Wincing The Night Away

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

Universal acclaim- based on 175 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 10 out of 175

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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. JSheets
    Mar 19, 2007
    1
    pass this one up. A complete and total waste of time. The entire album sounds the same.
  3. KurtCobain
    Jan 22, 2007
    0
    The Shins give pop music a bad name. Go by Deerhoof's new album intead of this easy listening garbage.
  4. ToddW
    Jan 26, 2007
    3
    One can practically hear James Mercer pleading with the soccer moms to make his band the Death Cab or Coldplay of 2007. And guess what? They will be. Everything that made Oh, Inverted World and Chutes Too Narrow absolutely brilliant, transcedant pop music has been sanitized and streamlined. Remember the first time you heard "Saint Simon," with that angelic bridge that came out of nowhere? One can practically hear James Mercer pleading with the soccer moms to make his band the Death Cab or Coldplay of 2007. And guess what? They will be. Everything that made Oh, Inverted World and Chutes Too Narrow absolutely brilliant, transcedant pop music has been sanitized and streamlined. Remember the first time you heard "Saint Simon," with that angelic bridge that came out of nowhere? Or the first time you followed along with Oh, Inverted World's lyric sheet and had to scrape your jaw off the floor? Don't be expecting any of that on Wincing. Come to think of it, that's about all you can expect if you've been a pre-Garden State fan. The unpredicatable twists and turns? Gone. The brilliant countermelodies? Left behind. Mercer's deceptively insightful lyrics? Neither deceptive nor insightful. The verse-chorus-verse structure? Here in spades. So run out to your local Barnes and Noble, soccer moms! Answer Mercer's pleas! This is the jam you can play for your kids on the way to the games to show them that you're still "happening." Expand
  5. romanmc
    Mar 5, 2007
    5
    Instantly forgetable first and then repeatedly forgetable after subsequent listens. "Australia" and "Sea Legs" are quality and salvage some measure of decency. I just think that this band could do a lot more with this record. They are good musicians, write inventive pop music and have one of the better pop/rock singers going. But someone needs to tell Mercer to stop writing lyrics like Instantly forgetable first and then repeatedly forgetable after subsequent listens. "Australia" and "Sea Legs" are quality and salvage some measure of decency. I just think that this band could do a lot more with this record. They are good musicians, write inventive pop music and have one of the better pop/rock singers going. But someone needs to tell Mercer to stop writing lyrics like "dodo's cunundrum" and "fond of you, fond of y-o-u." And I don't think it's cute that "Phantom Limb" is supposed to be written from the perspective of teenage lesbians. Mercer's lyrics and storytelling tend to detract from what the whole of this group. He tries too hard to be obtuse. Expand
  6. BillyG
    Jan 23, 2007
    2
    While this album has good parts to it, the rest is a befuddled mess. The Shins get good ratings because people are under the impression that they are supposed to love the Shins, even when they are shitting in your ears.
  7. GeorgeC.
    Feb 7, 2008
    2
    This is a plea to stand-in guitarist Eric Johnson. Please Eric... please resurrect Fruit Bats before these douchebags end up dragging you and your creativity into the turd basket with them, and before Marty tries to beat up your girlfriend.
  8. tbone
    Apr 29, 2007
    5
    Australia is the only good song on the album. It's pretty much an homage to the baby boom generation and 60s music, which totally blows.
  9. 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
  10. DavidE
    Jan 30, 2007
    9
    Another great release from a band that continues to have trouble writing a bad song.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. DrunkenMaster
    Jan 23, 2007
    2
    Overrated whitebread whining for spoiled middleclass kids just a bit too old to be "emo".
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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
  22. DavidA
    Jan 24, 2007
    8
    The lyrics/songwriting are great, I think it takes the best of Oh! Inverted world and Chutes too narrow.
  23. 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.
  24. Tj
    Jan 29, 2007
    10
    it just keeps me spinning in my chair. unbelievable melodies and rapturing harmonies.
  25. 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
  26. FancyPants
    Jan 30, 2007
    4
    Very disappointed and surprised by all the great reviews this has gotten. I listened to CTN pretty much non stop when I got it, but I don't think I'll be pulling this one off the shelf too often. Sleeping Lessons is great, Australia is good and Phantom Limb has grown on me despite its plodding pace. But the rest is filler and unmemorable.
  27. 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.
  28. MikeH
    Jan 30, 2007
    4
    More than anything I was dissapointed that there wasn't a song that just explodes out of the speakers, like "Kissing the Lipless" and a few songs on the first record. This album is very tame (not always a bad thing) and seems really level dynamically -- not a whole lot of peaks and valleys. The beats are pretty reserved too, and never especially punchy or rock-like. Between Flake More than anything I was dissapointed that there wasn't a song that just explodes out of the speakers, like "Kissing the Lipless" and a few songs on the first record. This album is very tame (not always a bad thing) and seems really level dynamically -- not a whole lot of peaks and valleys. The beats are pretty reserved too, and never especially punchy or rock-like. Between Flake Music and Chutes I expected them to stay agressive with melodies, rhythms and dynamic and this disc feels kinda timid to me. Really timid actually. Expand
  29. 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.
  30. 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".
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.