Wincing The Night Away

  • Record Label: Sub Pop
  • Release Date: Jan 23, 2007
User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 176 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 10 out of 176

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  1. MichaelC.
    Jan 31, 2008
    9
    The second half of the album trails off in to okay, but kind of generic and bland pop music. But the first half is so mindblowingly good, I could care less. Sleeping Lessons, Australia, and Phantom Limb are among my favorite songs of the year. The Shins can make some incredible music.
  2. paul
    Feb 4, 2007
    8
    i think it's hilarious to see all of the backlash the shins have created. i guess big bands will always have their haters. anyway, i'm giving this album an 8 simply because of the filler (which wasn't present on either of their first two) - BUT, this album is definitely a grower. my initial reaction was disappointment with the exception of "phantom limb" and "turn on me". i think it's hilarious to see all of the backlash the shins have created. i guess big bands will always have their haters. anyway, i'm giving this album an 8 simply because of the filler (which wasn't present on either of their first two) - BUT, this album is definitely a grower. my initial reaction was disappointment with the exception of "phantom limb" and "turn on me". then, i came back and a lot of other songs stuck out. basically, listen to the following songs and then make the call - "australia", "phantom limb", "turn on me", "split needles", "girl sailor", and "a comet appears". Expand
  3. DavidE
    Jan 30, 2007
    9
    Another great release from a band that continues to have trouble writing a bad song.
  4. Andy
    Feb 1, 2007
    7
    Chutes Too Narrow was one of the best, I knew it'd be hard to match up to that record. It seems like they try to but it all doesn't competely add up. It seem slike there are more songs that are filler than their past two albums combined. The "real" songs are fantastic but there should be more of them.
  5. GuyH
    Feb 5, 2007
    7
    I came to this release a Shins virgin so I'm obviously not comparing this album to past releases. I'm impressed and will track down the previous 2 albums on the strength of this. The sound is quite understated and a little bit melancholy so the disc requires a few spins before it sinks in. Phantom Limb, Australia, Red Rabbits and Girl Sailor are the stand-out tracks.
  6. dc
    Mar 8, 2007
    10
    this makes me happy. it's the best thing i've heard in a year. i fell in love with oh, inverted world, but was slightly disappointed by chutes too narrow. although it had strong songwriting, it was too crisp and in your face, which didn't keep with the gauzy, warm, multi-tracked, reverb tones of the first album. (i don't think at the time they'd adjusted yet to this makes me happy. it's the best thing i've heard in a year. i fell in love with oh, inverted world, but was slightly disappointed by chutes too narrow. although it had strong songwriting, it was too crisp and in your face, which didn't keep with the gauzy, warm, multi-tracked, reverb tones of the first album. (i don't think at the time they'd adjusted yet to better microphones, equipment, etc.) on this album i feel they've adjusted to better production and reclaimed their voice: a softer, more inviting, rich texture. it's gorgeous. for those of you who are questioning the songwriting, i think you're insane. that has been the constant factor on each of their albums. i think there's a touch of backlash with this band. if you're beyond all that, if you look to music for its beauty and craft rather than its social connotations, if you're not trying to figure out if you're SUPPOSED to like this band, then listen and enjoy. this is a really, really incredible record...as good as the first...in its own way. it baffles me that anyone would dismiss this album as sub-par. Expand
  7. ObsceneMinstrel
    Jan 23, 2007
    9
    The Shins' last two albums were little darlings that I would pop on whenever I needed a catchy song to listen to but this one changes the score a bit. It's a really tight and witty masterpiece that explores James Mercer's darker, more narrative side that he's only given us glimpses at before. The music itself seems bouncy and punchy without skipping all over the place The Shins' last two albums were little darlings that I would pop on whenever I needed a catchy song to listen to but this one changes the score a bit. It's a really tight and witty masterpiece that explores James Mercer's darker, more narrative side that he's only given us glimpses at before. The music itself seems bouncy and punchy without skipping all over the place like the last two albums and production-wise the album reminds me of The Smiths circa "The Queen Is Dead." It's a grower, and it gets better every time you play it. Be prepared to spin it a couple times before all of their hooks catch and surprise you. And listen to it with the lyric book at least once through because all of the lyrics on the internet are wrong (as of the release, anyway). Wincing the Night Away is definitely one of my new favorite albums, one that I can play as many times as I want without it ever growing old. Check it out if you're into good lyrics and highly-melodic pop music. Expand
  8. DougR
    Jan 23, 2007
    8
    Definitely another great Shins record but despite the surprising slighting by the critics above, "Chutes Too Narrow" is one of the most perfect alt-pop classics of all time. There is no way in Hell (see "Red Rabbits") that this album even comes close to the generation defining masterwork that its predecessor is.
