Universal acclaim - based on 24 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
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  1. Aug 21, 2020
    Unlike the singer’s rootsy solo work, Down In The Weeds is rich in what brought many of us to Bright Eyes in the first place: the drama. ... There’s the mature reflection he intertwines with his urgency. There’s his hard-fought optimism. And there’s the embrace of community, the sense that Oberst doesn’t want to stare down these songs alone.
  2. 90
    As talented as Oberst is on his own, his symbiotic relationship with the other members of Bright Eyes makes it easily Oberst’s best project and one I hope continues on for the foreseeable future.
  3. Aug 24, 2020
    By the time the album’s 54 minutes have drawn to a close, you feel exhausted but in the best possible way.
  4. Uncut
    Aug 17, 2020
    Unironically majestic set pieces that offer a ray of hope as this wild ride ends. [Oct 2020, p.28]
  5. Aug 21, 2020
    While “Down in the Weeds” may be an apt reflection of the anxiety and fury many feel today, it doesn’t require that context to connect. Prior to their hiatus, Bright Eyes had never made music with an expiration date. With a tenth album now factored in, that streak remains intact.
  6. Aug 19, 2020
    Down in the Weeds is still a Bright Eyes album, with its share of obsessiveness, narcissism, and angst. Many songs have their sights set on calamity, from climate disaster to Oberst’s failed marriage. And yet, there’s also a refreshing maturity, a perspective that seems a bit wiser, a bit less ready to revel in self-loathing. ... That culmination — from grief to love — is what truly makes these Bright Eyes songs feel new.
  7. Aug 20, 2020
    By cycling through so many varied musical styles in the pursuit of bristling self-reflection, Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was offers an easy way through the endless morass of bad headlines and worse outcomes: Dance and sing.
  8. Sep 25, 2020
    Bright Eyes may not technically be emo, but they are transcendently expressive, beatifically melancholic. Down in the Weeds is just the statement of grounding that we need as a respite from the churning chaos around us.
  9. Aug 27, 2020
    At once bleak, grey and obsessed with morbidity, and lush, blooming and gorgeous, it’s great to have them back.
  10. Aug 21, 2020
    Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was is very complicated lyrically and also very fresh. The trio championed the moody music that college English students sat in their dorms and cried too, and Bright Eyes doesn’t leave that signature out, but they doctor up the sonics resulting in a dense return from a long hiatus.
  11. 80
    It’s a fitting record for the global unease of the past few months, but one that’s characteristically intimate.
  12. Aug 20, 2020
    The resulting record is a comfortable return to the sounds, themes, and band members that have made Bright Eyes’ music special to a generation of listeners. Where the band goes from here is anyone’s guess, but Bright Eyes’ latest is a satisfying new addition to a storied career.
  13. Aug 20, 2020
    Down in the Weeds avoids being either a phoned-in nostalgia trip or a wildly new direction that would alienate fans. Instead it continues Bright Eyes' evolution without skipping a beat, and manages to be one of their stronger records in the process.
  14. 80
    As with the best of Bright Eyes, there’s a bittersweet meeting of macabre words and folky tunefulness.
  15. Q Magazine
    Aug 17, 2020
    Smart audio trickery and intriguing atmospheres draw the listener in and, overall, it's a real beauty. [Sep 2020, p.111]
  16. Aug 17, 2020
    The songs on Down in the Weeds reprises the sheen and clarity of Bright Eyes’s later records, like Cassadaga and The People’s Key, and mostly eschews the rawer qualities of their early recordings. But the band also continues to pick up influences and incorporate new sounds into their foundation.
  17. Aug 25, 2020
    They're spinning a lonely, sad narrative on Down in the Weeds..., but in telling the story they share it with all of us, which naturally transforms it.
  18. Aug 20, 2020
    Almost every song here shoves interpersonal woes against societal angst in a fundamentally Bright Eyes way.
  19. Aug 21, 2020
    At its heart, Down in the Weeds is a wounded, hopeful take on the Los Angeles midlife-crisis record (he moved there a few years ago). It’s a topic well-suited for Oberst’s abstract cynicism, as he tackles crumbling SoCal interstates, Malibu beach disasters, and, of course, yoga.
  20. Aug 20, 2020
    Found sounds and out-of-context conversations are the band’s signatures. ... Sometimes it works (the sudden intrusion of bagpipes on “Persona Non Grata”); sometimes it’s all a bit too much and the songs feel excessively crowded. But many of the most powerful moments on this record are uncharacteristically straightforward.
  21. Aug 21, 2020
    What comes reverberating out of Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was is Bright Eyes’ deep desire to create beautiful and ambitious music, which they’ve certainly done – even if the results aren’t as essential as what’s come before.
  22. Aug 25, 2020
    Down in the Weeds is at odds with itself—where the band balances music that is ambitious in scope with some of Obert's most nakedly personal work. But just like his complicated and sometimes narcissistic persona, there's a good argument to make about how his over-the-top approach perfectly suits him. That aside, Oberst and his cohorts' generous offering does take them on new, unexplored territory while remaining true to his wry prose.
  23. Mojo
    Aug 19, 2020
    These are precarious songs, Oberst's voice as fragile as an egg, yet when it comes to songwriting, Bright Eyes remain a safe pair of hands. [Oct 2020, p.84]
  24. Aug 17, 2020
    It's a logical continuation of 2007's slick Cassadaga (less so 2011's rock-inclined The People's Key) — but given the renaissance Oberst has enjoyed with his side-projects in recent years, it doesn't quite live up to Bright Eyes' lofty name.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 22 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 22
  2. Negative: 3 out of 22
  1. Sep 14, 2020
    This is a great album and the first I've heard by Bright Eyes. I knew of Oberst through Phoebe Bridgers but found this album through
    This is a great album and the first I've heard by Bright Eyes. I knew of Oberst through Phoebe Bridgers but found this album through NPR's Listening Party. I gotta say. There's not a dull moment in this album. It's strange, fun, and pleasant. I feel like I'm listening to pop but feel like I'm listening to more at the same time. There's excellent production quality and experimentation that makes the whole album feel like a piece of artwork.

    ALBUM ARTWORK: The artwork is gorgeous. I love the red, green, and black that intersects here. It appears to be a painting that creates a sort of optical illusion. It either diverges into the center to create a vanishing point or is a leafy vine with an orb on the end, draped down in the middle. Regardless of what the picture actually is, I adore the visual and wonder it creates for me.
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  2. Sep 5, 2020
    Perfect comeback though Conor’s voice sounds a bit different. Tilt-A-Whirl and Comet Song are my personal favourites.
  3. Sep 3, 2020
    I'm sorry but I cannot forgive so much years with no music. Sorry..........