• Record Label: Columbia
  • Release Date: Mar 23, 2018
Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
Buy On
  1. 100
    That he’s produced such a full, lush sounding thing packed with personality and life is impressive--but not surprising.
  2. Mar 30, 2018
    90
    On Boarding House Reach, he goes well out of his way to re-scatter the puzzle, but it’s a divine enough mess.
  3. Mar 22, 2018
    90
    The misfires are few and far between. Boarding House Reach may be a hard pill to swallow, but it's rarely boring and without a doubt the most far-reaching, experimental collection of songs in White's ample discography.
  4. Mar 21, 2018
    90
    White does pretty much everything except what fans have learned to expect from him. It’s an ambitious, dizzying, and sometimes challenging listen, but overall makes for one of the most maniacally creative albums of the year.
  5. Mar 19, 2018
    90
    Boarding House Reach is easily one of the most layered and compelling releases of 2018, which furthers White’s legacy as one of the few remaining mavericks in music.
  6. 90
    In many ways, this is as radical, experimental and mind-expanding of a pop album as you’re likely to hear anytime soon, let alone by a festival headlining artist.
  7. Mar 26, 2018
    80
    It’s esoteric and unsettling, because he’s done trying to reason with us.
  8. Mar 23, 2018
    80
    There is ultimately something sketchy about Boarding House Reach, pulling in so many directions that it suggests rough drafts for more fully formed work to come. But for all that, there are so many rich ingredients in the mix, even misophones should find something to soothe their troubled ears.
  9. Mar 23, 2018
    80
    It’s weird and brilliant, and anything but regressive.
  10. Mar 23, 2018
    80
    In Boarding House Reach White gives himself a free hand, and the result is a more experimental and surprising work.
  11. Q Magazine
    Mar 13, 2018
    80
    There's nothing here likely to be adopted as a stadium chant, but in its tethered imagination, Boarding House Reach is the most surprising and eccentric record White's made. [May 2018, p.110]
  12. Magnet
    Apr 17, 2018
    75
    What is by some distance the weirdest, wildest White we've yet encountered on record. [No. 150, p.60]
  13. 75
    White’s reverence for classic music of the past is still a big part of who is he here; he’s just shifting focus with a more manic and multi-faceted approach. That’s not weird. That’s smart.
  14. Mar 22, 2018
    75
    Boarding House Reach holds together as a complete piece. The songs complement each other, speaking to the restlessness and reluctance of an artist who’s spent the last decade or so successfully transforming himself into a brand.
  15. Mar 23, 2018
    73
    His latest is his first true departure, and the unfamiliarity is at once a challenge to absorb and also a fascinating turnabout from an artist who is demonstrating that he is more willing--and able--than most to subvert the expectations he’s created for himself.
  16. Mar 23, 2018
    70
    "Corporation" and "Ice Station Zebra," the two funkiest numbers here, illustrate this with their precise grooves, but even the self-consciously weird interludes show this same level of exactitude. While that keeps Boarding House Reach somewhat in a straitjacket, it also makes it a fascinating listen, because it's a document of a control freak anxious to get loose.
  17. Mar 23, 2018
    70
    Mostly White sounds like a scrappy, abstract-leaning '80s-style battle rhymer who probably didn't win a lot of battles. Elsewhere, experimental detours dead-end: "Everything You've Ever Learned" feels like aimless twaddle with newly-unboxed digital toys. But at its best, the spirit of freaky free-play is thrilling and refreshing, a worthy end unto itself.
  18. Mar 16, 2018
    70
    Even when an experiment fails, it does so in intriguing and unpredictable ways.
  19. 70
    Boarding House Reach's overall flow--conceptually and creatively--is at times unsure and brilliant at once. This is no album of the year contender, nor will it rank too highly on White's saggish discography. Instead, it's thirteen songs of creative madness.
