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Straight Songs of Sorrow Image

Universal acclaim - based on 16 Critic Reviews What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 14 Ratings

  • Summary: The latest solo release for the former Screaming Trees lead singer features contributions from such artists as Greg Dulli, the Bad Seeds’ Warren Ellis, Ed Harcourt, Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, Lamb of God’s Mark Morton, and Portishead’s Adrian Utley.
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. May 5, 2020
    Over the course of an hour, Straight Songs unloads a lifetime of pain. But there is a happy ending to this story. Whereas much of the album has him merely “hanging on”, by Eden Lost And Found – a track built from a mobile phone recording of his wife messing around with an old Casio keyboard – he has embraced survival and moves towards his new dawn with, if not quite piranha teeth, then a mischievous, Cheshire cat grin.
  2. May 5, 2020
    You don’t need to have read the book to appreciate the honesty of the album, which makes a compelling argument for Lanegan as a contemporary Lead Belly. ... The tracks aren’t designed to be ornate; they’re designed to support his lyrics. The result is a beautifully haunting journey.
  3. Uncut
    May 5, 2020
    If the dark intensity leans close to self-parody at times, there are enough musical surprises to bring some light to Lanegan's darkness. [Jun 2020, p.33]
  4. We should all count ourselves lucky that that role fell to a man willing to be this open and viscerally honest, and to translate it into music that salves the soul.
  5. May 28, 2020
    Downcast and spectral even by the standards of Lanegan's less-than-sunny body of work, Straight Songs of Sorrow is psychodrama as much as it is entertainment. That also makes it one of the most nakedly compelling albums Lanegan has given us, and anyone who has been interested in his music or his life will find it darkly mesmerizing.
  6. May 11, 2020
    Trimming would have helped, still, a portion of his fan base might have asked for this full retreat into darkness for quite a number of years now. It’s ironic how Lanegan’s most tumultuous experience came wrapped in one of the most toned down collections of songs so far. Also, the difficulties of relating to these stories refrain the LP from becoming one of the strongest in the catalog.
  7. May 19, 2020
    Despite its best intentions, Straight Songs Of Sorrow is an album that would’ve worked considerably better as a well-pruned EP. As it stands, there’s too much intent and not enough delivery to maintain attention throughout its sprawling running time.

See all 16 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 2
  2. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. May 10, 2020
    Mark Lanegan comes right out and says it, so don't say you weren't warned. These are Straight Songs of Sorrow. The deep lyrics riding uponMark Lanegan comes right out and says it, so don't say you weren't warned. These are Straight Songs of Sorrow. The deep lyrics riding upon guttural resonance evokes a cathartic empathy for the state of the world and the people inhabiting it which is nothing short of beautiful. It may not be the artist's desired effect, but after I put my headphones down, I feel a whole lot better about my own personal lot in life and the future of humankind. I suppose in this respect one could call this a blues album, but the blood mixed in makes it more purple.

    Founder of grunge pioneers and extremely underrated Screaming Trees, Lanagan rides the tailwind of his recent soul-bearing memoir, Sing Backwards and Weep. His book details the youthful search for "decadence, depravity, anything, everything." In it, Lanagan reveals the guilt he feels to this day about the death of his friend, Kurt Cobain. The vocals are reminiscent of classic blues singers yet bent with a blend of dark Iggy Pop mixed with Leonard Cohen, and infused with a twist of Nick Cave.

    The distressed sonic texture strikes a chord from which the lyrics jump off and strike a nerve with tales of heartache and sorrow and warning signs of the hard road ahead. The album begins with Lanegan warning listeners not to take his advice. "Suddenly, everything I ever had is on ice. All those who tried to help me scattered like mice. No, I wouldn't want to say."

    "Bleed All Over," the song with the most velocity in the collection, still reverberates with a vengeful sorry. "Don't you say it's over… I never wanted to… I'm a bleed all over." On "Skeleton Key," Lannegan laments, "I'm ugly inside and out… Love me, why would you ever love me? No one has ever loved me yet, pretty baby."

    On Straight Songs of Sorrow, slow and soulful guitar travels on a gravel road of heavy bass and subdued drums. In the driver's seat, Lanegan couldn't care less what his passengers think. Unburdened by obligation and pretension, the artist is free to express his true self and travel wherever he wants. That is precisely what Lanegan has done, and we're all the wiser for coming along for the ride.
  2. Jun 24, 2020
    ( 66/100 )

    Mark Lanegan está lejos de ser recordado por su música. Aún después de 30 años en la industria, parece que sigue produciendo
    ( 66/100 )

    Mark Lanegan está lejos de ser recordado por su música. Aún después de 30 años en la industria, parece que sigue produciendo solo por antigüedad y no quiere retirarse. Probablemente es diferente, pero lo que no puedo negar es que sus últimos proyectos hablan mucho pero no dicen nada. Producido junto a Alain Johannes, este álbum simplemente desaparecerá tan rápido como apareció. Aunque la temática está relacionada con la suavidad y oscuridad de su tristeza personal, el álbum realmente es lento, aburrido y pesado de escuchar. Los coros y el ritmo de las cuerdas no se ayudan, pues este Rock ignora la necesidad de la intensidad o sensibilidad en sí mismo y simplemente compone un sonido de fondo para decorar la voz de Lanegan. Sus letras podrán ser poéticas, pero su recital es eternamente frustrante por la falta de alma, creatividad, energía y emoción.
    Mark Lanegan is far from being remembered by his music. After 30 years in the industry, he seems to be producing just for antiquity and denied to retire. It's probably not like that, but I can't deny that his latest projects talk a lot and say nothing. Produced with Alain Johannes, this album will simply disappear as fast as it appeared. Even if the thematic is related to the softness and darkness of his personal sorrow, the album actually is slow, boring, and heavy to hear. The choirs and the rhythm of the cords don't help the project since this Rock ignores the necessity of intensity or sensibility in itself and simply compose a background sound to decore Lanegan's voice. His lyrics might be poetic, but his recital is eternally frustrating by the lack of soul, creativity, energy, and emotion.