Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. This album is ridiculously rhythmic.
  2. Woke On A Whaleheart is a pleasure, and aside from the intro to the song "Footprints," every moment on this record is immensely listenable.
  3. While Callahan's Woke On A Whaleheart shares Smog's rumbly tone and rootsy foundations, it is a bit of a departure.
  4. 80
    An album that shines light, albeit dimly, into hidden corners of the soul. [May 2007, p.100]
  5. "Whaleheart" is sure to be one of the year's finest releases, which shouldn't come as news to anyone familiar with Callahan's singular, indelible songwriting.
  6. Callahan's trademark cold brittle voice - part Lou Reed, part Droopy - remains intact, but musically and lyrically he's a lamb in springtime.
  7. Anyone expecting something similar to his early doom-laden musings will find nothing of the sort here.
  8. 80
    The music... still has the from-odd-angles of Smog records, but now there's exquisite light amid the shade. [Jun 2007, p.114]
  9. A refined mix of Americana, country, and gospel. [#17, p.83]
  10. It employs all his strengths as a writer of lyrics and music and stretches the canvas of his colorful if sparsely arranged tapestry.
  11. Mr. Callahan has finally completed his two-decade transformation from malevolent provocateur to aphoristic folk-rocker. [Apr 2007, p.59]
  12. It's far from his best work, but, as Callahan takes a detour into rootsy musical traditions such as country and gospel, it is a characteristically eccentric release.
  13. The sound of an artist refreshed and renewed. [May 2007, p.150]
  14. Woke on a Whaleheart is a deceptively easy listen-- steady, lulling, and vehemently organic-- but consequently, it can begin to feel invisible.
  15. Bill Callahan's latest solo effort is so laid back that it almost never gets going at all.
  16. While I’ll stop short of saying that [co-producer Neil Michael] Hagerty ruined this record, I can definitively say that I’d love to hear what it would have sounded like before he got his hands on it.
  17. There are times when Mr. Callahan’s deliberate, word-centric approach seems merely perverse instead of brave, and somehow the album seems much shorter than its 40 minutes, as if it’s only a sketch for what’s next.
  18. 50
    Skirting the emotional depths that marked his past work, Callahan's new persona feels almost shallow. [May 2007, p.84]
User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 6 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Jan 13, 2011
    9
    My first introduction to Bill Callahan or Smog and I was completely taken with this album. Played it everyday for a year. Though hardcore fansMy first introduction to Bill Callahan or Smog and I was completely taken with this album. Played it everyday for a year. Though hardcore fans will tell you it comes nowhere near his other stuff, listen to it away from the sinister athmospheric styling he usually pioneers and you'll LOVE it. Full Review »
  2. roccoc.
    Nov 5, 2007
    8
    Delicious.