  20. Apr 18, 2018
    60
    Boarding House Reach isn’t the easiest of listens, and at times sounds like an over-excited White has just pressed 'record' and let his absurdity run amok. However, its strong moments just about outnumber the less appealing ones, and White’s own creative juices are still being harvested in abundance.
  21. Mar 29, 2018
    60
    Boarding House is schizophrenic in the extreme. Despite being spawned in said room, later work has over-egged the pudding. While certain sections of songs work, they’re quickly thrown back into a maelstrom of hip-hop drums, Oh Sees squawks, fine gospel vocals from The McCrary Sisters and vintage synths.
  22. Mar 23, 2018
    60
    White’s yelps and screams, reverb, synth and jittery guitar riffs could be more pleasant or cohesive, but that’s not White’s style, especially not on this record. Piling it all on seems to be the point he’s trying to make--this sense of being overwhelmed, constantly, at the hands of technology.
  23. Mar 23, 2018
    60
    The results don’t resemble the King’s hits nearly as much as Prince’s demos.
  24. 60
    Overall, it’s an entertaining, multifaceted set, albeit weakened by a tendency to pursue slim ideas and dead-end notions.
  25. Mar 22, 2018
    60
    Boarding House Reach resembles less a coherent album than a miscellany of ideas--or a collection of B-sides, with all the good and bad that entails.
  26. Uncut
    Mar 19, 2018
    60
    A sometimes mystifying but often inspired work. [May 2018, p.22]
  27. Mojo
    Mar 13, 2018
    60
    This is an album restless in its search for the new, the sound of White's reinvention in progress, scorching the Earth in anticipation of what might follow. If it misfires on occasion, it's certainly never dull. And if it never quite reaches its destination, it's still quite a ride. [Apr 2018, p.84]
  28. Mar 13, 2018
    60
    A postmodern assault of freaked-out sonic ataxia, it's messy, wildly uneven, and at times even close to unlistenable, but its sheer audacity makes it utterly intriguing.
  29. 58
    Jack White missed, but in the best possible way. As weak as this record is, its extremely entertaining.
  30. Mar 23, 2018
    47
    Boarding House Reach is a long, bewildering slog studded with these moments, which seem to be directly antagonizing you.
  31. Mar 22, 2018
    45
    Despite all the bluster, there's not a lot actually happening on this album. Its songs are collages of ideas that sound great in 10-second chunks but refuse to settle, shifting from fiery riffs to spoken word passages to jazz piano detours. At first, this restlessness has a mad-scientist charm to it but it quickly becomes tiresome.
User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 116 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 86 out of 116
  2. Negative: 12 out of 116
  1. Mar 23, 2018
    10
    Pure creativity. This album is all over the place, if you like your music simple you'll probably hate this album. I personally think that itPure creativity. This album is all over the place, if you like your music simple you'll probably hate this album. I personally think that it is incredible. At least give it a chance. Also it may be my favorite solo Jack White album. Full Review »
  2. GJS
    Mar 26, 2018
    4
    I have loved Jack White for years, no matter what band he was with or solo. But this album is such a shambles from start to finish with songsI have loved Jack White for years, no matter what band he was with or solo. But this album is such a shambles from start to finish with songs not going anywhere and a lot of ideas that do not work. It's a mess of an album. The teaser video they did for this album where they played snippets from the songs but the actual songs do not build on these. Either a song will go nowhere on this album or it will go to too many places at once making it really hard to listen to & enjoy. I still have hope for him for another great album but this & the last Dead Weather isn't looking likely that he'll release better songs anytime soon. Full Review »
  3. Mar 23, 2018
    5
    Wow, this was a real dissapointment for me. The traditional songs are really good, you know, the ones where he actually sings... Bus so muchWow, this was a real dissapointment for me. The traditional songs are really good, you know, the ones where he actually sings... Bus so much of it is like a poetry recital set to music. Sure the production is great and the sounds are usually interesting, but I was left with a bunch of songs that I really can't see myself coming back to . Full Review »