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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

The Animal Years

Josh Ritter

2006

The Animal Years
Album Summary

This album has been submitted by a user and is not included in any edition of the book.

The Animal Years is the fourth studio album by American singer-songwriter Josh Ritter. In 2010, Ritter's band was given the name "The Royal City Band" (a reference to the song "Thin Blue Flame" from The Animal Years). Before performing "Girl in the War" at the 2006 annual dinner of the Center for American Progress in Washington D.C., Ritter stated that he intended to "write about [the United States of America], but [instead] it all came out sounding like a love song." Ritter has said that the life and work of Mark Twain were a great influence on The Animal Years, in particular Twain's books Life on the Mississippi and Letters from the Earth. When analyzed alongside Twain's biography, lyrics from multiple songs on The Animal Years seem to make textual reference to the life and times of Mark Twain. The most intriguing example may be the enigmatic song "Monster Ballads", which contains references to both the 19th-century decline of the Mississippi River steamboat at the hands of the railroad and the fictional character Huckleberry Finn. Paying homage to Twain, Josh Ritter performed in a white suit while touring to support The Animal Years. As with Ritter's previous albums, The Animal Years was praised for its lyricism and storytelling. Additionally, the use of piano throughout the album was recognized. Stephen King rated The Animal Years the best album of 2006 in an article for Entertainment Weekly.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.16

Votes

57

Genres

  • Folk
  • Rock
  • Country

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Reviews

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Mon Apr 22 2024
5

This was a great addition, I feel like some of the examples of this sound on the original list were very unique, but this was much more in the zeitgeist in my opinion.

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Sat May 11 2024
5

Brilliant. Thin blue flame 👏

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Mon Apr 22 2024
4

A little on the fence on this one. Well crafted and performed but to me dull in parts. The stronger material sustained it though.

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Mon Apr 22 2024
4

A lovely folkin' good time. Idaho is achingly beautiful.

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Sat Apr 27 2024
4

This is really, really good. I need to listen to more Josh Ritter. 4 stars.

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Wed Jun 05 2024
4

I really enjoyed this album at first, but it started to drag in the last quarter. The Americana here is a much better representation than can be found on other albums that are on the list. For example, this album far exceeds Ryan Adams' work. The music is well executed, and I enjoyed the soft electronic sounds that could be heard in the background throughout. Though I found it a bit dull in parts, I want to listen again to give it a fair chance.

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Mon Jun 10 2024
4

I was expecting the musical stylings of the late comedic actor John Ritter. Thankfully, this was certainly better.

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Sun Apr 21 2024
3

Thin Blue Flame is epic, bona fide. The rest of Animal Years's conceit is sneakier, an approach to America which works reliably from inside or out. Instruments varied and old and new work through the tapestry of the songs, never artificial but significantly less enigmatic than Ritter's word choice.

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Mon Apr 22 2024
3

A little bit boring at times

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Wed Apr 24 2024
3

Harmony, good lyrics, good rhythm...invites you to enjoy and listen to him calmly.

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Wed Apr 24 2024
3

This started out pretty good, but slowly blended into a not so distinct backdrop during my work. Not bad, but I would have to listen to this a few more times before it would potentially find more room to nest inside my brain.

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Wed Apr 24 2024
3

Although this was pleasant to listen to, it wasn't that noteworthy for a 1001 list in my opinion.

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Fri Jul 12 2024
3

A more modern take on a dinger-songwriter LP with some great guitar and surprising instrumental tricks up its sleeve. Still primarily vocal-driven, but thanks to Ritter’s solid writing there’s at least some sense of narrative intrigue that sits well on top of the meatier instrumentals.

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Sun Jul 14 2024
3

Very musical folk/Americana. A better choice than a lot of the twangy country that was on the list.

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Mon Apr 22 2024
2

I feel sorry for that horse.

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Thu Apr 25 2024
2

Some chill-singer-songwriter music. Not much of my style, but respect.

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Sat Apr 27 2024
2

More folk? Are you kidding me? Haven't we had enough folk rock already? 2/5.

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