  9. Tyler
    Jan 23, 2007
    7
    For the most part the critics got it wrong. This is not the best Shins album. That title belongs to the brilliant Chites Too Narrow. This is a good album (what else could we expect) but not a great one. Standout tracks are Australia, Sea Legs, Split Needles, Girl Sailor and Turn On Me.
  10. AdamW
    Jan 23, 2007
    7
    This album is good. Then again, they didn't take enough chances for it to be great or horrible. They seem content on their sound and it's probably their least interesting album.
  11. MartinoG
    Jan 23, 2007
    8
    Kurt Cobain doesn't know what he talking about. He probably only listen Nirvana since 15 years. This album was great and this is a good start for 2007 after a disapointing 2006.
  12. KevinO
    Jan 24, 2007
    7
    Lacks some of the punch and energy of Chutes, but I must say that I'm still intrigued by some of the sounds and melodies. Definitely need to listen more. I reserve my right to upgrade this score.
  13. natalieportman
    Jan 24, 2007
    10
    man if i see one more natalie portman Garden State reference to begin a review i am going to SCREAM. I mean, fair enough that the bands popularity was very much aided by it, but does every single opinion of their music have to be reduced to the sooo predictable hype backlash? This is a great record Garden State or not
  14. DavidA
    Jan 24, 2007
    8
    The lyrics/songwriting are great, I think it takes the best of Oh! Inverted world and Chutes too narrow.
  15. ExperimentalWhat?
    Jan 26, 2007
    10
    The Shins did no more experimenting on this album than on Oh! Inverted World. Wincing the Night Away merges the sounds of both previous albums and adds a degree of maturity. Whether or not maturity equals better sound is debatable. This is a great album either way and proof that Mercer is a lyrical genius.
  16. Tj
    Jan 29, 2007
    10
    it just keeps me spinning in my chair. unbelievable melodies and rapturing harmonies.
  17. SueL
    Jan 29, 2007
    9
    I'm not that familiar with the first 2 albums so I come to Wincing relatively ubnbiased I think. I really like this album and its definitely going to be one of the best for 2007. I'm mesmerised by the beautiful Spilt Needles and am enjoying A Comet Appears, Phantom Limb is ok and the others are growing on me. So much to explore and appreciate on this album and yes, I'll go I'm not that familiar with the first 2 albums so I come to Wincing relatively ubnbiased I think. I really like this album and its definitely going to be one of the best for 2007. I'm mesmerised by the beautiful Spilt Needles and am enjoying A Comet Appears, Phantom Limb is ok and the others are growing on me. So much to explore and appreciate on this album and yes, I'll go back and check out the others now. Expand
  18. DavidT
    Jan 30, 2007
    9
    A great album that may not be as immediately impressive as their previous two but one that grows and grows with each listen. I cannot get tired of this album.
  19. JimJ
    Feb 1, 2007
    10
    A great album!! The shins have evolved, this release is less euphoric than the previous LPs, but all the songs have a very distinctive identity. As usual, mercier's song writing is absolutely perfect.
  20. DeryW
    Mar 7, 2007
    9
    I've never really paid attention to The Shins until this made me sit up and listen. I don't think there is a dull moment in the album except "Pam Berry".
  21. nickh
    Apr 1, 2007
    7
    Quite a different sound than your probably expecting but this album really grows on you. I have to say i prefer the last couple albums but to be a great band i think they need to evolve and experiment while still delivering the nuances and such that you like them for, which can be found in here in spades. give it time to settle in.
