Natural Rebel

Richard Ashcroft - Natural Rebel
Critic Score
Based on 14 reviews
2018 Ratings: #813 / 830
User Score
Based on 22 ratings
October 19, 2018 / Release Date
LP / Format
BMG / Label
Pop Rock / Genres
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What resonates the most from the ten songs on offer here is Ashcroft’s unbridled love of songwriting. He injects the ten songs here with a musical joie de vivre that, while certainly manifested across its precursor albums, achieves full, fantastic bloom on Natural Rebel.

Q Magazine
These songs might not defeat Fu Manchu, but they're a fine addition to Richard Ashcroft's hand.

Ever constructed around our hero's robust tenor and rattling acoustic, then adorned with A-grade orchestration, it inescapably evokes Urban Hymns.

The Telegraph

This is the closest he has ever got to recreating the mesmeric intensity and emotional release of Urban Hymns. He has thankfully ditched the electronic effects that tried to lend 2016's These People a vestige of pop modernity.

The Guardian
Ashcroft has sanded off almost all the edges: where his last record nodded vaguely in the direction of electronica, this one hugs at the roots-rocker end of his musical palette: pedal steels and acoustics are much in evidence.
Under The Radar

This is a rootsy album of pedal steel guitars, orchestral flourishes, and rather sweet songs of a happy life. When an artist has given us soundtracks to our youth and failings, we afford them an enormous amount of goodwill and do not begrudge their good fortune. Natural Rebel is not without it's shine.

Assured, yes, but there's very little rebellion here.
This modesty may prove the title to be a lie -- there's nothing rebellious about the music and not much natural, either -- but its immaculate anodyne tones are soothing, and that's superficially pleasing, even if it doesn't remotely seem attached to the Richard Ashcroft of lore.

Though Natural Rebel has its moments, it all feels a bit staid and stale: not so much rock’n’roll rebellion as conventional cliché, both musical and lyrical.


A sack full of ‘Sonnets’, this fifth solo album finds the Wigan wonder sounding almost like a pastiche of himself.

The Independent

Natural Rebel, sadly, is paint-by-numbers singer-songwriting. For a 10-track album, it feels hideously overindulgent – only two songs fall under the four-minute mark, and those still feel drawn out by plodding, bog-standard riffs.

If this is a present for fans then you have to wonder what these long-suffering people have done to deserve such a fate.
Loud and Quiet
‘Natural Rebel’ is clearly not an album written for other bands to hear and fear. Instead, it’s a record in love with its own reflection – and far too close to the mirror for its own good.
Drowned in Sound
Ashcroft's vocal, which once soared and demanded your attention, sounds languid and forced to the point where one is left wondering if he can muster up any will power himself to sing what are by and large, trite soundbites that could have been written on any number of post-it notes.
On his latest solo release, The Verve’s frontman Richard Ashcroft sounds as worn out and beaten as the genre he blossomed from. It takes a special kind of man to release an album so littered with entitlement, but Ashcroft managed that with absolute ease on Natural Rebel; perhaps all those days he spent looking at himself in the mirror and doing cocaine to pretend he’s cool have caught up with the once idolised ... read more

All My Dreams (7.2)
Birds Fly (8.0)
Surprised by the Joy (7.5)
That's How Strong (7.0)
Born to Be Strangers (7.7)
That's When I Feel It (7.3)
We All Bleed (6.0)
A Man in Motion (6.8)
Streets of Amsterdam (6.3)
Money Money (7.2)
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Track List

  1. All My Dreams
  2. Birds Fly
  3. Surprised by the Joy
  4. That's How Strong
  5. Born to Be Strangers
  6. That's When I Feel It
  7. We All Bleed
  8. A Man in Motion
  9. Streets of Amsterdam
  10. Money Money
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Added on: September 10, 2018