Not Even Happiness

Julie Byrne - Not Even Happiness
Critic Score
Based on 21 reviews
2017 Ratings: #162 / 911
User Score
Based on 334 ratings
2017 Ratings: #196
Liked by 1 person
January 27, 2017 / Release Date
LP / Format
Ba Da Bing! / Label
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Consequence of Sound

There’s something to be said for the potential for personal growth inherent in traveling without a destination, and every song here is the sound of Julie Byrne making peace with her restlessness.

The 405
Whereas she once allowed the listener to seek out their own space within her songs, this music feels confidently, deliberately, hers.

Singer-songwriter Julie Byrne’s new album has the lucidity and tactility of a healing crystal. Not unlike Phil Elverum, she paints sublime, awestruck moments when simple things become overwhelming.

Pretty Much Amazing

The result is a record that’s concerned about faith, death, and the metaphysical. It’s heady stuff but grounded with vignettes of everyday activities—a beautiful, comforting second work from the singer.

The Line of Best Fit

Listening to Not Even Happiness is like being wrapped up in blanket as a child; it gives you comfort and more than a little reassurance, whatever the future may have in store.

Loud and Quiet
Its gentle, melting quality is restorative — from the soft folkish melodies of the opening track ‘Follow my Voice,’ to the soothing ocean sounds of ‘The Sea as it Glides’, this is music that offers an antidote to the contemporary collective madness.
When it’s only January but you’re already convinced you’re listening to one of the finest albums of the year, then it’s highly possible you’ve heard something very special indeed.
The Guardian
This second album might not hang together were it not for the fact Byrne herself appears immersed within the worlds she sings about – there’s something pleasingly organic about the way she almost seems to exhale the melodies.
It’s a record wrapped in tenderness, gentle acoustic guitar and Julie’s comfortingly warm voice forming its foundations.

Not Even Happiness is a triumph of subtlety, proof that music doesn't have to be forceful to be powerful.


On each and every song, her performance exhibits a natural and believable energy that keeps things alluring even during its quietest moments. It’s that feeling -- like she’s baring her soul with each tender retrospection -- that makes Not Even Happiness feel like such a forbidden pleasure to the listener. Each time you listen to it, you feel like you’re gaining a little piece of rare knowledge from the singer’s weathered and experienced life.

Under The Radar

Beyond the hushed sounds of the record, Byrne, for the most part, is not timid but in possession of a rich confidence.


Second proper album from rootless songwriter Julie Byrne rejects the idea of the great outdoors as a limitless confession booth, and makes it into a legitimate source of desire.

Drowned in Sound
The time taken to create this album was well invested; every aspect is carefully considered, from the running order to the lyrics to the delicate instrumental detail you find flecked throughout.
No Ripcord

The decidedly naturalistic Not Even Happiness may imply that Byrne is simply catering to her own desires, but in doing so, she’s actually inviting us to witness her growth as both an artist and an individual.


Here, she reestablishes what has been her trademark: delicate, dreamy folk governed by a quiet melancholia.


I would take a long time to listen to this album and it turned out to be a better album than any that I heard in 2016.

Tracks 10/10 is a natural blue, melting grid, follow my voice, sea as it glides.

This album is the essence of what I love about music - dreamy, full of space and guitar + keys.

I told you it would be a typical 8.3 to Pitchfork, but for me it 9.0


A considerably beautiful album with its fair share of well written folk songs that rely basically on Julie Byrne's confident and mature songwriting skills and charming voice, backed up by some really sparse and atmospheric instrumentals here and there. While the lyrics offer ocasional glimpses of powerful accuracy, the album as a whole doesn't neccessarily follow that overall level of artistry with its insistently spare structure, and things get a bit one-sided quite soon. There are some worthy ... read more


+ Charming
+ Pretty well written
+ Good duration and track's number

- The songs sound too much identical ...
- ... And sometimes like a generic folk album
- Boring after several listening

I really tend to prefer "Memories are now" by Jesca Hoop and EP "Tender Warriors Club" by Lady Lamb the Beekeeper.


Not for every moment of the day, but perfect for those times where even pop music feels like work. Julie Byrne turns my heart into butter. It is comfortable and spacious folk music that feels natural and open. Julie Byrne makes buttery fucking music.


Lovely songwriting and a beautiful voice to match

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Track List

  1. Follow My Voice
  2. Sleepwalker
  3. Melting Grid
  4. Natural Blue
  5. Interlude
  6. Morning Dove
  7. All the Land Glimmered
  8. Sea as It Glides
  9. I Live Now as a Singer
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Added on: November 15, 2016