Ruminations

Conor Oberst - Ruminations
Critic Score
Based on 27 reviews
2016 Ratings: #412 / 947
User Score
Based on 95 ratings
2016 Ratings: #113
Liked by 2 people
October 14, 2016 / Release Date
LP / Format
Nonesuch / Label
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CRITIC REVIEWS

90
Drowned in Sound

It’s a beautiful collection of songs; one where sadness is allayed by companionship, and doubt by laudable compassion.

90
The 405

This album is contemplative and, maybe more important than anything else, stirs you delve into your own mind and those demons we all have.

86
Paste

Though these songs were recorded hastily by some standards, their welding of forlorn lyricism and comforting listenability makes the songwriter admirable not just for his craftsmanship, but for his ability to pull through an arduous time with what could be a benchmark album in his already prolific career.

83
A.V. Club

It works because Oberst keeps the music moving and doesn’t let his voice over-quiver with rage or sadness. He’s rather calm, and his songwriting is strong as ever.

83
Entertainment Weekly

For good and bad—mostly very good—Ruminations is a vulnerable Conor Oberst cracked open, spilling his soul. Pain is its recurring theme and though Oberst comes close to wallowing in it, the gift is his ability to embrace and absorb it and make it something beautiful.

80
Slant Magazine

Ruminations is prolific singer-songwriter Conor Oberst's rawest and most earnest album in years.

80
NME

Oberst, fragile and regretful, in perfect isolation. A recipe for hallowed magic.

80
The Needle Drop
Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst benefits from going back to basics here on his latest solo album.
75
Pitchfork

Ruminations is a record like none other in Oberst’s catalog—stunning for how utterly alone he sounds.

70
Exclaim!

Ruminations isn't exactly a stunner — it's too low-key for that — but as a humble mood-piece, it's an engrossing listen.

70
Rolling Stone

Conor Oberst's seventh LP is a refreshing renewal of the anxiety-ridden intimacy that marked his earliest work with Bright Eyes nearly 20 years ago.

70
PopMatters

Dark, wandering, and at times even starkly morbid, it’s a record that avows loneliness, presents it honestly, without outright glorifying it.

67
Pretty Much Amazing

Ruminations is ultimately a lamenting, low-key record. It’s sobering but never elevates higher than just a sparse collection of gloomy acoustic songs.

67
Consequence of Sound

Ruminations is consistently good, but its greatest crime is that it never acts like it needs to be great.

60
The Skinny

Ruminations isn’t going to blow anyone away – it’s in the title – but it is a quiet addition to his substantial body of work and this thoughtful set of acoustic songs will certainly keep us warm as winter sets in.

60
NOW Magazine

The finished record is dusty, some songs sounding scraped-together, all simply arranged. The results are mixed.

60
American Songwriter

Oberst’s naked presentation and generally obtuse concepts feel genuine and are worth mulling over for a deeper understanding of his expressive and largely enticing thoughts.

60
AllMusic

It's not the prettiest or easiest of records, nor is it Oberst's finest outing to date, but it does house some real gems.

60
DIY

Stripping everything back to such a basic set-up reveals Oberst to still be one of America’s most affecting songwriters, and it’s an album that gives him room to look back on a career that’s come with ambitions much larger than those of ‘Ruminations’.

50
Loud and Quiet

Oberst’s craftsmanship is wonderful, his guitar playing typically delicate but deft, lyrics remaining unashamedly contemplative, his experience dealing with anxiety an admirable, prominent theme. Ultimately, though, a little more lively optimism is left seriously wanting.

lainvperaza
90
this record is so beautiful stripped down and honest and i love hearing conor this way.
85
4 years later and this album snuck up on me. Conor's best work in over a decade, with all the great lyricism to match. Each song has a sense of loneliness that I found so fascinating.

Or maybe I'm just a sucker for a harmonica.
Felix_96
70
7/10

good

Fav tracks: Tachycardia, Barbary Coast (Later), Gossamer Thin, Counting Sheep, Mamah Borthwick (A Sketch), A Little Uncanny, Next of Kin, Till St. Dymphna Kicks Us Out
95
Seriously heartbreaking, like someone give Conor a hug already
MagnetoJenkins
71
Hey. I like this.
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Added on: August 3, 2016