Thao & the Get Down Stay Down - A Man Alive
Critic Score
Based on 12 reviews
2016 Ratings: #318 / 905
User Score
Based on 97 ratings
2016 Ratings: #163
March 4, 2016 / Release Date
LP / Format
Ribbon / Label
Indie Pop, Art Pop / Genres
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A Man Alive is an endearing listen and has all of the elements of a complete work—even pop-centric singles in “Astonished Man” and “Nobody Dies.”


Thao & the Get Down Stay Down have returned with A Man Alive, a brilliant and cohesive album that surpasses expectation. It's an elaborate showcase of musical talent and diversity; styles are blended between fractured beats and uninhibited vocals, while elements of tension and release are used strongly to toy with listeners' emotions.

Even at 12 tracks, the album will leave many wanting more.
The Guardian

While A Man Alive often feels busy, it’s rarely overbearingly so, due to Nguyen’s ear for an off-kilter pop melody.

Built from the bottom end on up, it's Nguyen's most rhythmically robust, gleefully discordant release to date. It also marks a return to the more self-analytical approach of her earliest efforts, yielding her most candid songwriting yet.

It’s ironic that such a painful backstory has birthed this crop of relatively cheerful-sounding — not to mention industrious, and never dull — tracks.

Consequence of Sound

Even with quiet moments that forget to entertain, Nguyen sounds like she’s having more fun than ever before on A Man Alive.


This is Thao and the Get Down Stay Down’s fourth record, so their established audience should be accustomed to their quirks. Hopefully potential new fans will give A Man Alive a thorough chance to win them over, because it’s worth the time.

The Line of Best Fit

It all makes for a pretty giant leap forward, with the weighty, emotional subject punctured by a Willy Wonka factory of discombobulated guitar pop that has the tUnE-yArDs’ finger print all over it.  It’s complicated, but Thao Nguyen is very much alive.

Loud and Quiet
There is a difference between pleasingly raw, and lazily random, and at times this record feels like a demo, or even a recording of a rehearsal.
*review I wrote for a newspaper in 2016*

“This record is me releasing whatever I have to,” alt-folk legend Thao Nguyen recently told NPR, “trying to move forward, to forgive. But then a few songs later I feel like I could leave him for dead.” The record in question is A Man Alive, Nguyen's fourth with her band The Get Down Stay Down, and the “him” in question is Nguyen’s father, who phased in and out of her life since her preteen years.

But ... read more
Top Tracks:
Nobody Dies
Meticulous Bird
Some of it was good, most of it gave me a headache.
This is somewhat Tune-yards derivative -- not surprising given her involvement in the album -- but it's a lot of fun to see Thao & the Get Down Stay Down get a bit weirder in this album. They experiment with many more sounds than in their past album, creating a kind of kooky indie pop sound that Thao and the band sometimes completely nail.
The vocals are garbage, Thao can't hit high notes for shit. The album as a whole is pretty catchy and the beats are really good too so we disregard the vocals a bit. A really fun and goofy listen.
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Year End Lists


Track List

  1. Astonished Man
  2. Slash/Burn
  3. The Evening
  4. Departure
  5. Nobody Dies
  6. Guts
  7. Fool Forever
  8. Millionaire
  9. Meticulous Bird
  10. Give Me Peace
  11. Hand to God
  12. Endless Love
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Added on: December 13, 2015