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Last Night in the Bittersweet Image
Metascore
87

Universal acclaim - based on 5 Critic Reviews What's this?

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8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 6 Ratings

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  • Summary: The fourth full-length studio release for Scottish singer-songwriter Paolo Nutini is his first since 2014's Caustic Love.
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. Jul 5, 2022
    90
    It's an album that leaves you feeling quietly joyful and, as in the spare, poignant closer "Writer," in which Nutini ruminates on the interplay between art and life, might just make you cry.
  2. 80
    Nutini has a voice that could transform any song, riding melodies with lazy restraint until suddenly unleashing notes that would have any throat specialist reaching for their speculum in alarm. On Last Night in the Bittersweet, he sounds like he’s having the time of his life.
  3. Jul 1, 2022
    80
    Occasional spoken word excerpts add nice intimate touches with themes of love, heartache and introspection at the forefront of Nutini’s endearing lyrics. It's not faultless, but Nutini still glimmers with magic on this magnetic new record.
  4. Jul 1, 2022
    80
    ‘Last Night In The Bittersweet’ transports you from the hard-hitting indie rock chaos to gentle soul; his vocals being just as strong and as captivating as he moves from one end of the spectrum to another.
  5. Mojo
    Jul 1, 2022
    80
    At 70 minutes it's worth wallowing. He's pushing his own boundaries. [Aug 2022, p.90]
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Jul 7, 2022
    10
    Such a great album, after a few listens it gets even better. Abigail, lose it and through the echos are standouts for me but they're allSuch a great album, after a few listens it gets even better. Abigail, lose it and through the echos are standouts for me but they're all really great clever tunes Expand
  2. Jul 13, 2022
    10
    Today’s popular songwriters are fast jogging on the career treadmill--writing, recording, feeding the frenzy of their social channels, touringToday’s popular songwriters are fast jogging on the career treadmill--writing, recording, feeding the frenzy of their social channels, touring and moving merch…enriching themselves, the record company, the streaming services, ticket brokers and concert promoters. Producers, co-songwriters, and guest appearances by other trending artists are brought in to guarantee a constant flow of "enriched" new songs. Inevitably the songwriter’s consistency topping the popularity charts ebbs and a new talent tictoks in behind them and the game begins again. So the pressure cooker steams in tight timely cycles. New music, new product, new tour, new cycle.
    So what do we make of that songwriter with little interest posting on social media or a desire to be held prisoner to the music industry’s relentlessly ticking time clock. What about that artist who, when the last global tour is wrapped up, goes on a long walkabout, stealing away to distant shores like a crow, collecting shiny bits of experience…living on the tradewinds. Melodies and words converge, sparked by places visited, people met, glasses raised, joints smoked and emotional connections made. In these spaces where reflection is given time to breathe the songs begin to take shape…timelines be damned.

    Paolo Nutini took such a walkabout for several years following the release of his album, “Caustic Love” in 2014. Last week he has returned with “A Night in the Bittersweet,” a long (72 minutes) player that one anticipates some rock critic to label sarcastically as “too hearty” when they run out of adjectives to describe how sublime and satisfying these 16 songs are. The pounding of the driving bass lines are way upfront in the mix on nearly every song as Nutini locks listeners in to the human heart at work pumping on the rollercoaster of relationships: the adrenaline, the frustration, the ecstasy, the joy, the loss, the affection, the despair, the resignation, and finally a reconciliation or a come to jesus acceptance of sorts. It’s all here laid bare by him, a startling self-reflection offered up in musical styles covering the gamut of six decades of the purest FM radio. Sure, you can play spot the music influences here and try to pin down the vocal infections there, but after three or four spins of “A Night in the Bittersweet” everything referential fades and you will be submerged neck deep in the sonic bath of Nutini’s compositional range, his ear-bending phrasing, and the voice…that voice that effortlessly summons up the memory of, and in key moments, surpasses the finest vocalists of our lifetime.

    There are glittering gems all over “A Night in the Bittersweet” including “Through the Echoes,” “Radio”, “Abigail”, “Take Me Take Mine,” “Acid Eyes” “Julianne,” “Lose It” and “Shine a Light” “Heart Filled Up,” and even the short spoken track, “Stranded Words” , where Paolo’s voice rises to suddenly shimmer like an apparition across the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

    The album's opener, “Afterneath” lights up like a cigarette moments after two people passionately connect, the infatuation rising from smoldering to smoking: with both Paolo and (a recording of) Patricia Arquette cooing “You’re So Cool” over a bed of chaotic distorted guitars, moog synth runs, thumping bass, and howling and wailing from Nutini. Fifteen tracks later the same singer checklists a relationship's highs and lows ranging from moments of unconditional support to breaches of trust, from declarations of dedication to confessions of trespass that have transpired. This love that started with such passion at the beginning of the album has run its course. And when the song seems to conclude with a final goodbye, the acoustic guitar returns and Paolo offers a last wordless serenade. Love is messy and hard earned emotions are tough to walk away from concretely.

    Sitting at the midpoint of “Last Night in the Bittersweet” is the biggest carat cut stone of these sixteen tracks. “Everywhere” is the tastiest of treats: a song where both the vocal lead and the guitar solo will make you pound your fist in the air, and want to make you play the song over and over, over and over, and over again.

    Paolo Nutini delivered this album on his terms and his own bittersweet time; and the complicated course of a love affair have rarely been recorded and realized with such resounding beauty.
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