Ultimate Success Today

Protomartyr - Ultimate Success Today
Critic Score
Based on 24 reviews
2020 Ratings: #132 / 819
User Score
Based on 779 ratings
2020 Ratings: #91
Liked by 54 people
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That sense of reckless abandon is here on Ultimate Success Today, but the evolution of the band has meant that, sonically at least, this is a much more advanced and progressive record than the debut.

The Line of Best Fit

Ultimate Success Today has the power of an exorcism, and even if it is not a cure for the sickness, it is somewhere to hide in these dark times.

God Is in the TV

While Ultimate Success Today does not quite have the singles potential of previous Protomartyr records, it easily has the best flow.  It is a masterclass in how to write a perfectly tight, inspiring rock album.

Spectrum Culture
Protomartyr continues to be vital, passionate and adept at tapping into the particular vibe of this moment in history.
Under The Radar

Ultimate Success Today sees frontman Joe Casey focus his beat-poet style to a razor-sharp precision, lamenting the continuing decline of his city, state and country.

Beats Per Minute
Throughout the record, Protomartyr discuss the state of the world without beating the listener over the head with the themes – indeed, the pounding ache we all feel is easily tackled by the instrumentals alone.
The Arts Desk

Protomartyr were a long shot gamble from the start ... And yet here they still are, finding beauty in the rubble, resilience in crushing depression. Like their ravaged hometown, they seem somehow invincible.

Q Magazine

Approached with the premonition that it might be their last record, Ultimate Success Today is convulsed by End Times thoughts of collapse and an American dream eating itself.


This is 2020 in pained, reverb dripping sound waves. This is the isolation. This is the pandemic. This is everything. The doom may have arrived, but at least Protomartyr are back in our lives.

The Guardian

With stadium rock riffs and saxophone over lyrics about riots and respirators, the Detroit post-punks are the soundtrack of an uncertain future.

Loud and Quiet

Ultimate Success Today is thought-provoking, distinctive and testament to the boldness of post-punk in the present day.


The concept behind the music can only be as moving as the music itself, and, thankfully, Protomartyr delivers. The band’s knack for meaty percussion and jagged guitars continues.

Slant Magazine

The restless punk spirit and flippant, downtrodden ethos that prevail over the project render Protomartyr’s painstaking intellectualizations as fuel for a visceral winding up and release of discontent.


Ultimate Success Today sounds timely in 2020, but this music would be a smart, compelling accompaniment for staring into the abyss as it begins to look back, no matter what the year.

There is considerable depth, particularly lyrical, offering the listener a significant amount of brilliant content to dissect. It may not be the album some fans wanted, still, it is an important step forward in the band’s sonic journey and overall development.
On their fifth album, the Detroit post-punk band recruits a woodwind section for its most expansive statement yet.

Post-punk's Protomartyr have honed their sound into something apocalyptic on their defiantly modernist Ultimate Success Today.

Sounding beaten down at times, railing at the world in the next, ‘Ultimate Success Today’ continues to mark him out as one of post-punk’s most fascinating frontmen and lyricists.

Disjointed sounds and anger in extremis from Detroit post-punks.


Ultimate Success Today, is an aggressive and unflinching listen. Filled to the brim with screeching guitars, ominous bass and pounding drums in never lets up in terms of its intensity.


Ultimate Success Today stands as an exceptionally thrilling rock record, even if it does little to push Protomartyr into unexplored territory.

Rolling Stone
The boys in Detroit's Protomartyr continue racking up a flawless run of bleaky poetic, boozily hilarious punk-rock gems; their fifth album is pure misanthropic splendor.
American Songwriter

There’s a clear sense of foreboding imbued in each of these offerings and the darkness and doom continue to linger throughout.

The Needle Drop

Protomartyr attempt a more climactic formula on Ultimate Success Today, with mixed results.

"I wish you well, I do
May you find peace in this world
And when it's over
Dissolve without pain"

No matter how many years you have under your belt with this band, nothing quite prepares you for a moment like 'Processed by the Boys' or 'Worm in Heaven'. Ultimate Success Today is in nearly every aspect a Protomartyr essential. A fine, intuitive, diligently crafted work encased in the disjointed rhythms and Casey's frantic vocal deliveries. One that knows how to speak and connect with ... read more
Eight million horses, donkeys and mules died in World War I, three-quarters of them from the extreme conditions they worked in.

Relatives of Descent ended with “She is trying to reach you. Trying to reach you”, Ultimate Success Today starts with “I could not be reached, no matter how many times she repeats. An empty space, that’s the whole of me”. Okay then. Isn’t 2020 the ominous hum of June 21? Every morning you wake up to see what’s next up. ... read more
Surprised by this. It doesn’t get stale at all from front to back. It’s a great post punk album, and I’m satisfied by this
Protomartyr deliver a great collection of darkly textured and atmospheric post-punk tracks. Every single song on here sounds full, dense, and very potent-sounding. In a year of dull, mostly uninteresting releases, this was just the record I needed.

FAVORITES: I Am You Now | June 21 | Michigan Hammers | Bridge & Crown

LEAST FAVORITES: Day Without End | Tranquilizer
faves: all but least faves
least faves: tranquilizer, day without end, i am you now
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Added on: March 11, 2020