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Livin' on a High Note Image
Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 14 Critic Reviews What's this?

User Score
6.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 10 Ratings

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  • Summary: Produced by M Ward, the latest release from the R&B/soul singer features songs written for her by such artists as Aloe Blacc, Benjamin Booker, Neko Case, Nick Cave, Ben Harper, tUnE-yArds, and Justin Vernon.
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Top Track

Take Us Back
Sometimes life can get ya In a hurry but, uh I'm just going to take it slow now That don't mean I ain't been working y'all I'm working on me,... See the rest of the song lyrics
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. Feb 18, 2016
    90
    The album feels stunningly fresh and cutting edge; expect to see it on some Top Ten lists later this year.
  2. Mar 30, 2016
    80
    Livin’ on a High Note is nothing if not eclectic. While the focus is on an upbeat good time, peppered with a few life (and history) lessons, the quietest, most reflective song closes the album beautifully.
  3. 80
    She wields the survivor's axe of righteousness and you listen up, because she sings with the no-nonsense generosity of one who's telling you how to keep your own darkness at bay.
  4. Feb 4, 2016
    75
    Such a stellar cast would typically take the spotlight, but Ward makes sure everything (and everyone) remains in orbit 'round the 75-year-old artist. [Jan/Feb 2016, p.59]
  5. Feb 18, 2016
    74
    High Note complements rather than contradicts those bleaker depictions of 21st century America and casually argues for Staples’ legacy as an agitgospel singer.
  6. Mojo
    Feb 4, 2016
    60
    Mavis tries to stamp authority on songs written by ward's musician pals.... They're not all great though--neither the Charity Rose or Nick Cave contributions hit the spot. [Mar 2016, p.99]
  7. Feb 25, 2016
    60
    The production is restrained, leaving plenty of space for Staples's rich vocals, although some songs feel a bit too clean and reserved. It's all very pleasant but lacks the fire and passion we want from her.

See all 14 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 1 out of 2
  1. Feb 21, 2016
    7
    Admittedly R&B is not my genre, so maybe that's why some songs dragged for me. But overall, Staples' new album has plenty of soulfullyAdmittedly R&B is not my genre, so maybe that's why some songs dragged for me. But overall, Staples' new album has plenty of soulfully uplifting tracks that warrant multiple listens.

    Favorite Tracks: Take Us Back, Love And Trust, High Note, Don't Cry, Tomorrow, History, Now; MLK Song.
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  2. Feb 16, 2017
    0
    Very boring, bland and generic. Vocals aren't impressive, the composition isn't impressive, to be honest, nothing is impressive with thisVery boring, bland and generic. Vocals aren't impressive, the composition isn't impressive, to be honest, nothing is impressive with this record. Only the track "Action" provides some groove. Expand