Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 14 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14
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  1. Jun 16, 2017
    91
    His new record The Nashville Sound, his first with the 400 Unit since 2011’s Here We Rest, is triumphant in its topical resonance, but draws influence from the timelessness of lyrical curiosity. Whether delivering heart-wrenching lines on the crumbling of the American Dream, or the crumbling of a relationship, each is given an equal shake, and that makes his songs unreasonably powerful.
  2. 90
    The Nashville Sound is another triumph in his incredible hot streak.
  3. Uncut
    Jun 12, 2017
    90
    The Nashville Sound sees Isbell swaggering confidently along the rockier edge of his range--as usual--he's at his best on the reflective ballads. [Jul 2017, p.32]
  4. Jun 16, 2017
    83
    The result is Isbell’s most topical and far-reaching album yet, but one that’s also suffused with hope.
  5. Jun 23, 2017
    80
    The pressures of everyday living crop up again on the confessional Anxiety and Something To Love, while White Man’s World serves up a thick slice of barbed social commentary. He’s at his most heartbreaking, however, on Chaos And Clothes, chronicling the aftermath of a doomed romance.
  6. Jun 21, 2017
    80
    In all, The Nashville Sound presents a full circle, Isbell returning to the band he started before moving to Nashville and earning success through a unique voice and divergent style.
  7. Jun 16, 2017
    80
    The Nashville Sound finds him growing from strength to strength, and it reaffirms his place as one of the best and most emotionally affecting artists working in roots music today.
  8. 80
    There’s nothing particularly Nashville about Jason Isbell’s new album--no cowboy hats or keening steel guitars--but it does possess, in spades, the kind of blue-collar concerns that have traditionally furnished country music’s backbone.
  9. Jun 14, 2017
    80
    Though he tackles politics ("White Man's World," "Hope the High Road"), mental health ("Anxiety" and "Chaos and Clothes") and other highly present concerns, the overall effect is slightly more timely than timeless. Perhaps it's unfair, though, to hold Isbell to his own lofty standards. Compared to those of his contemporaries, these songs are still miles ahead.
  10. Jun 12, 2017
    80
    His strength is his honesty. He couches his anxieties in simple but poetic language as his band find the sweet spot between country and rock. [Jul 2017, p.90]
  11. Jun 12, 2017
    80
    The album is more eclectic and energetic than his other recent efforts, which have seen Isbell’s voice and vitality as a songwriter crystallize just as his sound, for better or worse, has become slicker and more uniform.
  12. Jun 15, 2017
    70
    On moments like the Elliott Smith-inspired meandering melody on "Chaos and Clothes," or the slow-building, orchestral guitar freakout on "Anxiety," Isbell points to a more expansive musical future, one where he's free to indulge his whims, fully unburdened by the notion that he's the last of a dying breed.
  13. Jun 19, 2017
    63
    Despite Isbell’s general aimlessness, The Nashville Sound features several winning moments.
  14. Jun 12, 2017
    60
    The Nashville Sound isn't a bad record by any estimation, but there are flat moments.
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 21 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 21
  2. Negative: 2 out of 21
  1. Aug 8, 2021
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. Not the trendy pick but my choice for Isbell’s best, most cohesive record Full Review »
  2. Jul 23, 2017
    8
    As a Jason Isbell fan, I can't say this is as good as Southeastern or Something More Than Free. Some of the songs don't bring enough of aAs a Jason Isbell fan, I can't say this is as good as Southeastern or Something More Than Free. Some of the songs don't bring enough of a punch or could have been refined (White Man's World as an example, and no not because of the message), and it does run through familiar territory, the Nashville Sound is still a must listen. Filled with Isbell's trademark songwriting, texture in instrumentation thanks to his 400 Unit and production with Dave Cobbs, as well as the balls to go for a strong political message and social themes, the Nashville Sound is yet another knockout from Isbell and definitely a must listen. Country music should be grateful for songwriters like him! Full Review »
  3. Jun 29, 2017
    10
    One of those rare albums that sounds okay on the first listen, great by the fifth, and damned near perfect by the tenth. Isbell is on hisOne of those rare albums that sounds okay on the first listen, great by the fifth, and damned near perfect by the tenth. Isbell is on his game, and it's pretty thrilling to have someone like him consistently delivering the goods. Full Review »