• Record Label: ATO
  • Release Date: Apr 10, 2012

Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
Buy On
  1. 100
    Just a series of great, swampy soul grooves, fronted by the most arresting new voice you'll hear this year, and the kind of natural songwriting that seems to contain the entire history of Southern music within its staves.
  2. Apr 9, 2012
    Boys & Girls is more than a debut album. It's an introduction to a band you thought you knew for years, but are just fortunate enough to meet now.
  3. Apr 10, 2012
    The Alabama Shakes' first album, Boys & Girls, is an electric jolt that anyone who loves blues-based rock music should track down immediately
  4. Apr 10, 2012
    Boys & Girls is best enjoyed not as an anachronism but as a fresh take on the sounds from a bygone era.
  5. Apr 16, 2012
    The album encapsulates summers of falling asleep on porches, cicadas chirping periodically among the trees, shaking slightly from a passing breeze.
  6. Q Magazine
    Apr 13, 2012
    Alabama Shakes' nods to vocal giants past never overshadow the fact that their music has a raw, aggressive style that is completely their own. [May 2012, p.90]
  7. Apr 12, 2012
    This good old-fashioned rock and soul quartet make good on their buzz with a debut that not only shakes, but also rattles and rolls.
  8. 80
    They not only shake but also rattle, roll and do everything else to ears and body that the most rumbustious soul-rock and roots music can.
  9. Unrefined, unresigned, occasionally clunky, frequently obtuse but always, always fit to bust.
  10. Uncut
    Apr 6, 2012
    Alabama Shakes are scarcely the first ornery yet soulful rock sound to have emerged from northern Alabama, but they're abundantly worthy bearers of the standard. [May 2012, p.73]
  11. Apr 5, 2012
    Lyrics are route-one effective throughout, as you'd expect from an album called Boys & Girls, but the Shakes are not one-dimensional.
  12. Apr 5, 2012
    The rawness of the band puts them in a different category than other soul revivalists like Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, but the visceral quality of Boys & Girls gives Alabama Shakes an edge.
  13. Apr 5, 2012
    Their talent and impossible-to-fake passion merit the sudden attention.
  14. 80
    [Even] if Alabama Shakes do nothing original, they strike classic poses with real guts.
  15. Apr 16, 2012
    Those who have witnessed the group's floor-shaking live shows might be a bit disarmed by the deliberately dense and lo-fi production of "Boys & Girls."
  16. Apr 10, 2012
    The great news is that even the bad news is good news: Alabama Shakes have a hell of a lot of growing to do, but even their slightest tunes pack a punch.
  17. Apr 6, 2012
    The rough-hewn production wouldn't pass muster on a major-label budget: amplifiers audibly hum, voices crack with emotion, a few bum notes crop up here and there. But this band is terrific all the same.
  18. 70
    While the result doesn't justify the buildup, there is no doubt that frontwoman Brittany Howard is a major talent.
  19. Apr 20, 2012
    Their roots are just that--roots, not anchors, allowing the group to grow, often in unexpected and quietly thrilling ways.
  20. Apr 11, 2012
    Boys & Girls is a short album that clocks in at 35-minutes over the course of 11 songs. But by the time it's done, you'll want to start it over again.
  21. 70
    Boys & Girls, is a profound submission, one which injects fresh life into the genre while maintaining its blazing spirit.
  22. Apr 10, 2012
    Howard's black-dirt gravitas holds it all together.
  23. 70
    In many ways Boys & Girls it is as note-perfect an album as you'll hear all year, yet it's also often perfectly inert.
  24. 70
    Compared to computer-tuned radio pop, or even the big-time pop-soul of a genuine singer like Adele, the Alabama Shakes sound raw-boned and proudly unprocessed.
  25. Apr 10, 2012
    Exciting as it can be, Boys & Girls could use just a little more shakin' going on.
  26. Apr 9, 2012
    Boys & Girls is a fine album, full of sturdy Southern-fried blues performed with swagger and verve. As the proper debut for a band that's built its reputation on the fearless pandemonium of its live shows, however, Boys & Girls is curiously and deliberately subdued.
  27. Apr 6, 2012
    This is an album packed with promise but which tails off somewhat at the close.
  28. Apr 5, 2012
    Boys & Girls feels slightly polite and artfully constructed, as if the rest of the band are too respectful of their influences to truly let rip.
  29. Apr 5, 2012
    It's enough to hold the interest, although we'd prefer Alabama Shakes to capitalise on their more esoteric elements and cut out the cliches.
  30. Apr 16, 2012
    Perhaps ... the best way to describe Boys & Girls: unwilling to innovate or add anything new to its genre, preferring to remind us of the roots of rock instead of showing us what made the pioneers so great, a reminder of a past love instead of a new love for us to discover.
  31. Apr 10, 2012
    Boys And Girls is a somewhat predictable trawl through the back catalogues of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Stax Records, Janis Joplin and the recorded output of Muscle Shoals Sound Studios amongst others, but with none of the grit, passion or emotion.
  32. Apr 5, 2012
    In the cold light of day the album feels flat and utterly predictable.
  33. Mojo
    Apr 20, 2012
    [Boy & Girls] casts Brittany as a soulful singer, but the album is more Xerox copy than feel and spirit based. [May 2012, p.86]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 60 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 47 out of 60
  2. Negative: 8 out of 60
  1. Jun 4, 2020
    Alabama Shakes debut album and its the best. Love their energy and sound. Hope they have a long long career!!!!
  2. Feb 24, 2016
    This album shouldn't work. An album created by one of the most shy, sweet, genuine bands we've had in a long time playing strictly blues andThis album shouldn't work. An album created by one of the most shy, sweet, genuine bands we've had in a long time playing strictly blues and southern rock shouldn't work in an age dominated electronically produced music. Yet, Boys & Girls does. It works so wonderfully well. The soul is prevalent on every track. Brittany Howard might be the strongest voice in rock music. Whether it's Howard's determination to succeed on the smash hit 'Hold On' or her bubbly love on 'I Found You' Alabama Shakes will have you shaking, and leave you wanting more. Full Review »
  3. Dec 29, 2014
    A long awaited return to rock 'n roll. Truly meaningful rock with raspy, heart-wrenching vocals. 'Boys & Girls' is as impressively originalA long awaited return to rock 'n roll. Truly meaningful rock with raspy, heart-wrenching vocals. 'Boys & Girls' is as impressively original as it is retrospective. You'll be craving more and more with each track. 'You Ain't Alone' is one of the best tracks since the heyday of rock 'n roll. Full Review »