  22. CaseyRDubya
    Apr 24, 2007
    7
    Not bad. Don't really see what the difference between this record and their others is. Doesn't sound any worse or better to me. Decend band. Good record
  23. GeorgeB
    May 18, 2007
    10
    Smart, addictive, & polished...my favourite record this year (so far)
  24. john
    Jul 28, 2007
    8
    Sounds like the past 2 records with a higher budget and the edges smoothed out.
  25. EthanS
    Jan 22, 2007
    9
    This album is near perfect because of one simple fact: It sounds exactly like the Shins. It expands on their sound in much the same way Chutes Too Narrow expanded on Oh, Inverted World. The production is tighter and more experimental, but they manage to stick perfectly to the signature sound that has made them everyone's favorite indie band.
  26. Marsh88
    Jan 22, 2007
    10
    Amazing. Stunning, Different. "Australia", "Sleeping Lessons" and "Turn On You" are perfect.
  27. LennyT
    Jan 22, 2007
    9
    Mercer makes his melodies sound effortless.
  28. greg
    Jan 22, 2007
    7
    pretty good album.
  29. mikes.
    Jan 22, 2007
    7
    The shins continue to improve with each release. This album has better production than their previous releases and the songs are catchier. The shins lead singer still has an odd sounding indie voice, but good song writing makes up for the weak vocals. Still he sounds much better than he has on previous records. A good indie album but not an essential listen.
  30. Dave
    Jan 23, 2007
    9
    Look, this is not the Shins' best album. This much is true. To trash on it or give it bad ratings as a result of this truth, however, is just irresponsible. This is still a very strong album and deserves to be rated as such.
  31. CoreyJ
    Jan 23, 2007
    10
    This is The Shins' best album to date. The sounds are deep and mature, and it provides more and more on each listen. The tracks are hauntingly beautiful, especially "Sea Legs," "Spilt Needles," and "A Comet Appears." Their trademark wincing whimsy is here with "Australia," "Phantom Limb," and the astonishingly amazing "Turn on Me," which could prove to be this album's best song. This is The Shins' best album to date. The sounds are deep and mature, and it provides more and more on each listen. The tracks are hauntingly beautiful, especially "Sea Legs," "Spilt Needles," and "A Comet Appears." Their trademark wincing whimsy is here with "Australia," "Phantom Limb," and the astonishingly amazing "Turn on Me," which could prove to be this album's best song. Let's hope Mercer and company continue in the direction they're headed; it's a beautiful one indeed. Expand
  32. MattA
    Jan 25, 2007
    8
    I thought it was a great CD with plenty of excellent songs. My biggest compaint is that it was a bit short, and i feel that they could have taken more time to write a couple more worthwhile tracks to put on the CD... that's all.
  33. s.s.
    Jan 25, 2007
    7
    Some songs like 'turn on Me' and 'Phantom Limb' are among their best while others are a sign of new influences of production and sound. A mixed bag album that we're not used to with The Shins, leaving the hope that the next one will be right on target with their newfound blips and cymbals.
  34. MichaelS.
    Jan 26, 2007
    9
    In my honest opinion, WTNA is being unjustly handled by the critics reviews. The first two albums are a couple of classics of the decade and to try to compare this album to them straight off i really unfair. Just to say that it might lack the sheer brillaince of 'chutes' is one thing, but really when compared to much of the music out there I believe the output is worth more than In my honest opinion, WTNA is being unjustly handled by the critics reviews. The first two albums are a couple of classics of the decade and to try to compare this album to them straight off i really unfair. Just to say that it might lack the sheer brillaince of 'chutes' is one thing, but really when compared to much of the music out there I believe the output is worth more than a 78...the critics always are looking to lower the status of bands that they themselves have elevated. Yes there are a few weak tracks but I would have to grade the album an 8.5 or so(I'll round up to 9 here)...the more you listen the better it becomes, I hope more people give it a chance! Collapse
  35. PhilipJ
    Jan 26, 2007
    10
    It surprises me how much this grew on me. A Comet Appears is one of the best songs I've heard in a long time. They didn't fall into the trap of experimentation where you lose what made you lovable in the first place. I don't care that the Shins are now "Your Mom's Favorite Indie Band". They are still my favorite band going on six years now.
