Generally favorable reviews - based on 11 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 11
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 11
  3. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. Lyrically keen and immediately catchy. [Mar 2002, p.84]
  2. 80
    Under Cold Blue Stars is a towering achievement. [Apr 2002, p.108]
  3. Under Cold Blue Ground blazes some new trails for John Rouse, but the quality of his songwriting and the emotional impact of his music hasn't changed a bit; it's a solid and satisfying set from a genuinely gifted artist.
  4. Quietly thrilling. [Feb 2002, p.113]
  5. Few songwriters can express these mundane intricacies of melancholia free from morose affectation, but Rouse's heartbreak and hurt sounds honest and natural, inviting you to share his pain.
  6. 80
    Strikes the perfect balance between the pop-savvy shuffle of Lyle Lovett and the lush loveliness of '80s Englishmen Prefab Sprout. [Mar 2002, p.134]
  7. The album's hypnotic passages and resounding moments all surround the singer's typically simple, memorable melodies, but the highlights of Under Cold Blue Stars are the lyrical phrases that Rouse chews up and blows out.
  8. Rouse has pushed out the boundaries that molded his first two full-length albums. And he's done it in all directions.
  9. His sound, gender-neutral swooning folk dressed in quirky analog jazz keyboards, would fit nicely on a mix tape alongside The Smiths and Nick Drake.
  10. A surprisingly upbeat collection of inviting pop numbers.
  11. 70
    Generally rawer than it's predecessor Home, Under Cold Blue Stars is as evocative as Rouse's much-lauded debut Dressed Up Like Nebraska, while reaching still further from the twang of his adopted Nashville. [Mar 2002, p.100]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 5 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 2
  2. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. JorelL
    Oct 17, 2007
    I much admire Rouse's 1972 and Nashville, but this early effort is almost a complete snooze. The melodies are way too meek and mild to make one care about the lyrics. Full Review »
  2. [Anonymous]
    Apr 5, 2003
    great, kind of chill, david gray-esque, if you like labels; its altcountry with electronic background noise....and its a grower.