Metascore
83

Universal acclaim - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
Buy On
  1. Sep 30, 2014
    100
    There’s an uncommon depth here that hasn’t been evidenced on Williams records in ages, both in the sonics (an immaculately crafted blend of intimate and widescreen) and the lyrics, which at times are deeply confessional and others downright defiant as the songwriter stares down her demons, the vicissitudes of relationships and the rampant idiocy of the outside world.
  2. 100
    All told, it’s a magnificent, career-defining set, full of hard-won wisdom, assertive independence--and compassion in abundance.
  3. Oct 6, 2014
    90
    It feels like the deepest and most soulful album she has made.
  4. Sep 29, 2014
    88
    [The cover of J.J. Cale's "Magnolia" is] a beautiful grace note that rewards those who stay for the long haul.
  5. Mojo
    Nov 7, 2014
    80
    The result is one of her most wide-ranging and satisfying collections. [Nov 2014, p.93]
  6. Nov 7, 2014
    80
    She continues to prove herself anyway, again and again: here throughout twenty songs, and throughout thirty-five years and beyond.
  7. Magnet
    Nov 5, 2014
    80
    It's a truism that embedded in most double albums is an even better single one, but that doesn't apply here. [No. 114, p.58]
  8. Q Magazine
    Oct 3, 2014
    80
    This all-original 20-tracker works even better as an intimate, end-to-end, night-drive companion than a snack tray despite Williams's often grueling vocal intensity. [Nov 2014, p.119]
  9. 80
    What makes it so compelling is a classic rock Americana set up deftly interweaving lazy twin guitars and splashes of Hammond organ over steady rolling chord progressions that gather power with each repetition.
  10. Sep 29, 2014
    80
    She’s pithy and penetrating, bruised but steadfast, proud of the grain and drawl of her voice.
  11. Sep 29, 2014
    80
    Williams adapted the song from a poem by her father, Miller Williams, and it gives Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone its emotional compass if not its melodic direction. The rest of this double album, Williams’s first, settles into a deep groove that suggests the singer-songwriter was fired up and couldn’t--and shouldn’t--whittle her latest to a standard 10 songs.
  12. Sep 29, 2014
    80
    This music is taut and soulful, but also a document of one woman baring her spirit and mind to the world, which has always been the case with her best music, and if this isn't a masterpiece, it's as pure, straightforward, and compelling as anything she's done since Essence.
  13. Uncut
    Sep 25, 2014
    80
    The overall mixture of anger and longing, fierceness and calm, is breathtaking. [Nov 2014, p.68]
  14. Sep 25, 2014
    80
    Williams has assembled many guest musicians this time around, but despite all the disparate talent, the album is a tight, coherent work that never devolves into self-indulgent jamming, even at an epic 103 minutes.
  15. Classic Rock Magazine
    Dec 16, 2014
    70
    Throughout, Williams walks the line between tough and tender, just as she cleverly negotiates the path dividing heartland American music and the alternative, counter cultural variety. [Dec 2014, p.106]
  16. Oct 1, 2014
    70
    This album stands with Williams’ strongest work and represents that rare thing in American popular music and its culture of celebrity.
  17. Sep 29, 2014
    70
    She's tough and confrontational, and on her 11th studio album, Down Where The Spirit Meets the Bone, that toughness initially comes across as even more deeply entrenched. It takes a little while to discover the tenderness that goes along with it.
  18. Sep 25, 2014
    67
    Lack of focus falters the whole, but Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone triumphs in Lucinda Williams becoming gloriously unbound.
  19. Sep 25, 2014
    60
    Vocally, Williams experiments more than ever before, almost to the point of jazzy improvisation; she drawls, mutters and often leaves phrases hanging in the air, at times reminiscent of Mary Margaret O’Hara. It’s a welcome development and helps to make the album feel like her most accomplished in many years.

Awards & Rankings

User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 21 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 21
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 21
  3. Negative: 3 out of 21
  1. Sep 30, 2014
    10
    Sublime, epic, beautiful, her heart is exploding with a million emotions that make this her greatest record yet. I have had it for two weeksSublime, epic, beautiful, her heart is exploding with a million emotions that make this her greatest record yet. I have had it for two weeks as a reviewer, and now I am speaking as a fan. There will not be many if any better records this year. And a double? Utterly epic, what an achievement!!!!! Full Review »
  2. Oct 16, 2014
    10
    This is my favorite Lucinda album since World Without Tears. I don't know how she managed to make a double album where every song stands onThis is my favorite Lucinda album since World Without Tears. I don't know how she managed to make a double album where every song stands on its own. Even the one or two songs I did not appreciate on first listen, I have quickly grown to love. Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone has been on repeat in my car since it came out a few weeks ago and I don't plan on changing CDs any time soon. Full Review »
  3. Oct 1, 2014
    10
    Lucinda never ceases to amaze us! This album is rattling superb. Magnific. Flawless. It's been quite a while since she made such an emotionalLucinda never ceases to amaze us! This album is rattling superb. Magnific. Flawless. It's been quite a while since she made such an emotional record. Her voice tells us exactly what to feel at every single line. I also praise the band. They did an amazing job at supporting the feeling of each song. Album of the year. Hands down. Full Review »