• Record Label: 4AD
  • Release Date: Apr 19, 2011
Metascore
86

Universal acclaim - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 34
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 34
  3. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. Apr 19, 2011
    83
    Whokill's sonic imagination outlasts the novelty of Tune-Yards' debut, and even better, a lyrical persona as playfully warped as the rhythms punching away behind it.
  2. Apr 18, 2011
    100
    In a year that's already been rather special for great albums, Merrill Garbus may well have produced the finest record of the year.
  3. Jun 29, 2011
    91
    On the follow-up to her 2009 breakthrough album, "Bird-Brains," Merrill Garbus (aka Tune-Yards) again creates a clamorous assemblage of warm, overdriven kitchen-sink instrumentation, field hollering, layered stacks of processed vocals and a sonic smorgasbord culled from the world cafe-only more so.
  4. May 25, 2011
    63
    w h o k i l l may be strange on first pass, but only by its uniqueness, a music whose microgenre would disappear in a whiff were Ms. Garbus to have never stumbled upon it within her.
  5. 80
    This is heavy and intense music that I find difficult to call pop. She deserves better.
  6. May 18, 2011
    80
    It's truly peerless music. And though Garbus sometimes teeters on the brink of musical bombast, her imagination propels it all forward while avoiding the quicksand of self-indulgence.
  7. May 4, 2011
    88
    w h o k i l l is probably the most inviting album you'll hear this year.
  8. Catchy yet abrasive, noisy yet intimate, kind of funny yet also kind of scary, this is post-pop at its most vertiginously original.
  9. May 2, 2011
    90
    The bizarre take on folk, pop and anything else she sees fit is enchanting, joyful and thought provoking; it's everything at once.
  10. Apr 29, 2011
    90
    On this album, Garbus attempts to do this in a sophisticated and admirable way, and in the very form of her music, she offers a potential solution of a sort.
  11. Apr 29, 2011
    100
    A tremendous leap forward from Tune-Yards' previous efforts, w h o k i l l proves that Garbus isn't just a brainy artiste with a killer voice, but an event, someone to take notice of, a new center of gravity in the musical underground.
  12. Apr 22, 2011
    80
    She tosses jazz, folk, R&B, hip-hop and whatever else strikes her fancy into fascinating collisions that are as melodic as they are abrasive, and as globally minded as they are distinctly urban.
  13. 80
    It's as if Garbus is powered by primal, wrong-righting spirits that click like a force of nature.
  14. Apr 21, 2011
    89
    Garbus is a "new kinda woman," declares closing track, "Killa," and it's about damn time.
  15. Though the album now comes with studio polish and masterful songwriting, W H O K I L L still feels like an underground tape, challenging the listeners with oddball melodic choices.
  16. Apr 20, 2011
    80
    The songs are more consistent, too, flashing a certain lyrical swagger, careening from terrific sex to celebratory violence to uncomfortable cultural realities.
  17. Apr 19, 2011
    80
    Garbus might be more known right now as a magnetic performer, but w h o k i l l proves she's just as beguiling on record.
  18. 100
    She deploys her superb music to address an issue so pressing few can stand to think about it: who kills who?
  19. Apr 19, 2011
    80
    Garbus's engagement is loud and hard to ignore. That she engages without despair is the part I find most admirable of all.
  20. Apr 19, 2011
    80
    Truer words were never uttered to describe tUnE-yArDs, though if you didn't know that before you got to the end of w h o k i l l, you weren't listening closely enough to it.
  21. Apr 19, 2011
    80
    For all the ups and downs of the lyrics, the music has no doubt that manic creativity and craftsmanship, along with rhythm and noise, are a survival kit.
  22. Apr 18, 2011
    80
    This is an album that's best aired on headphones, at critical volume.
  23. Apr 18, 2011
    80
    Whereas the musical and lyrical boldness of her 2009 debut, Bird-Brains, was a little muted by her homespun recording techniques, here every fragmenting note and confrontational idea is exhilaratingly crisp.
  24. Apr 18, 2011
    70
    It all hangs together thanks to Garbus' voice, which slides seamlessly from Joplin-esque howls to delicate coos.
  25. Apr 18, 2011
    80
    You can sense that she's still a bit uncomfortable flirting with pop music, and hides the most accessible and melodic songs in the second half of the album. Then again, if you can't deal with a few dissonant free jazz horn explosions, you probably weren't going to pick up this record anyway.
  26. Apr 18, 2011
    80
    There's a freedom in her voice and a joy that is apparent.
  27. 80
    We just get to experience the full potential and realization of her creativity, which fortunately encountered technology apt enough to record it.
  28. Apr 18, 2011
    80
    This is very much her record-it's a fractured gorgeousness, with Garbus embracing her oddness in a gesture of self-love that results in an alarming, startling, fun and playful record.
  29. Apr 18, 2011
    88
    For all its eccentric details and occasionally fractured flow, the songs brim with ecstatic blasts of saxophone and undulating waves of rhythm that suggest Afro-pop's endless groove.
  30. Apr 18, 2011
    90
    One can only hazard a guess as to what her next venture will sound like, but if whokill is anything to go by, tUnE yArDs' prospects are endless.
  31. Apr 18, 2011
    88
    This unguarded, individualistic expression encourages strong identification in listeners, so don't be surprised if this record earns Garbus a very earnest and intense cult following.
  32. Jun 21, 2011
    80
    Genre-hopping in style with one-woman band Merrill Garbus. [July 2011, p. 114]
  33. May 18, 2011
    80
    For all the sonic bricolage, nothing upstages Garbus's own force of personality: her vocal range thrillingly from demure cooing through sassy funk to lung-bursting holler. [May 2011, p.126]
  34. Apr 21, 2011
    80
    She has fashioned a still eccentric but bracingly focused collection of songs that blend her acrobatic and soulful Afro-jazz vocals with a collage music that defies any attempts at categorization. [May 2011, p.96]
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 75 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 14
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 14
  3. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. Apr 24, 2011
    9
    Like an LCD Soundsystem with a more african-orientated style, or a Vampire Weekend with a greater urgency, less subtle use of instruments andLike an LCD Soundsystem with a more african-orientated style, or a Vampire Weekend with a greater urgency, less subtle use of instruments and bigger vocals, Merrill Garbus has crafted a very fun, upbeat and surprisingly accessible indie pop record. One of my favourites thus far this year. I'm looking forward playing this on the beach this summer. Full Review »
  2. Apr 26, 2011
    7
    Prior to W H O K I L L, I was rather unfamiliar with tUnE-yArDs (That's a pain to write out), and became curious after seeing the music videoPrior to W H O K I L L, I was rather unfamiliar with tUnE-yArDs (That's a pain to write out), and became curious after seeing the music video for Bizness. Now, Bizness is the best part of the album, a phenomenal song, and the catchiest song I've heard in a long time. However, Bizness is the only part of the album that stuck out. Her vocals are interesting and vibrant, which helps, but a lot of the songs sounded the same. Not that there's a problem with that, when listening to the album as a whole, it's nice. But the tracks by themselves sound boring by themselves when played with the rest of my collection (Aside from the previously mentioned Bizness. Still, it's a good album, with nice lyrics and great vocals in the mix. Full Review »
  3. Aug 14, 2011
    10
    WOW. This and bon iver are the most interesting albums of the year so far, diverse, wildly creative and energetic, a bit like a lovely brew ofWOW. This and bon iver are the most interesting albums of the year so far, diverse, wildly creative and energetic, a bit like a lovely brew of dirty projectors, talking heads and vampire weekend... a nice brew indeed... but still with loads of originality. Full Review »