  36. davidR
    Jan 29, 2007
    9
    A classic, ,that like other Shins albums, must be listened to multiple times to appreciate. For those still evaluating in the box of the first 2, keep listening, Sea Legs is a fusion gem...an amazing band!
  37. matta
    Jan 29, 2007
    7
    This is The Shins best album to date (just barely better than Oh, Inverted World), but they are still one of the most overrated indie bands out there (Zach Braff and Garden State aside). Rogue Wave is much better.
  38. EdwinT
    Jan 31, 2007
    10
    One of the best albums Ive heard in a long time. Ive always loved music by the shins and this is probably their best album
  39. DuncanS
    Jan 31, 2007
    10
    Love it!!
  40. Anas
    Feb 12, 2007
    7
    not nearly as amazing as the first two although there are some great tracks. my favorite is "red rabbits" and "sleeping lessons"
  41. Tom
    Feb 17, 2007
    8
    Here we are, 7 years into the new century, and I can't think of any good or memorable new bands that have popped up in the last 7 years. Then I heard this album. The Shins give me hope for new popular music. And this one apparently the lesser of their releases?
  42. MosstinP
    Feb 18, 2007
    8
    A cracking album. Unabashedly pop in excelsis. This is what The Shins do and what they will also do. Why complicate it? Gorgeous stuff.
  43. NeiloMpls
    Feb 19, 2007
    7
    Well...they've done it. Kudos to the Shins. This band gets the artsy jangle pop award this year. I enjoy this album only in that it maintains the tradition they've already set. I won't say it was a disappointment, but it has worn off after 8 or so listens. There's a bit of an over-produced vibe I got from this one. Especially since I heard orchestral string backgrounds Well...they've done it. Kudos to the Shins. This band gets the artsy jangle pop award this year. I enjoy this album only in that it maintains the tradition they've already set. I won't say it was a disappointment, but it has worn off after 8 or so listens. There's a bit of an over-produced vibe I got from this one. Especially since I heard orchestral string backgrounds on one of the songs (although it doesn't last long). Every band that makes it gets buffaloed into that sound. "Radio friendly" I guess. I'd like them to make a tinny minimal album next time around. Or even a jam album. They have that ability. And just so you know... the "7" rating is based only on a "Shins" scale. Expand
  44. JosephK
    Feb 21, 2007
    8
    It's not as life-altering as Natalie Portman would have you believe but it's certainly a great album.
  45. MikeP
    Feb 2, 2007
    10
    Fantastically different from what everybody else is doing at the moment. The Shins have their own little niche and I love what they've achieved on this new album. Chutes for now remains my favourite but songs like Australia and Phantom Limb are incredible standouts.
  46. Sean
    Feb 4, 2007
    9
    It took me two listens to love Chutes Too Narrow. It's taken me 12 listens to love this album. But none of that matters because i love them just the same, when all is said and done. A grower like Beck's Sea Change was a grower, but not any less-great because of it. I can't wait for whatever the Shins pull out of their hats next.
  47. VincentH
    Mar 18, 2007
    8
    Brian J...is your hearing okay buddy? If anything, this album is EXACTLY the sound of a band with a very distinct sound evolving in many ways. Though ironically (esp. the melodies and overall feel of the songs) this album is like the twisted sequel to "Oh, Inverted World". I have to be honest...the first time I heard this album, I didn't really like it. None of the songs got stuck in Brian J...is your hearing okay buddy? If anything, this album is EXACTLY the sound of a band with a very distinct sound evolving in many ways. Though ironically (esp. the melodies and overall feel of the songs) this album is like the twisted sequel to "Oh, Inverted World". I have to be honest...the first time I heard this album, I didn't really like it. None of the songs got stuck in my head and I thought they were all pretty bland and uninteresting. The second time it grew on me a bit and the melodies and hooks started to reveal themselves more and more. By the third time I listened to it, I absolutely loved it. Here's the thing: James Mercer KNOWS these songs aren't immediately catchy. It almost seems like he's taking his formula for writing sophisticated Beatles-ish melodies and toying with it a bit, tinkering with the elements to add or subtract all kinds of weird atmospheric kinks in the album (the electronica aspects, the almost Flaming Lips-esque focus on texture and atmosphere, etc. In the end, the songs are all still really great (I don't think Mercer could write a bad song if he tried...even their throwaway songs are good), but you have to give yourself a chance to discover the songs yourself. I mean....how many bands in music today (besides maybe Arcade Fire) still give listeners that pleasure? If you are one of those people who know the lyrics for all the songs from the first two albums by heart and played them nonstop for months (as I did), you will not be dissapointed. I give it an 8 because I did skip over one or two songs. Expand
  48. drewp
    Mar 2, 2007
    10
    This is one album that can't easily be dissected into singles--no one of the songs is catchy or hooky enough to have one of your friends asking who's on the stereo, but the whole album is amazing! It's timeless without being retro or boring, and somehow it all these quirky songs add up to one VERY infectious and fun album.
