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Helplessness Blues [+digital booklet]

Helplessness Blues [+digital booklet]

May 3, 2011

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Digital Booklet: Helplessness Blues
Album Only


Product Details

  • Original Release Date: May 3, 2011
  • Release Date: May 3, 2011
  • Label: Sub Pop Records
  • Copyright: 2011 Sub Pop Records
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 49:53
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B0053426AA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (162 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,151 Paid in Albums (See Top 100 Paid in Albums)

Customer Reviews

Really liking this album.
D. Karlsson
It is a painfully beautiful collection of gorgeous songs laced together with the most timeless, haunting harmonies, lyrics and melodies to come along in decades!
Thomas Killeen IV
Defintely worth a listen as it is still just as catchy as their first album and ep.
J. Lia

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

80 of 90 people found the following review helpful By Red on Black TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 3, 2011
Format: MP3 Music
Something remarkable is going on here and its great to watch and listen. Two observations to start with, if as suggested in the music press that Fleet Foxes main man Robin Pecknold has poured his heart and soul into their second album "Helplessness blues" it has paid off and this not only equals their great debut but surpasses it. The second reflection is that New Musical Express has given this album a paltry two stars in a hideously awful review from an increasingly irrelevant music magazine. This in itself should encourage you to buy it since "Helplessness blues" is a triumphant classic and while its stays firmly within the orbit of harmony heavy folk rock of "Ragged Wood" it marks a substantial and mature progression for this Seattle band. This is particularly pronounced in terms of Pecknold's songwriting skills which take off into the stratosphere and the band produce some of the greatest soaring harmony singing this side of Simon and Garfunkel's "Bookends" and the great debut by Crosby, Stills and Nash.

Start with the brilliant title track. This song is divided into two parts firstly a introspective set of lyrics by Pecknold leads to a vocal tour de force which at 2.58 then moves into a sublime Fleet Foxes harmony workout. It is easily one of the best songs released this year but is matched on the album but equally bold contributions. "Sim Sala Bim" is delightful haunting folk song which splits into two parts with the CSN influence especially pronounced in its forceful second part. The reflective opener "Montezuma" sees Pecknold in a pensive mood questioning, "So now I am older/Than my mother and father/, When they had their daughter/Now what does that say about me" over almost warm religious style harmonies.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A. Halfstar on May 3, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It seems to me like most bands either try to change too much with their second album, and in the process lose their sound, or they just rehash the first album and reveal themselves as one-trick ponies. Fleet Foxes do neither of these things. This album is different, but not too different. Lyrically, the focus has changed from interpersonal relationships and family to introspection and society...so their moving inward and outward at the same time. These guys are all improving as musicians. This material is more complex and the performances are closer to perfect. The singing and drums are especially tight. Overall, it's what you'd expect if you've been listening to these guys for a few years, and if you've enjoyed their other stuff than you will probably like this. My only complaint is that some of the arrangements may be too complex and the soundscape becomes too saturated at times. That's not enough to keep me from giving it a 5-star rating though. Enjoy!
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Paul Allaer TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 3, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Fleet Foxes seemingly came out of nowhere in 2008 with the promising "Sun Giant" EP, followed later in the year with their self-titled album, which immediately won critical acclaim. After lots of touring and a botched attempt to record a new album (the band scrapped the first recording sessions), now finally comes the highly anticipated second album.

"Helplessness Blues" (12 tracks; 50 min.) is no radical departure from the first album, sounding ever more gorgeous, if anything. Singer-songwriter Robin Pecknold continues to explore the sounds of spaceous folk-rock, with clear influences from Simon and Garfunkel, and the intrecate vocal interplay (reminicent of, say, the Beach Boys) are even more in the forefront than on the debut album. All of of this is a good thing. The album kicks off with a gentle "Montezuma" and great tracks follow one after another. It is clear that Pecknold has thrown his heart and soul into making this album. Special mention goes to track 5, "The Plains/Bitter Dancer", which is really several songs into one track, but it works just beautiful. The title track follows, and is of course nothing "blues"-like, but in the ache that the song brings about. A short instrumental "The Gascades" is the bridge into the second half of the album. "Lorelai" is a sunny love-song. It eventually leads to track 11 "Blue Spotted Tail", just Pecknold solo on acoustic guitar, and it would be a fine album closer in my book. But it is followed by one more track "Grown Ocean", which is not bad, but somehow for me it felt like one song too many. But it's a minor quibble, to be honest. In all, this is clearly one of the best albums of the year so far.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mitchell Howard on May 5, 2011
Format: Audio CD
It's true, all the hype surrounding Fleet Foxes and this album, and it actually lives up to it. I was getting a little bored with Robin Pecknold, feited by Uncut magazine (do yourself a favour, the most relevant music mag out there)as a meister of new music, based on the two albums (1's an EP) from 2008 and I'm sure, superb live performances, but they haven't been to New Zealand. Yet!!! Three years seems a long time between drinks in the new age where everything should be instantaneous, shouldn't it? so there was I (unkindly) and cynically, thinking what's all the fuss about. Mumford and Son's happened followed by the new Decemberists album and Duke and the King and dare I say it I was thinking "Has Beens" before they'd even really started.

Well I don't mind acknowledging when I'm wrong and I guess in retrospect, that Fleet Foxes were under all sorts of pressure to live up to their billing. and build on their initial releases. They've spent a long time away from the release parade, doing tours, being ill and recording/recording/recording and the resulting album is worth it. I'm going to say its the best new album of 2011, along with J Mascis, and in fact I'm sooooo taken with it that i think its probably the best new album of the decade and very very representative of where good new, indie/alt/cosmic americana is going.

The albums sound is definitively Fleet foxes, and what they've done is create a suite of song's where every one adds to the whole, a bit like those great CSN, and CSNY early albums where it all tied together with a great lead track, followed by a cluster of very strong songs. In terms of specific highlights, well its like Fleet foxes played "Amnesiac" before every session.
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