To Be Still

Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. 80
    To Be Still is a quantum leap from its predecessor, and one which establishes Alela Diane as a significant figure in contemporary Americana.
  2. Working with material hog-tied to the past and performed with traditional trappings puts Diane at some risk for creative stagnation and worse--the kind of anonymity and irrelevance enjoyed by vast swathes of the contemporary folk universe. To Be Still avoids these traps thanks to Diane's spectacular voice and, well, the little, mostly indescribable things.
  3. Like "The Pirate's Gospel," her cruelly unheralded 2006 debut, To Be Still is a staggering meditation on the idea of home in its many forms, and shares its predecessor's knowing heart--young, but already familiar with the tugging weights of time, family and love.
  4. With this single self-produced masterstroke, Alela Diane has effectively shaken off all the ill-fitting labels of “new weird America” and “freak folk” and given notice that a warmly expressive and unique voice has arrived with stories to tell.
  5. Melodically, too, To Be Still is both more sophisticated, more confident, and, above all, more convincing (if encountered in a less than fan-like frame of mind, the previous album could appear more than a little monotonous).
  6. The result: something greater than the sum of its parts, and one of this year's lovelier albums.
  7. 70
    It's difficult to sound this vintage without coming off as contrived, but Alela Diane, her guitarist/producer father, and assorted friends tap into folk archetypes that are often opaquely generalized but always disarmingly pure.
  8. Toward the end, the gentle folk trot through mountain passes, creeks, and farms starts to get tedious, but Diane has a stellar voice that would fit in Nashville, North Carolina, or Nevada City.
  9. The poetry on To Be Still is sometimes a bit too delicate for my taste, but the songs show off much more than words alone. They display a quirky vocal talent and songwriting skill.
  10. To Be Still is beautiful and subtly splintered and cathartic in an honestly incomplete way. And it is, finally, that rare kind of album: one worth getting close to.
  11. Mojo
    80
    A spectacular step forward. [Mar 2009, p.111]
  12. The banjos and root-tootin' bass might seem overly reverential but there's something comforting in her landscapes of small-town America.
User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 13 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. MaxE.
    Sep 1, 2009
    10
    Sublime.
  2. Evannotimportant
    Mar 18, 2009
    10
    beautiful album! a real natural progression from "Pirates Gospel." It has a much more folksy/bluegrass feel... GENIOUS.. btw she's a way beautiful album! a real natural progression from "Pirates Gospel." It has a much more folksy/bluegrass feel... GENIOUS.. btw she's a way cool to, met her! Full Review »
  3. KurtC.
    Feb 22, 2009
    9
    An exceptional follow up to her self-released debut from a few years ago. This new one is noticeably higher in recording quality with the An exceptional follow up to her self-released debut from a few years ago. This new one is noticeably higher in recording quality with the addition of a backing-band, all of which help to make Diane's songs more solid, grooving, and overall more accessible (not that her early songs weren't, but who doesn't like a steady beat and bass in the background?). So far, the stand-out album of 2009. Full Review »