trombones and oboes who knows what the **** else. A masterpiece no-one gets, including us fans or it's creators. Expand
Metascore
88

Universal acclaim - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35
  1. Classic Rock Magazine
    Dec 18, 2014
    80
    To Be Kind is evidence that they continue to grow and may not have reached their peak yet. It's superb for now, though. [Summer 2014, p.90]
  2. The Wire
    Jul 17, 2014
    80
    To Be Kind is even moodier and more desolate than 2012's The Seer.... The more structured, traditional tracks don't cut quite as deep, largely because they echo other groups, at times overtly. [May 2014, p.68]
  3. Jun 27, 2014
    78
    Well into their fourth decade, with the aughts years spent in hibernation, Swans are still making records of brilliance and majesty.