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Common As Light and Love Are Red Valleys of Blood

Sun Kil Moon - Common As Light and Love Are Red Valleys of Blood
Critic Score
Based on 15 reviews
2017 Ratings: #655 / 725
User Score
Based on 197 ratings
2017 Ratings: #394
February 17, 2017 / Release Date
LP / Format
Caldo Verde / Label
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The Needle Drop

When Mark Kozelek arrives, baby, he arrives.

Loud and Quiet

The longevity of ‘Common As Light…’ may make it a challenge to navigate initially, but with each sitting the album grows more personal, and feels like the natural progression from last year’s Jesu collaboration.


This is ultimately a record about the limitless ways human beings will find to make sense of and talk about the weirdness of our everyday lives.


Devoting time to ‘Common as Light’ is worth the effort in most part. There are still the familiarly macabre scenes in abundance and an obsession with boxing. Sun Kil Moon assumes the role of elder statesman to review modern America and in turn himself – his role in modernity.

At over two hours long, it's easily one of Mark Kozelek's most ambitious undertakings yet -- or one of the most self-indulgent, depending on the listener's perspective.
Rolling Stone
Taking its place alongside recent work-in-progress-style releases by Kanye and Kendrick, it's an epic for our unfiltered moment.
Drowned in Sound

There’s no doubt that Kozelek has changed, and for much of Common As Light… his ramblings and sonic backdrop are gripping. Unfortunately, there are many moments when that rambling seems aimless. The good news for fans of Kozelek’s work in its current iteration is that there will be no shortage of worldly events for him to contend with for future projects.

As a writer of the English language, Kozelek gets perfect marks; as a writer of songs, the jury is still out.

The reason why similarly quotidian story-songs like “Gustavo” or “Jim Wise” hit so hard was because they resulted in double portraits: You learned more about Kozelek through his observations of others. On Common as Light, Kozelek fills the whole frame, increasing the humor and anger, but sacrificing the subtlety.

No Ripcord

Not even Kozelek can command it entirely for 130 minutes, though, and when you’ve already achieved perfection just three years previously, it’s always going to be hard to reach those heights again.

Northern Transmissions

Kozelek is probing towards something, some sort of feeling that he can’t quite hit. The failure is admirable at points, fitting in well with Kozelek’s aging sentimentality. But released as a double album, with 16 songs total, it begins to crack in places, and ultimately, starts to sound a bit dull.

Consequence of Sound

The double album concept only waters down Kozelek’s biting social commentary and exquisite observations on living.


For those who have been enjoying his stream-of-consciousness lyrical style and day-in-the-life ramblings — even as they stray further and further from what could be described as music — his latest record offers the most exhaustive (and exhausting) probe yet into his life and mind.

Tiny Mix Tapes

Kozelek spends a lot of time on Common as Light giving us his broadly “common sense” liberal pluralist live-and-let-live shtick, punctuated by grumpy bashings of “hipster” culture and its parades of regenerated tenement buildings and juice bars, music journalists, and Father John Misty.

what are you critics smoking?

This album in terms of quality is like a 97/100 for me, which is why it was my second favorite album of 2017. I even said in my video I knew I would probably never come back to this thing. I did come back but I just cant stay. Because of that I am reducing 6 points. my initial listen was really important
Do you really think that Mark Kozelek was going to stop stuffing us with music? Well, you're wrong. Because Mark Kozelek will multiply the numbers of albums to piss off... um sorry, give music to his fan base until saturation. So here is the first album of 2017 as Sun Kil Moon which is a double-album named "Common As Light and Love Are Red Valleys of Blood" because twice as much is better. It does not matter if it's too much because a lot more is better. As always, Mark recounts his ... read more
I definitely enjoyed this album a lot more than any of Mark's other releases under the Sun Kil Moon name that i've heard, it was the most engaging to me lyrically and it had some pretty pleasant instrumentals too. However once i'd finished this thing, I can't say I loved it overall.

My primary issues are of course with the album's length, it does not need to be over 2 hours. There are tracks on here where I feel like Mark's lyrics tend to meander a bit too much and he begin's aimlessly ... read more
(Don't totally trust me, I listened this album only one time).

+ Beautiful tracks...
+ A lot of substance and experiences in this record...
+ Lovely "prog" folk record

- .. But there is an inadequate lenght in some tracks (God Bless Ohio can be shortened for example)
- ... But it really needs to be more canalized
- x2 -CD format don't really suit to accumulation of anecdotes
- SKM vocals can be really boring (to me and according to some people).

The real problem in this album ... read more
Whilst not really being the most emotional album Mark has delivered, it still carries a lot of weight in its lyrics along with wit instrumentation which is quite varied and dynamic at lease by Kozelek's standard. A bit too long but this is still another really enjoyable record from Sun Kil Moon.

Best Track: Chili Lemon Peanuts
Worst Track: Window Sash Weights
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Year End Lists

#5/The Needle Drop

Track List

Disc 1

  1. God Bless Ohio
  2. Chili Lemon Peanuts
  3. Philadelphia Cop
  4. The Highway Song
  5. Lone Star
  6. Window Sash Weights
  7. Sarah Lawrence College Song
  8. Butch Lullaby

Disc 2

  1. Stranger Than Paradise
  2. Early June Blues
  3. Bergen To Trondheim
  4. I Love Portugal
  5. Bastille Day
  6. Vague Rock Song
  7. Seventies TV Show Theme Song
  8. I Love You Forever And Beyond Eternity
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Added on: July 20, 2016