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a ghost is born Image
Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 33 Critic Reviews What's this?

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8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 140 Ratings

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  • Summary: When you record one of the most acclaimed albums of the decade, what do you do for an encore? If you are Jeff Tweedy & co., you return with both old (Jim O'Rourke again producing) and new (yet another lineup change) for your fifth studio LP.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. Unlike the first three Wilco albums and even more than Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, A Ghost is Born requires careful listening.
  2. What makes Ghost succeed so magnificently... is how the directness, the openness of the lyrics in general, is so beautifully matched to the damaged music, which is itself rife with symbolism and meaning.
  3. If Foxtrot's songs were fractured pop, then Ghost is just plain fracture, a soft and brutal self-examination that pulls no punches even as it manages to remain carefully elliptical.
  4. It's in the mournful, captivating, meditative, exasperating, pretentious, masterfully constructed experience of A Ghost Is Born that Tweedy and Wilco become true iconoclasts.
  5. Entertainment Weekly
    75
    For someone [Tweedy] whose longtime strength has been songwriting over all-out adventurousness, many of the more traditional tunes seem, ironically, half finished. [25 Jun 2004, p.161]
  6. Its most difficult and uncompromising album to date.
  7. A Ghost Is Born is a textbook example of an album created to fulfill expectations the band doesn't necessarily share.

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 60 out of 68
  2. Negative: 4 out of 68
  1. WesM.
    Oct 4, 2008
    10
    Is it crazy that I liked this way more than Yankee Hotel Foxtrot?
  2. MookiePatookie
    Jul 15, 2004
    10
    Anyone who gives this cd less than 9 does not have ears to hear with!! Tweedy and co. stand on the shoulders of giants to produce yet another Anyone who gives this cd less than 9 does not have ears to hear with!! Tweedy and co. stand on the shoulders of giants to produce yet another masterpiece! Expand
  3. ElliottM
    Oct 15, 2005
    10
    It's a flawed album, yet it's still a perfect album. My favorite album of 2004.
  4. JoeyM
    Jul 6, 2004
    9
    I can understand how a fan who just discovered Wilco as a result of YHF would be disappointed with this release. Indeed, if one was unaware I can understand how a fan who just discovered Wilco as a result of YHF would be disappointed with this release. Indeed, if one was unaware of how different YHF was from Summerteeth - and how different Summerteeth was from Being There - one would be surprised by how different this album is. "Different" is a word that Jeff Tweedy, Wilco's frontman, takes seriously. His music continues to progress, taking him and the band in different directions from year to year. AGIB is, in some ways, a move away from the sonic expirementation of YHF and, in another way, a move more deeply into that same spirit. For example, "Handshake Drugs" (in many ways the CD's centerpiece) keeps it together for four or five minutes before descending into noise. "Less Than You Think" takes this idea even further, devolving into 11 minutes of static. Allegedly, this is because Tweedy wanted the album to be Interactive - in other words, stand up and hit the "next track button." Perhaps this also explains the blast of Neil Young-style guitar that almost blew my speakers out after the quiet opening of "At Least That's What You Said." The album features several stand out tracks - I think "Hummingbird," "Theoloians" and "Handshake Drugs" are among the best Wilco tracks yet. It also holds together as an album, taking us on a dark, personal journey through Tweedy's life. It took me several listens to enjoy this album - you might not like it on first listen. See if you feel differently on listen #10, though. It is well worth it. Expand
  5. RobS.
    Aug 14, 2005
    9
    A year on from its release, I consider Ghost a collection of now-classic Wilco songs. That is, it's not quite as strong an *album* as A year on from its release, I consider Ghost a collection of now-classic Wilco songs. That is, it's not quite as strong an *album* as their last two, but I easily can identify seven brilliant songs on it (Kidsmoke, Hell is Chrome, Hummingbird, I'm a Wheel, Wishful Thinking, Theologians and The Late Greats) and the remaining songs, for me, range from decent to quite strong. Some music requires more than a few cursory hearings to appreciate it. It took me over a year to find my way into Summerteeth. You know that revelatory feeling you get when you decide one day to listen to a song on an album that you'd historically skipped past, only to find yourself now ga-ga for it? It's a great feeling! I probably have some ways to go with Ghost to fully get to that place where everything makes sense and the communications each song offers are received. But my first year with Ghost has me hopeful I'm going to be surprised and pleased by what I eventually find deep inside of it. Expand
  6. Joseph
    Jul 16, 2007
    8
    A true grower. Easily, Wilco's most difficult album, yet after several (for some, many) listens, the beauty of many of these songs shine A true grower. Easily, Wilco's most difficult album, yet after several (for some, many) listens, the beauty of many of these songs shine thorugh and one realizes that they are among the best in Wilco's breathtakingly brilliant catalog. Tweedy's guitar playing snarls and bites throughout ("At Least That's What You Said", "Spiders (Kidsmoke)") and his lyrics are as strong as ever. Not quite a step forward from YHF but certainly not a retread by any means either. The only complaint is Jim O'Rourke's production is surprisingly flat and there's a noticeable lack of dynamics throughout the records. The greatness of these songs truly shines through live, as can be heard on the superior "Kicking Television" double-album. Expand
  7. David
    Jun 22, 2004
    0
    they are getting waay too much attention after releasing this album. it doesn't even touch yankee hotel foxtrot and i was so they are getting waay too much attention after releasing this album. it doesn't even touch yankee hotel foxtrot and i was so disappointed when i heard the album. Expand

See all 68 User Reviews