  49. BillS
    Jun 5, 2007
    10
    Whoa. This is the best album I've heard in years. It's produced Shins with lots more sounds, the melodies are great, as are the lyrics, and voice. You people are hard to please!
  50. PeteS
    Jul 14, 2007
    10
    Easily the best walking-around-to music in quite some time. Eclipses Chutes as their best effort...lyrics are just as good, but the surrounding instrumentation blows it away.
  51. JackN
    Aug 4, 2007
    10
    The Shins are an acquired taste, they are one of those bands you either love or hate. I love them, so you can tell this will be bias. I think this is as good if not better than Chutes To Narrow, it seems like the best parts of their first two combined and built upon. The only problem I have is Sea Legs, it is the only song they have written that I skip, but the rest definitely make it The Shins are an acquired taste, they are one of those bands you either love or hate. I love them, so you can tell this will be bias. I think this is as good if not better than Chutes To Narrow, it seems like the best parts of their first two combined and built upon. The only problem I have is Sea Legs, it is the only song they have written that I skip, but the rest definitely make it better than a lot of the crap that people put out now. Expand
  52. yngvel.
    Sep 25, 2007
    10
    Probably the best album of 2007!!!
  53. JoeE.
    Jan 22, 2007
    10
    Every time I tell myself I'm just going to listen to one song on this album, I break that promise and find myself having to listen to the whole thing. So it's not the hit after hit after hit that Chutes was. It's worlds calmer, but at the same time, it is just damn good songwriting, and in my opinion every bit as good, if not better overall, than their past two offerings.
  54. DavidP
    Jan 22, 2007
    9
    Not as good as their first two albums but they were great. still has a lot of really great songs! highly recommended. its good to see that some bands can make more than one good album! (CYHSY)
  55. MattE
    Jan 22, 2007
    7
    The first four songs are great (I'm not counting "Pam Berry.") After that, the record sounds a little forced. I think The Shins didn't evolve enough on this release ("Sleeping Lessons" is a good example of a stylelistic shift for the band.) I feel disappointed
  56. anonymous
    Dec 29, 2007
    10
    the shins are at their best, in my mind, when experimenting with many different genres in 1 album. in wincing the night away, the shins have a song for every mood, and the music flows almost as well as one their first 2 albums. The shins are a playful indie rock group, and analyzing the singles only kills it. To enjoy this album, you have to just listen and let yourself be swept away.
  57. MattD.
    Jan 24, 2007
    10
    A mix of great, straight up pop/rock and pretty, more textured experiments. Just as good as Chutes Too Narrow in my opinion.
