Metascore
71

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. 100
    Under The Blacklight is by far and away the most accessible album that Rilo Kiley have ever made.
  2. Terse and beaty, with Dr. Dre referral Mike Elizondo going half on the baby, this isn't a pop record, but it does avoid guitar-band shapes, sonics and truisms.
  3. The L.A. quartet has returned with an album that's teeming with creatively executed ideas, to the point where it almost feels like the band was just using its first three albums to warm up.
  4. Every one of the eleven songs attached to Blacklight is a stunner in purely musical terms.
  5. 90
    Creamy and precise, every coo and arpeggio blows through your ear buds like the ruffle of crisp bills.
  6. 80
    This band brings a grubby beauty to a sound imbued with the insidious durability of the Buckingham-Nicks Fleetwood Mac. [Sep 2007, p.105]
  7. On an album tat is filled with gems, Jenny Lewis is the crown jewel. [Sep 2007, p.85]
  8. It's yet more adventurous, a prosperous band's challenge to its comfortable cult.
  9. 80
    Lewis' wordplay smartly unspools over the course of a song--with 'Breakin' Up,' she creates a 'Since U Been Gone' for grown-ups, and on '15,' narrates an Internet jailbait vignette without melodrama or moralizing. [Sep 2007, p.132]
  10. Long-term Rilo Kiley fans may take their time to warm to Under The Blacklight.... This sees them develop their sound and mature with it.
  11. Some of these genre shifts work better than others, of course, but the record is so tightly constructed that nothing ever crashes and burns.
  12. Ultimately, the change in direction will likely raise a few eyebrows among some diehard fans, which isn't to say the songs here aren't noteworthy in their own right.
  13. This album is a pleasant surprise disguised as an unpleasant one.
  14. Under the Backlight is a confident, assured move by a band unafraid of distancing themselves from the indie rock mopers. [Summer 2007, p.76]
  15. The rest of Under the Blacklight feels like the Jenny Lewis show and even if this album doesn't push Rilo Kiley to the top, it's hard to deny that it feels like the launching pad for her ascent into true stardom.
  16. Under the Blacklight is a brief and often bizarre record, jiggling with artificial rhythm and awash in backup singers imported from 1981.
  17. Under the Blacklight is at once more ethereal that anything Rilo Kiley has ever managed previously.
  18. Ahead of their Electric Picnic date, the LA rockers ditch their mainstream sheen on their fourth album.
  19. For the most part, Blacklight is far too flat to shine. [24 Aug 2007, p.130]
  20. Aside from whatever awaits Rilo Kiley if they discover, like Courtney Love before them, that deliberately setting the dial to AOR doesn't guarantee success--is the seam of graceless contrivance. Not just musically--but lyrically.
  21. When Rilo Kiley stick to bittersweet pop, as on '15,' a country romp about underage sex, the results are engaging enough. But that marriage of extremes is hard to pull off, and on 'Breakin' Up' they get it horribly wrong.
  22. The remainder of their fourth album, however, has a familiar Midwestern chug, and is a gorgeous confection of girl-group soft rock and country-tinged balladeering.
  23. Either they're utterly serious about their flirtation with the mainstream or they're taking the piss with a wink. In both cases, the songs suffer a smothering slow death by context.
  24. Sadly, it's an isolated gem ['Dejalo'] that can't lift Under The Blacklight out of its dull AOR mire.
  25. Fans will love it, but if you're not already on board, this album won't change your mind. [Oct 2007, p.169]
  26. The one thing you can't accuse Under the Blacklight of is being boring, but it abides by an either/or sort of mentality that presumes that a complete lack of substance is the only alternative to the kind of music Rilo Kiley and their pals made in 2002.
  27. A messy set of songs caught up in a fruitless search for some kind of thematic self-justification. If Under the Blacklight really was a concept album, then the concept was irretrievably flawed.
  28. Yes, the beats are big and the sound is mainstream and commercial; however, the band sound restrained and uncomfortable.
  29. The award for most disappointing album of the year (so far) gos without question to Rilo Kiley's Under the Blacklight. [Summer 2007, p.76]
  30. 40
    The disc's most memorable moments come in the musical ideas left abandoned. [Sep/Oct 2007, p.130]
  31. What makes Under The Blacklight a true disappointment is the shoddy songcraft.
  32. Lewis has tons of charisma--but it's a shame the shift in focus coincides with an album so superficial that her characters' hollow-eyed come-ons seem genuine by comparison.
User Score
6.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 51 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 34
  2. Negative: 4 out of 34
  1. Apr 2, 2011
    9
    I actually had to create an account to throw in my .02, so I hope the ragey Rilo Kiley fans reading through the disappointed negative reviews will possibly get some light shed on the intentions of the band with this album. I never actually cared for this band up until a few weeks ago until my Last.fm played a few tracks from Under the Blacklight and I thought "That's a cool classic rock band. Who's the artist now? Let's see...Rilo Kiley??" I listened through all five of their albums consecutively to give myself a perspective on just what the band was. It's pretty clear that each of the band members have a say in what is recorded. Everyone has a different taste. Once I hit Under the Blacklight after just hearing "More Adventurous" a handful of times, it did sound on first listen to be the band "selling out". It sounded pretty sketchy. I understood exactly what the longterm RK fans had been saying in reviews about them trying hit it rich by sounding more mainstream. I have to wonder though, are any of those negative reviews actually listening to the content of this music? Under the Blacklight was still very distinctly RK. A mainstream group wouldn't have you thinking you were listening to Fleetwood Mac or Dusty Springfield. After listening to a few interviews with them, they stated very clearly that everyone had their turns at playing what they wanted to in the previous albums and they wanted to pull from (solely) their parents' music they'd hear on those "long car rides" and the sort. It's not the band selling out, no...it's just them doing something else yet again. Under the Blacklight was intended to be a cheer for the influences they grew up on, and if you can't hear that in the album, there might be a need to question if you've been truly listening to music or just the sound of it. Full Review »
  2. Mar 9, 2011
    8
    Under The Blacklight has some really good tracks. Jenny Lewis's vocals are amazing as always. She's just a natural born singer. The melodies are great. The songs are really catchy but somewhat falls flat towards the final half of the album but All In All, Under The Blacklight is a great album by Rilo Kiley. B+ Full Review »