Van Lear Rose - Loretta Lynn
Metascore
97

Universal acclaim - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 27
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 27
  3. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. It's just that damn good. [#7]
  2. 100
    Lynn's voice... is as strong as it was during her heyday, while her songwriting ability has only increased with age. [Jun 2004, p.98]
  3. 100
    White's willfully basic approach is what gives Van Lear Rose its freshness.... If you thought Rick Rubin's Johnny Cash reinvention was impressive, wait 'til you grab a fistful of this. [Album of the Month, June 2004, p.84]
  4. 100
    Some of the most gripping singing you're going to hear all year.... A brave, unrepeatable record that speaks to her whole life. [May 2004, p.123]
  5. The beauty of the album rests in Loretta Lynn's exceptional songwriting.
  6. Crackling with a bristling immediacy, Van Lear Rose yanks Lynn into the present while never abandoning musical traditions that continue to define her, her voice, and her material. [30 Apr 2004, p.160]
  7. 100
    The duo's collaboration on Van Lear Rose is unexpectedly gripping, a raucous slice of vintage Nashville fuelled by Lynn's down-home wisdom, twangy gee-tars and White's inspired hand at production.
  8. 100
    The toughest record ever made by a former mainstream country artist.... If all the songs don't rival her finest work, the arrangements pull them up. [May 2004, p.105]
  9. A darkly compelling masterpiece that taps into the pitch-black id of Johnny Cash’s best records.
  10. The most personally felt, universally inclusive record of her career.
  11. Van Lear Rose is remarkably bold, celebratory and honest. It's a homecoming for a small-town musician gifted with poise, humor and compassion, but at its very heart, it's happy to be just a kick-ass country record.
  12. Recast[s] her matchless mountain holler and ever-sturdy songwriting genius in the milieu of gut-bucket blues riffs and blistering rock guitar, making Lynn sound not so much reinvigorated as reimagined, given a raucously purposeful, wildly authoritative new playground for her still-terrific proto-feminist (even in 2004) tropes.
  13. The brilliance of Van Lear Rose is not just how the two approaches complement each other, but how the record captures the essence of Loretta Lynn's music even as it has flourishes that are distinctly Jack.
  14. Nothing short of remarkable. [Jun 2004, p.102]
  15. Lynn and White weren't straining to make history, just a damn good Loretta Lynn album. But it sure sounds classic anyway.
  16. Her voice sounds so goddamn fresh, spontaneous, uncompromised. There's an intensely visceral quality to these performances that is so utterly compelling.
  17. The result is genuine alt-country at a time when the term has come to signify little more than middling acoustic rock.
  18. 90
    Perhaps the album of her career.
  19. The final product exceeds the hype.
  20. The fact that a woman of Lynn's tenure can slide so easily into what is essentially an alt-country environment without losing any of her down-home authenticity simply underscores her versatility and timelessness.
  21. A rich, rewarding showcase for a woman whose voice, spirit, and energy have not faded.
  22. Given a chance to be herself, Lynn responds with a powerful return to form. [28 Apr 2004]
  23. Van Lear Rose exceeds all expectations, a bold collaboration in which artists from two different musical universes forge a memorable work that neither could have created alone.
  24. Kudos to White's preservation of Lynn's loving, narrative songwriting even when paired with his own grittier sensibilities. In doing so, the two unlikely bedfellows have cut a classic.
  25. It’s not as remarkable a transformation as the one Rick Rubin performed on Johnny Cash, but this is a fine collection and as pleasurable a listen as it undoubtedly was to record.
  26. White’s arrangements and production are simple and effective, clear without gloss.
  27. Less rehearsal, less production, and fewer layers of sound let Loretta's Lorettaness shine through.

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