Adrianne Lenker - songs
Critic Score
Based on 25 reviews
2020 Ratings: #36 / 809
Year End Rank: #22
User Score
Based on 826 ratings
2020 Ratings: #25
Liked by 79 people
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The Independent
It’s excruciating in its honesty – even for Lenker, who’s hardly known for shying away from her feelings. Now she bares her pain with complete abandon. It’s quite extraordinary.

Lenker's work continues to reimagine love and loss, and albums like songs are her way of turning those complex emotions into something timeless.

Loud and Quiet
Her songs feel age-old, with a haunting serenity. The talent she possesses is something so special and rare that it feels wrong to reduce it to a simple review.
The title ‘songs’ betrays overwhelming modesty on Adrianne Lenker’s part. Instead of isolated works, the Big Thief singer delivers one of the most cohesive, decorous albums of solo acoustic music in recent memory.

Much like the rest of Adrianne’s catalogue, Songs is characterised by its purity of expression and an unbridled vulnerability most of us can only dream of offering - we can be grateful she gifts it so fearlessly.

The Line of Best Fit
Each song shuffles along with the steady patience of a current, and the recordings are immaculate and warm.

songs is Lenker’s most complete, her most personal work; her least comprehensible, but her most comprehensive.


The Big Thief singer approaches familiar themes of loss, solitude, memory, and regret in some of the most vivid songwriting of her career.


Adrianne Lenker’s songs is beautiful and ugly in all the best ways.

Beats Per Minute

She has found a finer balance between her more abstract images and cutting to the quick, which makes her gentle poetry more impactful than ever.


Playing alone and unadorned, every song is written from the first person, creating Lenker's most unguarded album yet.

Comprised of 11 confessional ballads, ‘Songs’ spotlights the warmth of Lenker’s vocals and the heartsick poetry of Lenker’s songwriting.
No Ripcord

Whereas abysskiss stayed on drearier paths, songs is as colorful and varied as her grandmother’s painting of wildflowers that adorns its cover.

Northern Transmissions

The entirety of the album is transportive. Even through the fragility of the songs and performance, it feels as if Lenker physically grabs you and places you directly in front of herself, singing these songs in a cabin in the woods.

It may be more of a slow burner than last year’s pair of Big Thief albums but, once the flame is ignited, these songs provide warmth and reassurance like the open fire it’s possible to imagine Lenker lighting when decamped in the American outdoors.
FLOOD Magazine

Sometimes she lets us in on the context of the visceral moments she conjures, but the images on Songs feel different. The anger and sorrow feel more pointed, more active.


The sparse palette - Lenker’s acoustic, incidental percussion, reassuring tape hiss - serves to isolate the quiet brilliance of the melodies, setting their winding, spontaneous beauty against angst that spans existential questioning and the nuts and bolts of severing ties with someone you care about.

The Needle Drop
The Big Thief frontwoman comes through with a set of simply great songs.
Rolling Stone

Painful memories are twirling around in Lenker’s head on Songs. It’s an album that lives up to it’s name by capturing the basic, natural truth of her art.

Spectrum Culture

Despite their instrumental sparsity, songs and instrumentals are albums rich in detail, and when taken as a whole they feel less like a question and more like a resolution.


While not an essential album for fans of Big Thief, admirers of Lenker's solo work will find another reliably solid, touching set of songs here.


Songs draws itself into clearer focus through Lenker's sweet, freshly-cut voice, her jingle-jangle mornings full of emptiness and self-doubt.

‘songs’ quietly establishes adrianne lenker as the best folk singer-songwriter in america. adrianne’s voice is mysterious, bleak, and vague, yet it is extremely profound. her words are thorough, all-inclusive, meta, and oddly simple.

the project has minimal production, and because of this, we listeners can hear Adrianne’s true vision. when she’s isolated, her talent, alone, shines through rather than an entire band. Adrianne shows complete control and wisdom for ... read more
this record possesses the wisdom of a 5000 year old pine tree
The output and consistency of that output from Lenker should astound just about anyone. Ever since 2016 we haven't missed a year where Lenker offered up something special, whether that be under the group Big Thief or as a solo artist. I first caught wind of Big Thief back in 2017 with the release Capacity, and ever since if Lenker is tied to a project it has been can't-miss material. abysskiss was the first solo album I had exposed myself to from the Big Thief singer, which revealed a far more ... read more
Adrianne Lenker paints a beautiful and serene soundscape on songs. The Big Thief vocalist comes through with a pretty decent and gorgeous album. Adrianne’s singing across this record is incredibly hypnotic. Her beautiful and incredibly potent melodies put me in a trance with how beautiful and moving they are. The instrumentals here are incredibly minimalist yet never feel super empty or devoid of emotion. They perfectly complement the beautiful vocals and robust songwriting Adrianne ... read more
Sometimes all you need is a guitar and a voice..

In the case of Big Thief vocalist Adrianne Lenker, this is absolutely true. She has shown her prowess as a singer-songwriter time and time and again and her latest effort “songs” is no exception.

I get transported to this certain state of mind when listening to Lenker’s work. I feel such a feeling of warmth and comfort, like a motherly presence ensuring me that everything is going to be okay.

I really liked this record a lot. ... read more
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Track List

  1. two reverse
  2. ingydar
  3. anything
  4. forwards beckon rebound
  5. heavy focus
  6. half return
  7. come
  8. zombie girl
  9. not a lot, just forever
  10. dragon eyes
  11. my angel
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Added on: September 2, 2020