• Record Label: Sub Pop
  • Release Date: Mar 15, 2011
Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
Buy On
  1. Mar 15, 2011
    84
    It's the perfect record to listen to while you sit and wait for the next comet to pass, as Mascis sounds long shy of extinction.
  2. Mar 22, 2011
    82
    With the vocals more out front than ever before, Several Shades showcases a wounded, fragile weariness that I'd never realized until now was such a huge part of Dinosaur Jr's ragged, heart-wrenching appeal.
  3. Mojo
    May 18, 2011
    80
    Her's a downhome collection that's low on dBs but as impactful as anything he's done. [May 2011, p.105]
  4. The Wire
    Apr 28, 2011
    80
    Listening with a heart opened with affection kindled by Mascis's warm and defeated drawl, there's much to engage the latent Dinosaur fan looking for a still moment. [Mar 2011, p.52]
  5. Apr 5, 2011
    80
    Several Shades of Why is plaintive and embryonic to the point of breaking down barriers, musically and personally. It's as if the meat has been torn off the bone leaving us with the carcass. And as carcasses go, this one is mighty pretty.
  6. Uncut
    Mar 29, 2011
    80
    Nice work all round. [Apr 2011, p.86]
  7. Kerrang!
    Mar 18, 2011
    80
    After two decades of creating influential music, the fact that this astonishing album features some of his best songs to date makes this as important as it is unfalteringly beautiful. [12 Mar 2011, p. 51]
  8. Mar 16, 2011
    80
    This record is a welcome addition to the long-haired monosyllabic troubadour's more than impressive back catalogue.
  9. 80
    Even without his electric axe (and accompanying pedal board and crater of Marshall stacks) Mascis is still a virtuso.
  10. 80
    Mascis does a superb job of firmly establishing that this is his music and though guest artists make timely contributions, there is no denying who is the star of this show.
  11. Mar 14, 2011
    80
    If it isn't quite a masterpiece, along with Dinosaur Jr.'s surprisingly strong reunion albums, this suggests Mascis has been quietly enjoying an impressive career renaissance, as if the venerable slacker has discovered something welcome in the onset of maturity.
  12. Mar 14, 2011
    80
    He drops his first studio acoustic disc, Several Shades of Why, and it's as lilting and boldly distinctive and profoundly sad as can be expected.
  13. Mar 14, 2011
    80
    The result is a beautifully fragile acoustic record that positions him as the missing link between Kurt Cobain and Johnny Cash.
  14. Mar 14, 2011
    80
    The results are several shades of enchanting as this occasionally delicate, at times warped folk song cycle is suffused with a kind of yearning familiar to anyone who has spent late nights into early mornings contemplating love and life.
  15. Mar 11, 2011
    80
    Though his unmatched guitar prowess often overshadows his other tools, Several Shades Of Why highlights his startling talent as a songwriter.
  16. Mar 11, 2011
    80
    Now we're meeting a new side of the veteran guitar god – a gentle, delicate and altogether more acoustic Mascis.
  17. Mar 17, 2011
    79
    Several Shades of Why gives us that softer, gentler J Mascis. But it's not kids' stuff -- these are lullabies for adults, offered up with a compassion that doesn't come easy.
  18. An inveterate realist, J Mascis isn't one for romanticism, and there's not a wealth of it to be found on Several Shades of Why.
  19. Mar 22, 2011
    70
    It's funny: just when Mascis seems like he might be getting into a rut or regurgitating the familiar, he comes from the left and surprises, making everything new again.
  20. Alternative Press
    Mar 16, 2011
    70
    The relatively hushed tone of Several Shades Of Why is unnerving at first spin, strictly when considering the auditory atom bomb of Mascis' well-documented projects; but the second go 'round clears the clouds, revealing a vast lo-fi victory. [Apr 2011, p.115]
  21. Mar 14, 2011
    70
    Given that it follows a possible career-best Dinosaur Jr album - 2009's superb Farm - long-term Dino fans will hope that Several Shades Of Why isn't the start of a permanent solo career. But Mascis followers will find plenty to enjoy here.
  22. Mar 14, 2011
    70
    He may end the record in a comfortable spot-with a blistering and, obviously, impressive solo-but on Several Shades of Why he steps out of his norm and takes the long road to get there.
  23. Mar 11, 2011
    70
    On his first solo studio album, the granny-spectacled guitar god unplugs for a set of gentle acoustic ditties.
  24. Mar 17, 2011
    67
    Several Shades of Why is a poignant meditation on loss and where to go from here and what makes it more than just a competent confessional from a graying alt-rock icon are the sonic odds and ends.
  25. Mar 15, 2011
    67
    A mellow Mascis is like a sports car stuck in a school zone: The chassis still looks good, but we don't get to see what it can really do.
  26. Mar 11, 2011
    66
    It's not that Several Shades doesn't showcase Mascis's talents. It just denies us his flashiest ones.
  27. Q Magazine
    May 2, 2011
    60
    Given Mascis's croaking rasp this shouldn't work, but it does, because he's turned in his best collection of songs for a long time. [Apr 2011, p.104]
  28. 60
    For four songs you'll find it tender and comforting – then you just start craving VOLUME.
User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 4 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 4
  2. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Mar 18, 2011
    9
    This is a great diversion in his catalogue including both his solo and with Dinosaur Jr. You usually equate Jâ