  58. Billy'sWrong
    Jan 24, 2007
    10
    This album is great. And don't listen to Billy below, just listen to the album. Most of the songs seem to follow a pretty logical progression from earlier albums - and the few "experiments" do not "fall flat" as some reviewers say - they're some of the strongest songs on the album. I don't love everything the Shins create because I think I should, I love everything the This album is great. And don't listen to Billy below, just listen to the album. Most of the songs seem to follow a pretty logical progression from earlier albums - and the few "experiments" do not "fall flat" as some reviewers say - they're some of the strongest songs on the album. I don't love everything the Shins create because I think I should, I love everything the Shins create because it's wonderful music that affects me personally. That's enough for me. Expand
  59. JakeB
    Jan 24, 2007
    7
    Tough album. Hard to get a grasp on. Some of the best work The Shins have done thus far (Red Rabbits is the most accomplished song they've done yet) but it's also got some, I'm sad to say, pointless experimentation. Black Wave, Split Needles and Sea Legs just plain suck. Look, I'm all for expand your sound and whatnot, and it worked wonders for Radiohead and Wilco. but Tough album. Hard to get a grasp on. Some of the best work The Shins have done thus far (Red Rabbits is the most accomplished song they've done yet) but it's also got some, I'm sad to say, pointless experimentation. Black Wave, Split Needles and Sea Legs just plain suck. Look, I'm all for expand your sound and whatnot, and it worked wonders for Radiohead and Wilco. but it just doesn't work right for The Shins. Their best songs are the ones that sound like they could have been on the first two albums. Expand
  60. Trevorr
    Jan 24, 2007
    9
    Clearly most of the people who gave this album a negative review need to have their ears cleaned out.. did you all suddenly go deaf... a great great album.. try listening
  61. MattS.
    Jan 25, 2007
    9
    Great album. It's not very experimental, it doesn't expand much from their previous sound, but that's OK. This is great Shins' pop, and I'm all for it.
  62. JasonN
    Jan 25, 2007
    9
    Lyrically, this is their best album. Production-wise, it is their best. But great lyrics and great production dont always equal great songs. There are a couple missteps, but this is still an amazing album.
  63. TaylorF
    Jan 25, 2007
    10
    I would call myself fairly naive when it comes to their work as a whole. I have heard the previous albums through and through but never bothered getting them for myself b/c they just didn't grab me. Of course there are outstanding bits of songwriting and mood creation on their previous albums. The 2007 release has been playing non-stop on my work computer for most of this week. I I would call myself fairly naive when it comes to their work as a whole. I have heard the previous albums through and through but never bothered getting them for myself b/c they just didn't grab me. Of course there are outstanding bits of songwriting and mood creation on their previous albums. The 2007 release has been playing non-stop on my work computer for most of this week. I can't stop listening and it is the experimentation and mood exploration that keeps the album so fresh and dynamic. Embrace this album b/c we haven't had anything this exciting in some time. I can't wait to see these guys now. Expand
  64. HenryJR
    Jan 25, 2007
    10
    It might not be a 10 but we need the average to go way up. I love this album. It's subtle but gripping.
  65. JesseB
    Jan 25, 2007
    10
    Wow. The Shins continue to produce music that is different and better than anything else out there and this album is no departure. The music is bursting with energy and dark spaces all at once, which begins with the haunting opening track. The songs seem to begin as simple pop ditties and then layer upon layer are added to make each a mini masterpiece. The experimentalism on this album Wow. The Shins continue to produce music that is different and better than anything else out there and this album is no departure. The music is bursting with energy and dark spaces all at once, which begins with the haunting opening track. The songs seem to begin as simple pop ditties and then layer upon layer are added to make each a mini masterpiece. The experimentalism on this album makes it not just a great album but a groundbreaking masterpiece. In 20 years Wincing the Night Away will undoubtedly be looked upon as one of the great albums of our time. Expand
  66. thatguy
    Jan 26, 2007
    10
    Not a disapointment in any way, wait a while and people will come around and see it for what it is: a great album
  67. [Anonymous]
    Jan 26, 2007
    9
    Better than the reviews show. At first, I thought it was very average and a real disappointment. But songs like "Turn On Me", "Phantom Limb", and "Australia" get stuck in your head until you have to keep listening to the album. And it gets much better once you listen to it a few times. Still not as good as Oh, Inverted World or Chutes Too Narrow, but it's getting fairly close to the Better than the reviews show. At first, I thought it was very average and a real disappointment. But songs like "Turn On Me", "Phantom Limb", and "Australia" get stuck in your head until you have to keep listening to the album. And it gets much better once you listen to it a few times. Still not as good as Oh, Inverted World or Chutes Too Narrow, but it's getting fairly close to the latter. (OIW is my favorite.) Expand
  68. evan
    Jan 27, 2007
    9
    Great album. It takes a listen or two, but once ou get there it is a mood maker.
