Swans - The Beggar
Critic Score
Based on 15 reviews
2023 Ratings: #300 / 757
User Score
2023 Rank: #21
Liked by 489 people
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Louder Than War
As ever, Swans are full of surprise and enigma. They paint pictures and atmospheres that other bands can only dream of.
Beats Per Minute
By imagining a future without himself, Michel Gira has opened up an eternity of possibilities. He’s let the light shine in – and that is deeply moving. He’s found peace.
Sinister bass grooves, slave-gallery drums and portentous bleakness: Michael Gira and co are back.
The Guardian
Written during lockdown, the band’s 16th album is full of claustrophobic unease as Michael Gira contemplates life, mortality and the end of existence.
Swans' sixteenth is an unsurprisingly gruelling experience, but paints the darkness of Gira’s soul in variegated shades of black.
Spectrum Culture

While Gira's lyrics are as apocalyptic, cryptic and uncomfortable as they've ever been, The Beggar is Swans at their loveliest, sounding earthy and ethereal rather than crushingly oppressive.

The Arts Desk
There is plenty that is new and interesting on The Beggar.

The Beggar is definitely flawed as a front-to-back experience, but it's also the most engaging release that Swans have put out since To Be Kind. It takes patience (uhduh), but when it grabs you, clutching with bony hands and hypnotising with an unblinking stare, each long-awaited chord change, timbral variation, or addition in arrangement strikes like the peal of a great bell through chill night air.


A definite improvement over leaving meaning., The Beggar is a riskier yet more successful effort that feels like a step in a more fulfilling direction.

Slant Magazine
The album is defined by the quality, craftsmanship, and epic-ness we've come to expect.
The Needle Drop

While The Beggar's music might arguably be less vital than Swans' myriad masterpieces, a great deal of beauty and power is mined from Gira's confrontation of mortality.

SWANS' leftfield, oftentimes subdued madness carries forth now with their sixteenth studio album, "The Beggar", a two CD effort that creeps and crawls with a seductive and menacing quality that's hard to shake off.
The Skinny
Swans continue to tone back the aggression on The Beggar, feeling like a band once again developing a new identity, one that’s still coalescing into its full shape.

The Beggar is likely to be the most polarizing Swans release of the last 5. It’s extremely slow, and possibly the only Swans album that I’d recommend listening to after like 3-4 other Swans albums.

It is slow. Really really slow. Even for a Swans album, it feels like it takes forever. What works for me however is how well it rewards you for sticking it out. It’s a unique experience, and a really strong piece of the Swans catalog.

The 43 minute song is a trip. It feels like a ... read more


The HOES are sleepy on this one.

Well, While the album is a tough pill to swallow, And it probably wont receive as much praise as some of the other classic in their respected discography, In my opinion the legendary band just delivered another incredible album and maybe a masterpiece. I came into this album with mixed expectations, I wasn't the biggest fun of the singles, But they definitely were more impactful in the context of the album, And I'm happy to say that this project pretty much ... read more


Micheal Gira, you silly poodle! Why'd you have to make me shit my pants again!

Swans, for as abrasive, grand and destructive as they seem on the surface, bring me a lot of comfort. Maybe that’s strange to say, but there is a certain calmness to their music that is really hard to pin down and truly define for me. Swans entire career, the good, the bad, and the weird has always been trying to reach this display of pure emotional, spiritual or physical catharsis. From the No Wave anger and ... read more


On a first listen, this is proberbly the least interesting swans album i have heard so far.


thank you Michael for all the great music you have made


No reason to rate each track, is enjoyable, somehow the lyrics are fresh after 2 hours, the sounds are interesting but a bit repetitive at times, i don't feel what i had felt with other Swans recirds and i found this to be fun, just not comparable

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Track List

Year End Lists

#42/Rough Trade (UK)
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Added on: March 20, 2021