Dark Matter
Randy Newman - Dark Matter
Critic Score
Based on 15 reviews
2017 Ratings: #206 / 711
User Score
Based on 24 ratings
August 4, 2017 / Release Date
LP / Format
Nonesuch / Label
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A.V. Club
It’s never been Newman’s style to take it easy, but those willing to settle into his funny, subversive, and touching musical worldview will be glad they—and he—made the effort.

It’s a long way from his turns as go-to Disney film composer, but on Dark Matter, Newman’s versatility, as ever, transcends pigeonholing and illuminates the smart aleck-y nature (with the emphasis on smart) of one of the world’s great songwriters once again.

The Independent

Randy Newman is most often celebrated for his devious political commentaries, often voiced through characters of questionable virtue or reliability. And while there are plenty further examples on the bitterly disillusioned Dark Matter, the most effective songs here are those which pack a more personal and emotional punch.

The Guardian
He remains the master of creating ribald, flawed characters, but also the powerful, poignant weepie.

Newman has become a more ambitious songwriter than he was in his younger days; there's a scope to his storytelling that's bigger but just as satisfying as his '70s milestones, and years of writing and arranging for an orchestra have taught him how to use the tonal colors of a large ensemble to his advantage without drowning out the nuances.

Slant Magazine

Dark Matter feels like an album that only a 73-year-old Newman could have made, and not just because it deepens and diversifies his usual cantankerousness with hard-won empathy. The album also boasts some of his most sophisticated writing tricks yet.

He has lost little of his bite and none of his humor.
Rolling Stone

Just as 2008's excellent Harps and Angels served as a sardonic send-off to the Bush era, Dark Matter greets #MAGA America with his signature brutal comic irony and heartbreaking grandeur.

Drowned in Sound

Newman is easily distracted and that can make Dark Matter a confusing listen at points, but when he gets it right, you’re reminded of what a singular talent he is.


Newman has composed some beautifully orchestrated pop that harkens further back to Cole Porter and Tin Pan Alley. Lyrically, Newman continues to play games that amuse him, but the logical and narrative backflips might be too much this time.

Jun 12, 2018
This is a masterpeice. The truly brilliant singer-songwriting outdoes himself with some of the most intelligent and legitimately funny satire in music.
Sep 12, 2017
It was fun, quirky, and heartfelt all at the same time, especially successful with soft dynamics and small textures that brought out a great harmonic language, even if song structures and overall organization seemed a bit too loose. My Score: 134/180 (Solid) = 74/100
Aug 28, 2017
a trip for the 70s with a legendary singer <3
Aug 18, 2017
Dark Matter proves that we don’t longer listen to Randy Newman searching looking for good music, but solely for witty lyrics. And occasionally for a wonderful soundtrack. However, despite great stories, amusing wit, and undisputable charm, it lacks the overall magnificence of its predecessor.

I was waiting on the edge of my seat for the first album by legendary American singer-songwriter since his marvelous Harps and Angels (2008), but all I found was the same old scheme and over-the-top ... read more
Jul 27, 2017
The Great Debate - 10/10
Brothers - 8/10
Putin - 8/10
Lost Without You - 10/10
Sonny Boy - 9/10
It's a Jungle out There - 10/10
She Chose Me - 10/10
On the Beach - 8/10
Wandering Boy - 9/10

Overall Rating: 82 out of 90 = 91%

Overall Opinion: Randy, as always, delivers a solid set of wordy, story time brilliance. The album begins extremely political and began to wear me out almost immediately as it's pounded awful hard. And then something magical happens...like he knew the entire album ... read more
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Track List
  1. The Great Debate
  2. Brothers
  3. Putin
  4. Lost Without You
  5. Sonny Boy
  6. It's a Jungle out There
  7. She Chose Me
  8. On the Beach
  9. Wandering Boy
Contributions By
thisisabtlgrnd, patton, royalflush

Added on: May 25, 2017