  69. micheleR
    Jan 28, 2007
    8
    Oh! Inverted World is still better than the last two.
  70. timm
    Jan 28, 2007
    9
    good stuff. their best outing yet. nice to see a band which improves through time. that is increasingly rare.
  71. jm
    Jan 31, 2007
    9
    'Wincing the Night Away' does not hit you from the onset like 'Chutes Too Narrow.' You may not like it during the first few listens. You may not want various tracks popping up in a random playlist or shuffle or on the radio. I am describing good aspects of the album. This is an album! With a beautiful backdrop of synthesizers and electronic elements, The Shins add 'Wincing the Night Away' does not hit you from the onset like 'Chutes Too Narrow.' You may not like it during the first few listens. You may not want various tracks popping up in a random playlist or shuffle or on the radio. I am describing good aspects of the album. This is an album! With a beautiful backdrop of synthesizers and electronic elements, The Shins add range to their sound. This album tells a story. From the music box start in 'Sleeping Lessons' to the birds chiping in 'A Comet Appears,' the album's final track. Even the title and artwork are woven into the fantasy story, a story with odes to 'Alice in Wonderland.' Other reviewers may be critical of certain tracks ('Pam Berry', 'Black Wave'), but each track adds to the story, thick with clever metaphors that dress the deep themes about life. It's an ambitious step for The Shins. A successful step. The only aspect preventing a perfect rating was a feeling that it needed a greater climax musically, but the test of time may elevate this album to "classic" status. Until then I will enjoy each glorious listen. Expand
  72. AdamR
    Feb 13, 2007
    8
    Worthy of one of the better albums of the year so far but it just sounds a little disorganized. They're sticking to their trademark sound and lyrics are solid
  73. WH
    Feb 14, 2007
    8
    Delightful and smart. A great album for rainy days, long sunny drives and just dancing around the house.
  74. JustinT
    Feb 15, 2007
    9
    The Shins drew me in with their timeless album, Chutes Too Narrow. While Wincing The Night Away doesn't leap out in such a potent way, it is still brimming with subtle genius. Bringing the lovely nuances out of Wincing is something like falling asleep - one must be patient, aloof, and unmindful to bring out the dreamy soundscapes it offers.
  75. MichaelK
    Mar 14, 2007
    8
    Not as immediately catchy as Chutes Too Narrow, but rewards with a few listens. Melodic, erudite pop-rock music. Destined to be one of this year's best releases.
  76. TristramC
    Apr 12, 2007
    8
    I really don't feel this album is all that different. Once you get 5 to 10 listens in all of it just seems like the logical progression. Yes, the Shins have growth with each album. It may be scary for some but this is a good thing. Think of it & consider the alternative. Maybe to two best indie records of 2001 were Oh Inverted World and Is This It? by the Strokes. As it turn out it I really don't feel this album is all that different. Once you get 5 to 10 listens in all of it just seems like the logical progression. Yes, the Shins have growth with each album. It may be scary for some but this is a good thing. Think of it & consider the alternative. Maybe to two best indie records of 2001 were Oh Inverted World and Is This It? by the Strokes. As it turn out it was (to this point) 'it' for the Strokes partly because they have attempted to make the same record three times. In that time the Shins career arc has ascended instead with consistantly strong, well written, intoxicatingly catchy wonderful records. "Austrailia" & "Phantom Limb" are simply jumps from the Shins previous work and "Sea Legs" & "Red Rabbits" capture the album's mystique like "Your Algebra" & "Caring Is Creep" did on the classic debut. For some really I really relate to "Turn On Me", but i digress. The Shins have, with this album, solidified their status as the pacesetters of indie and are now the only band as important as TV on the Radio. Expand
  77. KennyM
    Apr 13, 2007
    8
    A good album but not as exciting as their older work...and I am beginning to fear that The Shins, like Modest Mouse before them, are on the road to becoming just consistently okay.
