Wig Out at Jagbags

  • Record Label: Matador
  • Release Date: Jan 7, 2014
Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
Buy On
  1. Jan 6, 2014
    90
    Even if Wig Out at Jagbags is quieter than, say, 2008's churning Real Emotional Trash, it feels looser than most of the Jicks records; the compositions are tight but the attitude is ragged, which winds up being more infectious and fun than albums where the songs drift but the instruments are tight.
  2. Mojo
    Jan 23, 2014
    80
    Those bummed that the proggy leanings of his Jicks have encouraged former Pavement stepper Malkmus to indulge his inner Saxondale will find much to love on their sixth album. [Feb 2014, p.88]
  3. Alternative Press
    Jan 17, 2014
    80
    Wig Out is full of so much life and melody that it stands as a refreshing alternative to the increasingly homogenous state of indie rock. [Feb 2014, p.91]
  4. Uncut
    Jan 15, 2014
    80
    Wig Out At Jagbags presents Malkmus at his most eager to please. That it does so while still honoring his idiosyncrasies makes it a particular delight to behold. [Feb 2014, p.82]
  5. Jan 8, 2014
    80
    Having always been celebrated for his subtle wit and labyrinthine approach to pop writing, he continues to weave genius from his own mental dictionary.
  6. Jan 7, 2014
    80
    When he stretches out vocally, to match the high-register tremble of his guitar, Malkmus proves that he can come on like a soulman--even when he's wigging out.
  7. 80
    [The album sounds] well rehearsed in all its complexities, but enthusiastic and offhand. Mr. Malkmus has written enigmas that are open to exegesis, but they also just roll on by with a whoop and a grin.
  8. Jan 6, 2014
    80
    Few of his contemporaries possess a post-important-band solo discography as prolific and consistently great as that of Stephen Malkmus, but each new album firmly leaves his past in the dust.
  9. Jan 6, 2014
    80
    Stephen Malkmus’s career post Pavement has largely been hit or miss, but on Wig Out At Jagbags the hit quota is as high as it has ever been. This is the album that any Malkmus aficionado would hope for.
  10. 80
    Wig Out at Jagbags is pretty much everything we could have hoped for from Stephen Malkmus at this point in his career.
  11. 80
    Singles are by nature the juiciest bait, but what's cheering is that so many of these tracks match Lariat for sheer breeziness.
  12. Jan 3, 2014
    80
    Pop-rock deconstructionist, art-rock godfather, Portland father and family man: all these elements come through here and it makes this album a triumph.
  13. Jan 8, 2014
    75
    Like most of Malkmus’ releases, Wig Out At Jagbags won’t likely endear him to many newer listeners. But for those who are of the same disposition, this ain’t a bad place to be.
  14. 75
    Wig Out at Jagbags lands locked and loaded, ready to please the Kool-Aid drinkers among us. You’re either in or you’re out, and you already know which side you’re on. For the thirsty among us, enjoy.
  15. Jan 7, 2014
    75
    A catchy, noodling collection, with a few keepers and no outright clunkers.
  16. Jan 23, 2014
    70
    Jagbags runs into some of the same problems that previous Jicks records have faced; his nonsensical lyrical style, which veers between the sublime and the ridiculous at breakneck pace, is certainly an acquired taste, and his penchant for stylistic variation, as always, throws up the odd miss to go with the hits.
  17. 70
    Wig Out at Jagbags is a reminder that as long as we’ll keep listening and guessing, he’ll just keep playing guitar solos and spitting our analytical words for him right back at us, adorned with a rhyme and stripped of all seriousness.
  18. Jan 7, 2014
    70
    At the heart of his music is still an inimitable bittersweetness—the light shrug that follows the realization that in time all things will die and pass. His best songs have always felt like ballads, regardless of tempo. There are some of those songs here.
  19. Jan 7, 2014
    70
    On the whole, Wig Out at Jagbags strikes a good balance between a little bit of Malkmus being Malkmus and just enough of him letting his guard down, tapping into a more vulnerable side of him as a songwriter that’s underrated and overlooked because it’s so often deflected and obscured by the ingenious wordplay.
  20. Jan 6, 2014
    70
    He wonders aloud what happens to ageing punk rockers on “Rumble at the Rainbo” and waxes nostalgic on “Lariat.” “Independence Street” summons his reverence for Lou Reed with lyrics so wry and a vocal delivery so laconic that Reed himself would have approved.
