Lamp Lit Prose

Dirty Projectors - Lamp Lit Prose
Critic Score
Based on 31 reviews
2018 Ratings: #327 / 788
User Score
Based on 230 ratings
2018 Ratings: #784
Liked by 1 person
July 13, 2018 / Release Date
LP / Format
Domino / Label
Art Pop, Indie Pop / Genres
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The Skinny
While this album could be characterised as a return to 'normality' for Dirty Projectors, such a label has no bearing on a group this relentlessly imaginative; a creative rebirth would be more accurate.

Lamp Lit Prose may have arrived quickly, but it sounds as though Longstreth has made leaps and bounds from the self-titled album’s more solipsistic, self-piteous moments. Towards the end, positivity and simplicity win out, along with a surprising – given the baroquely knotted musical strands – lyrical clarity.

A.V. Club

Dirty Projectors felt like an ending, but Lamp Lit Prose suggests several new beginnings and an army of collaborators looking to help Longstreth find inspiration and passion among the ashes.


It may not be as emotionally significant as Dirty Projectors or as instrumentally adept as Swing Lo Magellan, but it’s sure nice to hear Dave Longstreth enjoying himself again. Lamp Lit Prose is an exercise in exactly that: letting loose, writing from the heart, and rediscovering the things in life that make you happy.

The Independent

The hodgepodge of ideas can make for challenging listening towards the end, but Lamp Lit Prose feels like Longstreth’s back having fun, playing with ideas, every listen offering up something new to discover.

The results are an album that synthesizes the Dirty Projectors sound, while continuing to explore the nooks and crannies of the rather large and unorthodox creative box he's made for himself.
The Guardian
This polar opposite of Dave Longstreth’s previous break-up howl, this album is impossible to resist.
David Longstreth is done writing about the past. Where Dirty Projectors’ eponymous record reflected on his relationship with former bandmate Amber Coffman, their ninth full-length offers up an optimistic look to the future of the group.
Only a year later, his 9th Dirty Projectors album ‘Lamp Lit Prose’ is a decidedly more organic record; buoyant and witty, and notably shy of meandering eight-minute odysseys.
Crack Magazine

Throwing open the studio doors for collaboration after collaboration, Lamp Lit Prose’s greatest strength is in its vocal eclecticism. When it all threatens to sag under the weight of all the musical witchcraft and wizardry, another guest is wheeled out to freshen things up.

It’s a marvellous return to form for an act that possesses such unbridled creative energy. We’re glad they’ve been put to joyous use this time round.

Like Bitte Orca, Lamp Lit Prose is a genuinely adventurous work, not shy about pointing to Dirty Projectors' experimental roots, but the material also sounds bright, playful, and engaging, accessible even when the melodies and meters take unexpected left turns.

Spectrum Culture

Prose gives us a look at the new, more self-confident Dave Longstreth, willing to feel (and experiment with) everything all at once. It’s a great look for him.


Lamp Lit Prose is another outstanding chapter in what is shaping up to be one of the great 21st century musical odysseys.


‘Lamp Lit Prose’ simultaneously synchronises climates from the past, present, and future, amalgamating on a record that is proudly cheerful.


Though not always successful, Lamp Lit Prose is rarely dull, turning corners and switching gears when you least expect it—even within the same song. Channeling earlier releases, longtime fans will be pleased, while newbies will eat up the poppier offerings and Longstreth’s tastier melodies.

Consequence of Sound

Longstreth may never be able to get out of the shadow of Bitte Orca, but Lamp Lit Prose finds him embracing his quirk, wit, and warmth, ending up with his brightest album yet.

Entertainment Weekly

If Dirty Projectors was the band’s long winter, the sonic equivalent of holding space within which their frontman could probe and process, Lamp Lit Prose is the resultant progress, a gratifying spring bloom bearing the sweeter-than-expected fruits of Longstreth’s labor.