  78. brittac
    Apr 15, 2007
    10
    i am completely broken-hearted that someone would say this album is a waste of time.. really now.. if you enjoyed the previous 2 albums at all, there is NO way you wouldn't like this one as well.. in fact, i really can't choose a favorite between the three.. but i do know that all of their albums are among my very favorites, and this particular gem hasn't gone without a i am completely broken-hearted that someone would say this album is a waste of time.. really now.. if you enjoyed the previous 2 albums at all, there is NO way you wouldn't like this one as well.. in fact, i really can't choose a favorite between the three.. but i do know that all of their albums are among my very favorites, and this particular gem hasn't gone without a good listen at least once a week since i got my hands on it.. do NOT pass it up.. i repeat, do NOT.. i don't know if i would say that the shins have evolved at all with this one, but it is every bit as whimsical and strangely moving as their other ones.. the shins may not play on the emotions in the same way as other artists do, but they have their own magic.. and i guess it's only a matter of taste or opinion.. but if you get what the shins are about, if you've got a feel for their magic, then you will be very sorry for passing up this album.. on a side-note: their music is best suited for an autumn drive on a drizzly day.. they're for when you want to feel solitary and just a bit melancholy [but not at all in a bad way].. kind of like sunny day real estate.. i put them both in that category.. yep.. that is all. Expand
  79. anneg
    Apr 25, 2007
    9
    wincing the night away is a good album but not as catchy as chutes too narrow. but a few suprises like australia and sea legs along with turn on me offer a great melodic pop-rock sound
  80. Nov 3, 2010
    7
    Not as good as their past albums, aside from 3 or 4 songs this album is kind of a let down. At least the songs that I like are really, really good and I can listen to them over and over.
  81. Oct 11, 2015
    10
    It is so rare to encounter a flawless pop-rock album- too often, they're frontloaded with the catchiest tunes and let the second half be filler. But every track on this album serves its purpose- even the 50-second "Pam Berry" is used perfectly to build up tension before the opening bassline of the stunningly beautiful and romantic "Phantom Limb." "Limb," along with "Australia" and "Turn onIt is so rare to encounter a flawless pop-rock album- too often, they're frontloaded with the catchiest tunes and let the second half be filler. But every track on this album serves its purpose- even the 50-second "Pam Berry" is used perfectly to build up tension before the opening bassline of the stunningly beautiful and romantic "Phantom Limb." "Limb," along with "Australia" and "Turn on Me," are three of the best songs of the decade and easily amon the finest the Shins ever recorded. This album is truly flawless. I wouldn't change a thing. Expand
  82. Mar 24, 2011
    8
    Wincing The Night Away may be the least of The Shins album, but nevertheless a great album. The opener "Sleeping Lessons" is the most guitar driven track The Shins have ever put out. The rest of the tracks are pop melodies that have different elements added to them. James Mercer's vocals is still wonderful this time round. All In All, Wincing The Night Away is the slowest Shins record yet,Wincing The Night Away may be the least of The Shins album, but nevertheless a great album. The opener "Sleeping Lessons" is the most guitar driven track The Shins have ever put out. The rest of the tracks are pop melodies that have different elements added to them. James Mercer's vocals is still wonderful this time round. All In All, Wincing The Night Away is the slowest Shins record yet, but it's still soft melodies that, just like every other Shins album, will stay in your head. B+ Expand
  83. j30
    Jan 24, 2012
    7
    This an interesting release from The Shins, especially after Chutes Too Narrow, the feels like it has too much of a mainstream appeal. I guess my biggest problem with it all is they play it too safe.
Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 37
  2. Negative: 0 out of 37
  1. Wincing is neither the clever genre recombinant exercise of their second album nor is it the perfect little self-contained universe of their debut. This is not the Shins' best album; it's their growing pains third record.
  2. I usually find Shins albums grow on me slowly but surely yet after a good dozen plays I feel my faith isn't being repaid this time, and as a fan that's frustrating.
  3. Wincing the Night Away feels labored. Gracefully realized though it is, you can hear the three-plus years Mercer spent pondering how to satisfy the expectations his surprise classic had created -- and also how to remain fresh and true to himself.