  21. Here he tightens the screws a bit to make 12 purposeful, concise tracks.
  22. Jan 6, 2014
    70
    Jagbags might suffer from a mild case of "the mids"--mid-paced, middle-aged, and (at times) middle-of-the-road--but there is still much to enjoy here.
  23. Jan 3, 2014
    70
    The contentment Malkmus expresses here is so cozy you might feel a little corny calling it wisdom. But you wouldn't embarrass yourself too much if you called it perspective.
  24. Jan 3, 2014
    70
    Sure, there’s clunky country passages (‘Houston Hades’), brassy crooning (‘J Smoov’) and Cream-y jams (‘Cinnamon and Lesbians’), but Malkmus’ wit remains more than intact in his middle-age.
  25. Overall Wig Out at Jagbags isn't exactly a disappointing release, especially since it's far better than the breed of record many other artists multiple decades into their respective careers make. It is a frustrating one though.
  26. Feb 5, 2014
    60
    It never feels quite enough to warrant the repeated listens that any one of Malkmus’ other solo records deserve, which feels something of a travesty.
  27. Q Magazine
    Jan 28, 2014
    60
    It's the most consistently enjoyable Malkmus/Jicks LP since his excellent self-titled album of 2001. [Feb 2014, p.117]
  28. 60
    Maybe Jagbags would be better if it were tighter, but you’d lose the crucial impression of a man whose primary mission is now to entertain himself.
  29. Jan 9, 2014
    60
    It coasts at times too comfortably its relative strengths, and it never really generates a significant excitement in its more extended jams.
  30. Jan 7, 2014
    60
    It's an uneasy détente in the continuing conflict between its creator's best and worst impulses.
  31. Tiny Mix Tapes
    Jan 7, 2014
    60
    Its songs are well-constructed, well-paced, and all subtly different from each other.... [but] for the most part, it’s a little too “safe” and unadventurous.
  32. Jan 3, 2014
    60
    Much like 2011's Mirror Traffic, Wig Out is more succinct and direct than the first few Jicks releases, but any slick habits he's picked up are punctured by his trademark gobbledygook lyrics.
  33. Feb 19, 2014
    50
    There are just too many occasions where Malkmus' tone bypasses droll, flies directly over kitsch, and lands way out in the rough with no hope of ever retrieving the ball.
  34. 40
    Wig Out at Jagbags finds him reverting to type, with willfully obtuse sonic strategies that strive to wrong-foot even the most devoted listener.
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 20 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Sep 21, 2014
    9
    The first new album I heard this year. The greatest beginning that I could ask for. This album clearly states that we will have StephenThe first new album I heard this year. The greatest beginning that I could ask for. This album clearly states that we will have Stephen Malkmus for a while, and The Jicks are at their most steady point. I liked more Mirror Traffic, but the melodies in Wig Out At Jagbags are more complex with Malkmus characteristic lyrics, and the addition of new instrumentation and great song structures. Chartjunk and J Smoov are masterpieces and are two of the best songs I have heard all year. Full Review »
  2. Feb 7, 2014
    9
    I've always dug Pavement/Malkmus but this record for some reason really made me "get it" for real and i've gone S.M/Pavement crazy. The mostI've always dug Pavement/Malkmus but this record for some reason really made me "get it" for real and i've gone S.M/Pavement crazy. The most youthful, fun Jicks record yet. Signature ridiculous/brilliant lyrics and of course Malkmus is one of the finest guitar players of the modern era - this record displays that beautifully. The Jicks aren't self serious and if you're looking for an epic indie prog masterpiece - you won't find it. But to quote Lester Bangs “The first mistake of art is to assume that it's serious.”. Dig this. Full Review »
  3. Feb 2, 2014
    8
    This was my full-length introduction to the Jicks (as a casual Pavement fan) & it's my first loved album of 2014. WOAJ is a set of greatThis was my full-length introduction to the Jicks (as a casual Pavement fan) & it's my first loved album of 2014. WOAJ is a set of great indie/alt-rock tracks filled with personality, wit & hooks. Not to mention that the production really helps give it a loose & almost live feel throughout. 84/100

    (If you wanna see my full video review where I go more in-depth, look up my YouTube channel "Spin It! Reviews".)
    Full Review »