AOTY 2021
Fleet Foxes - Crack-Up
Critic Score
Based on 37 reviews
2017 Ratings: #65 / 898
Year End Rank: #28
User Score
Based on 978 ratings
2017 Ratings: #28
Liked by 51 people
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The band has proven that neither their self-titled debut nor Helplessness Blues represent their ceiling.

Pretty Much Amazing
Hot take: their third record is their best, a meandering, wild, untamable masterpiece from a front man who refuses to stop studying and refuses to be predictable.
The Young Folks

Pecknold and the Fleet Foxes made sure that a project like this was done to perfection.  Quietly, they are still innovating.  Everything about this record is dense and debatable.

Drowned in Sound

Crack-Up is perhaps Fleet Foxes' most epic and inventive record yet.


With Crack-Up's earnest explorations of the human condition and evocative, progressive composition, Fleet Foxes maintain their status as one of the best folk rock bands of the 21st century.

The 405

More charming than ever before, Fleet Foxes' return with Crack-Up is a major step for the band, contriving a brand new era of divine melodies and break through compositions.


Crack-Up joins the ranks of albums like Homogenic, OK Computer and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot—works by eclectic, established artists who decided to push boundaries even further and subsequently produced masterpieces.


Put aside the inclination to strip it for singles, and Crack-Up’s generosity can feel bottomless. Rather than a show of contempt for the confines and craft of a three-minute pop song, Crack-Up is one of trust, applying its harmonic and textural gifts with the same free-flowing intuition as Joanna Newsom’s Ys or Grizzly Bear’s Yellow House.

‘Crack-Up’ is a work of too much depth to simply be declared the best – or otherwise – of their work, this early into its release upon the world, but it is blindingly clear that not only is ‘Crack-Up’ an album that stands as distinct as any of its predecessors but also sits comfortably in their brief but refined discography.
Under The Radar

That the album sounds like no one else is a high compliment—no one else comes close to touching Fleet Foxes in this type of music, and the moments the band creates on Crack-Up are some of the finest you'll find on any record this year.

Consequence of Sound

Challenging throughout and at times jarring and inscrutable, Crack-Up searches for a resolution just out of reach.

Entertainment Weekly

At eleven songs and nearly an hour long, the band’s latest work is both their most challenging and their most rewarding.


Fleet Foxes’ third album, Crack-Up, is at once sumptuous and ambitious, a serpentine journey from the center of harmony-drenched folk-pop out to the edge of Pecknold’s brain and back. It is lovely, strange and generous, and ultimately a very welcome return for the Seattle band.

Some may be unconvinced by the ambitious leap Fleet Foxes have made on album three, but there’s really no doubting the first-rate intelligence behind this uncompromising and ever-changing piece of work.
The Independent

Throughout this intensely poetic, introspective album, currents of guilt, regret and resolution battle in quiet turbulence, the group’s trademark harmonies and acoustic folk settings augmented with additional sonic strata.

For Fleet Foxes, it represents a shift away from their more idyllic early days into a period of artistic growth and sophistication.

What this album actually is, is the Fleet Foxes we already know but on a much, much bigger scale – and that’s all it needs to be.

The Line of Best Fit

Apply a bit of patience ... and this challenging, expectation-defying, flawed but ultimately rewarding record is likely to prove worth the effort.

The Needle Drop

Fleet Foxes triumphantly emerge from hiatus with their most progressive effort yet.

The Observer

These 11 tracks are immersive, shifting creations, retaining the heavenly signature harmonies of FF’s previous work, while further expanding the band’s sound.

