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Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 8 Critic Reviews What's this?

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7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 9 Ratings

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  • Summary: The latest full-length release for the British singer-songwriter was recorded in Boise, Idaho and was co-produced with Pat Dillett.
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. Jan 16, 2019
    90
    It’s fair to say that songs like the sunny “Dave,” the shimmering “Strange Land” and the album’s final send-off, the alluring “Alchemy,” recall the best of Jackson’s cosmopolitan style, and each succeeds exceptionally well as a result. No fooling, Fool ranks among the best works of Jackson’s judicious career, and that’s a solid recommendation in itself.
  2. 80
    Even if Joe Jackson is no longer the mega-star of the ‘80s, it’s clear from the consistently innovative, often challenging Fool that he is far from a faded has-been. On the contrary, it’s good enough to suggest his best might still be ahead of him.
  3. Mojo
    Jan 16, 2019
    80
    He and his band sound focused and spry over eight beautifully arranged songs produced by Jackson and Pat Dillett. [Feb 2019, p.90]
  4. Uncut
    Jan 16, 2019
    70
    With Fool, his focus is as much on method as material. [Feb 2019, p.27]
  5. Mar 22, 2019
    70
    Ultimately, Fool isn't as satisfying as Jackson's more straightforward work of the '80s, but if this sometime suffers from too much ambition, Jackson clearly is good enough to come close to what he's aiming for, and in the moments where he connects, it's a truly impressive piece of work.
  6. Jan 16, 2019
    60
    If Fool doesn’t quite measure up to Jackson’s sterling early work, it’s still more concise and punchy than 2015’s Fast Forward and less self-consciously arty than his late-‘80s and ‘90s work.
  7. Apr 11, 2019
    60
    There are some songs that sound like they were last minute add-ons (“Alchemy” is so plodding you can almost watch time stand still), but taken as a whole, Fool still finds Jackson playing some of the best pop music out there, immune to fads and current trends.

See all 8 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 1 out of 2
  1. Apr 5, 2019
    9
    Absolutely Fabulous new release from the man himself. Rather than trying to recapture his yesteryear, he moves away - as he has always done.Absolutely Fabulous new release from the man himself. Rather than trying to recapture his yesteryear, he moves away - as he has always done. This record's full of hooks, grooves, smart lyrics (no surprises there) and captivating live-in-studio performances from a band who had just come off a lengthy tour and who were dying to record new music.
    Songs like "Dave" and "32 Kisses" provide heavily memorable melodies, "Fool" jumps from Latin to microtonality to Greek in a matter of minutes (plus a light 'nod' to the "Night and Day" piano aesthetic - 2:28) and we are even hinted toward atonal hard-rock in the breakdown of "Friend Better".
    As a concise, observational and thoughtful account of current affairs, "Fool" is a classic in the field, continuing Joe Jackson tropes of tongue-in-cheek references and, at times sardonic takes on popular opinions.
    The musicianship on this album is top tier; Doug Yowell's flawless feel paired with longtime collaborator Graham Maby's intrinsic and melodic basslines makes for an impenetrable rhythm section. Understated but often challenging guitar work from Teddy Kumpel is a welcome counterpoint to Jackson's plentiful piano arpeggios and surprising synth leads. Not to mention Jackson's voice, which has never sounded so full and solid - it appears that, with age, he has captured what made his voice so captivating in the earlier records but has developed a welcome mature timbre while maintaining his melodic range.
    For me, the only places where this album relatively falls flat is the length of some of the songs - Jackson often has a tendency to repeat ideas making some songs occasionally slightly too long. However when listened to in the context of a full album this can add to setting mood and suspense, as opposed to listening to individual tracks in playlists/shuffle etc.
    On the whole this is a fantastic and exploratory album written and recorded by a man who has hit a new stride in his career and is not afraid to push his audiences outside of their comfort zones. If you're looking for a throwback to earlier Joe Jackson works then you will not be indulged, however with occasional nods and classic Joe Jackson-isms you will feel right at home here but with a couple of steps in a different direction.
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  2. Feb 6, 2019
    1
    Foolishness. This record is a mash without direction other than trying to recapitulate his yesteryear. Probably such because he hasn’t had anyFoolishness. This record is a mash without direction other than trying to recapitulate his yesteryear. Probably such because he hasn’t had any successful works since the 80s. Songs like Fabulously Absolute and Dark Cloud are almost unlistenable. The studio production is cold and over polished carrying an unnatural sounding glitter of stiff grooves embellished with cliche guitar riffs. Lyrically, its cheesy prose trying to be a smart ass, a rebel without a cause with a bank account. Sad, this collection of grabs just doesn’t sound sincere as earlier works, even Rain or his cute try with Ellington compositions. Expand