Northern Transmissions
Over their many records, The Dirty Projectors have always been a hard band to place, but that’s still part of the charm. While this is certainly true, their new record mixes a bit of a tonal throwback with so much experimental writing that it’s hard to keep up.

It’s a bold project, this madcap quest for personal and political salvation. But when Longstreth throws caution to the wind, Lamp Lit Prose is wonderful.

Loud and Quiet
‘Lamp Lit Prose’ isn’t the return to happier, halcyon days, and nor could it ever be, but after what preceded, it’s a reminder of what’s made the band such a magnetic listen over the years.
Drowned in Sound

Ultimately, Lamp Lit Prose is a far more enjoyable listen than last year's self-titled in terms of content and feel alone.

Tiny Mix Tapes

With oblique but not totally inscrutable lyrics and labyrinthine guitar lines that slowly laid the pathway toward an orthodox R&B/pop sound, Dirty Projectors made no bones about their pop-oriented ambitions. And on Lamp Lit Prose, the band make good on those ambitions and offer their most conventional collection of songs yet.

Under The Radar

A summer record full of love, guitars, and a far happier outlook than anyone would have expected from Longstreth a year on from the utter devastation of his last release.

The Line of Best Fit
David Longstreth can make excellent records – he’s already made three or four. But this isn’t one of them.
FLOOD Magazine
Longstreth’s latest endeavor is superficially, temporarily enjoyable—but it disappoints all the same.
The Observer
You would not start here if you were new to this ear-boggling band, but Longstreth remains a singular talent.
The Needle Drop

Back to being a band, Dirty Projectors squanders a fair bit of potential on Lamp Lit Prose.


Lamp Lit Prose offers big hooks as well as plenty of nervy rhythms and typical sonic left turns, resulting in a soundscape that's both exhilarating and exhausting.

Rolling Stone
The results are by turns dazzling and exhausting.
Oh Jesus...

This was like eating a football sized lemon. That is all class.

BEST TRACKS: Break-Thru, Zombie Conquerer (kinda), Blue Bird (kinda)
WORST TRACKS: I'm sorry I can't pick but I Found It in U was a disaster.
'Lamp Lit Prose' is an ambling mess of an album - a conglomeration of ideas, styles and sounds. Despite this, it works surprisingly well. That being said, its eclectic leanings will often ostracise listeners with its appropriation of various genres. It doesn't quite reach the heights of their 2017 self-titled release, but certain songs certainly capture that essence. "That's a Lifestyle" does its best "Up in Hudson" impression to great effect, whilst "Break-Thru" ... read more
I was sadly disappointed with this album. I liked Break Thru quite a bit, and the list of collaborators was promising. Unfortunately, many of these guests feel wasted. There is also a strange monotony in the song compositions. I will still poke at this album as the songs were not unlistenable, just inconsequential. David Longstreth in the past has been a master at creating interesting and provocative pop music, but 'Lamp Lit Prose' feels uninspired and underwritten.
This album is a return to form of sorts for DPs. While I appreciated a lot of what was going on with the self-titled, i think it had more misses than hits, and I don't know if that super specific, personal songwriting style necessarily suits Dave Longstreth. Lamp Lit Prose is upbeat and playful, but the arrangements are still wildly complex without sacrificing catch hooks. While I can see a lot of people preferring the beautiful acoustics of Magellan or the timelessness and drama of Bitte ... read more
This is the worst Dirty Projectors album to date.
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Year End Lists


Track List

  1. Right Now (feat. Syd)
  2. Break-Thru
  3. That's a Lifestyle
  4. I Feel Energy (feat. Amber Mark)
  5. Zombie Conquerer (feat. Empress Of)
  6. Blue Bird
  7. I Found It in U
  8. What Is the Time
  9. You're the One (feat. Robin Pecknold & Rostam)
  10. (I Wanna) Feel It All (feat. Dear Nora)
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Added on: April 18, 2018