Conor Oberst - Salutations
Critic Score
Based on 18 reviews
2017 Ratings: #336 / 719
User Score
Based on 47 ratings
2017 Ratings: #345
March 17, 2017 / Release Date
LP / Format
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The Independent

The result is probably the best work of the singer’s career, a wide-ranging survey of contemporary shortcomings in which the frequent bursts of offhand spite and bitterness are perfectly balanced by the warmth of the folk-rock arrangements.


Salutations expands Oberst’s raw scratch solo Ruminations’ 10 songs into a messier, more glorious celebration of squalor and self-indulgence with a self-loathing chaser.

Drowned in Sound

It’s the sound of a gifted songwriter comfortable with his craft and in his own skin, offering glinting new facets to earlier sounds and the songs present on Ruminations, and it makes for a subtle, yet striking departure from everything that came before.


“Salutations” is an exposition on life, love and how cruel and painful it is to live and die in the world today.


With a total of 17 songs and a runtime of over an hour, Salutations is Oberst's most ambitious album since his 2002 Bright Eyes masterpiece Lifted, and the best instalment in his solo discography.


He's no longer a busker preaching the truth only he knows. He's no longer so confident -- he gains confidence through collaboration -- and the result is rich and resonant, a testament to the power of communal music over solo soul-baring.


Releasing two similar albums in such close proximity might seem like a cynical attempt to double-down on the success of the first, but rather than feel like a re-release thrown together by label execs, these were the tracks as they should be; rich, nuanced, and steeped in major key melodies.

Consequence of Sound

If nothing else, Salutations is a fascinating look at the changes that come from collaboration and evolution in a studio setting versus the isolation in which these songs were born.

Under The Radar

His country-tinged folk-rock has been honed over the years with only subtle alterations. Salutations has him again plowing his well-trodden furrow, working through topics from death to politics, the grind of life, and love.

The 405

Salutations is good, but it is apparent it could have been better. Rather than swing for the fences, Conor and crew settled for a base hit that didn’t move any runners on base.

The Line of Best Fit

Ruminations is essential, then; consider Salutations its eccentric cousin, often engaging and occasionally difficult.

Loud and Quiet

At seventeen tracks, this is an album which doesn’t carry quite enough weight to justify its length. But it’s typically high-bar Oberst fayre; Sunday night music, music which requires a quiet context, and a reflective mood.

Northern Transmissions

Where Conor Oberst’s latest solo record hits hardest is in the rare moments he manages to craft joy along with sadness, making listeners feel the full weight of both ends of the spectrum.


For Salutations, Conor Oberst rearranged songs from 2016’s Ruminations with a full band and shuffled, expanded tracklist. It’s one of his most demanding albums, and also one of his least ambitious.

Slant Magazine

Salutations abandons the potent vulnerability found on the sparer versions of many of these songs, and muddies its tone with the uneven newer ones. In doing so, the album underscores how Oberst's labored intentions weigh down the raw instincts that made Ruminations soar.

#5 Next of Kin
#6 Napalm
#10 Tachycardia
#14 Rain Follows the Plow
Better stuff out there
Too Late to Fixate - 8/10
Gossamer Thin - 9/10
Overdue - 6/10
Afterthought - 8/10
Next of Kin - 8/10
Napalm - 10/10
Mamah Borthwick (A Sketch) 7/10
Till St. Dymphna Kicks Us Out - 7/10
Barbary Coast (Later) - 9/10
Tachycardia - 10/10
Empty Hotel by the Sea - 8/10
Anytime Soon - 7/10
Counting Sheep - 8/10
Rain Follows the Plow - 9/10
You All Loved Him Once - 8/10
A Little Uncanny - 10/10
Salutations - 8/10

Overall Rating: 140 out of 170 = 82%
The existence of this album is a little bit strange given how well the stripped-down Ruminations arrangements worked, making Salutations a little bit less than the sum of its parts. The new songs, however, are still well-written additions to the Oberst songbook, showcasing him at his wittiest and most melodic. Several of the older tunes benefit from the full-band arrangement as well, but I think I enjoy this album most by looking at it as a new Oberst EP of seven songs.
"Ruminations" is expanded and interwoven with new material. Unfortunately, many of the highlights are from "Ruminations", and the few good new additions don't make up for the majority that fall flat.

Notable Songs: "Too Late to Fixate"; "Next of Kin"; "Napalm"; "Mamah Borthwick (A Sketch)"; "Barbary Coast (Later)"; "Tachycardia"; "You All Loved Him Once"; "A Little Uncanny"
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Track List

  1. Too Late to Fixate
  2. Gossamer Thin
  3. Overdue
  4. Afterthought
  5. Next of Kin
  6. Napalm
  7. Mamah Borthwick (A Sketch)
  8. Till St. Dymphna Kicks Us Out
  9. Barbary Coast (Later)
  10. Tachycardia
  11. Empty Hotel by the Sea
  12. Anytime Soon
  13. Counting Sheep
  14. Rain Follows the Plow
  15. You All Loved Him Once
  16. A Little Uncanny
  17. Salutations
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Added on: January 18, 2017