Northern Transmissions
With the album’s long duration and its penchant to wriggle from withdrawn to full-blooded, ‘Crack-Up’ loses some momentum by its eventual finale plus it can become a little predictable in its unpredictability – in that the record has those two settings – near silence and rampant folk. Although, ‘Crack-Up’ is an ambiguous record that will constantly reveal multiple surprises on repeated visits.
Loud and Quiet
Fleet Foxes’ distinctive, highly recognisable style remains on ‘Crack-Up’, but is sometimes deliberately fractured and broken up into a jarring, disjointed soundscape.
Slant Magazine

By otherwise masterfully navigating between dark and light, quiet and loud, sparse and lush, Crack-Up takes contrasting musical ideas and textures and makes them functional, if not transcendent. Ultimately, though, the album fails to shed much light on the mind of an artist more preoccupied with shrouding his songs in crashing waves, shadow, and smoke.

Rolling Stone
Their sound is still rooted in the lush, beardly harmonies and sky-bound strumming that made their first two LPs coffee-shop staples. But they've upped their prog ambitions – tracks wash together, song titles abound with opaque punctuation, and the sweeping melodies often wander into moody places, away from the safety of the campfire.

Despite the record's nebulous nature, there are are still a few great individual tracks that stand up on their own.

No Ripcord

This is – as many expected it would be – hugely accomplished in its composition, and while it’s not short of irritating periods of pretension, it’s par for the course when beauty, indulgence and complexity are key ingredients in the melting pot.


Crack-Up is a solid return after a long time off for Fleet Foxes, even if some of its loudest moments are overthought and confused. But those moments, though distracting, don’t totally blot out the finest songs here.

The Guardian
It is alternately beautiful, intriguing and quite irritating, as bands turning inward and indulgent are wont to be.

It’s a bizarre sensation: listening to something that’s clearly had a lot of time, love and attention poured into it, something obviously impressive in scale and ambition, made by artists admirably trying to push their sound forward – and it leaving you completely unmoved.

A.V. Club

The majority of the record is uniformly vanilla, too overwhelmed by lush strings and pastoral pleasantness to deliver a decent hook. It’s stunning in its orchestration, yet it fails to leave much of a mark beyond that overall prettiness.

𝑰 𝒂𝒕𝒕𝒓𝒊𝒃𝒖𝒕𝒆 𝒂 𝒃𝒊𝒕𝒕𝒆𝒓𝒔𝒘𝒆𝒆𝒕 𝒇𝒆𝒆𝒍𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒔𝒐 𝒖𝒏𝒔𝒆𝒆𝒏, 𝒂𝒔 𝒊𝒇 𝒊𝒏 𝒂 𝒅𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒎.

"Crack-Up" is, by far, the most difficult album I've ever listened to. For whatever reason, upon more than 10 listens, I still couldn't even wrap my head around this record's complexities. Maybe there's a reason that I've avoided this for so long. Fleet Foxes are not a new name ... read more
This website almost made me forget what it was like to enjoy music tbh. Just briefly checking in on yall, not staying
Out of all the Fleet Foxes albums I’ve heard, I guess I would say this is their most adventurous so far, which sometimes does and doesn’t work for this album. I still liked this album a lot, and it still has some very high qualities to it, but I kinda wasn’t clicking with some of the songs here, don’t get me wrong, there’s quite a lot of songs I liked here, but felt their weakest (or at least to me, I know there’s a bunch of other people who love this album) ... read more
I’m going to start off this review by quoting fellow user @amygoodall in her succinct AOTY review of ‘The Velvet Underground & Nico’, as Fleet-Foxes’ ‘Crack-Up’ is one of the albums I can personally say this for: “do you want to be vividly reminded of how much you love music? revisit this”. Previous score – 92.

Crack-Up is not a perfect album, but the highs on it succeed in making me feel more at peace than any other auditory ... read more
Fleet Foxes' Crack-Up is a spoon of delicacy. Every song here could be a soundtrack for a fantastic horse race-based movie, winning many awards solely through its sheer will to exist. Throw this on while you are playing with your kids for the first time, and you might actually start to love them. I sent my grandma the zip file for this album, she replied "good looks fam". Last week I wondered whether or not we needed another Fleet Foxes album- I'm not mad, just sad. Really sad. ... read more
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Added on: March 7, 2017