Hadestown

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Hadestown
Studio album by Anaïs Mitchell
Released March 9, 2010 (U.S.)
Recorded Brooklyn Recording Studio, New York
Genre Folk, Indie folk
Length 57:17
Label Righteous Babe
Producer Todd Sickafoose
Anaïs Mitchell chronology
Country E.P.
(2007)
Hadestown
(2010)
Young Man in America
(2012)

Hadestown is the fourth album by Vermont-based Anaïs Mitchell, and was released by Righteous Babe Records in the U.S. on March 9, 2010. The album, a concept album, follows a variation on the Ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, where Orpheus must embark on a quest to rescue his wife Eurydice from the underworld. It has been advertised as a 'folk opera'.[1] Several of the songs feature singers other than Mitchell, including Justin Vernon (better known as lead vocalist and guitarist of Wisconsin-based band Bon Iver), Ani DiFranco, Greg Brown, and Tanya, Petra and Rachel Haden (referred to in the track listing as 'The Haden Triplets').

Production[edit]

The album features orchestral arrangements by Michael Chorney, who was involved with Anaïs' recordings since Hymns for the Exiled in 2004. The recording itself is based upon a live version of the 'folk opera' which was performed by Mitchell with the collaboration of Mr. Chorney and a theatrical director, Ben T. Matchstick. These performances originally featured a 22-person cast and, after a tour of New England, the songs began to be edited and reworked.

Within the narrative of the album, the part of Orpheus is played by Vernon, Persephone by DiFranco, Hades by Greg Brown, The Fates by Tanya, Petra and Rachel Haden, Hermes by Ben Knox Miller and Mitchell herself plays Eurydice.

While most of the recording was produced by Mr. Sickafoose at Brooklyn Recording Studio in New York, the lead vocals were often produced elsewhere in the U.S..[2]

The Grammy Award nominated packaging was designed by Brian Grunert, Peter Nevins and Anaïs Mitchell, using the artwork of Peter Nevins.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
About.com 4.5/5 stars[3]
Allmusic 4/5 stars[4]
BBC (positive)[5]
Drowned in Sound 10/10 stars[6]
The Guardian 5/5 stars[7]
NME 9/10 stars[8]
The Observer (very positive)[9]
Stereo Subversion A[10]
The Times 5/5 stars[11]
Uncut 5/5 stars[12]

Upon release, Hadestown gained extremely positive reviews overall. Drowned in Sound awarded the album a rare 10/10, stating that "Mitchell traverses such a sweeping range of emotions, genres and styles over the course of Hadestown, it’s frankly remarkable that the whole thing works at all. That it works so brilliantly well, that in under an hour it creates a world you’ll want to return to time and time again, that it is a glittering model of the form – of collaboration itself – is nothing short of awe-inspiring."[6] The Guardian and NME were similarly effusive in their praise, awarding the album 5/5 and 9/10 respectively. Stereo Subversion's Jonathan Sanders gave the album a perfect score and called it "a lasting example of where folk music can go when the right musicians take hold of history."[10] The album also tops review aggregator website AnyDecentMusic?'s all time chart with an 8.9, the highest rating for any album until Frank Ocean's Channel Orange.[12]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Wedding Song" featuring Justin Vernon – 3:18
  2. "Epic (Part I)" featuring Justin Vernon – 2:22
  3. "Way Down Hadestown" featuring Justin Vernon, Ani DiFranco and Ben Knox Miller – 3:33
  4. "Songbird Intro" – 0:24
  5. "Hey, Little Songbird" featuring Greg Brown – 3:09
  6. "Gone, I'm Gone" featuring The Haden Triplets - 1:09
  7. "When the Chips are Down" featuring The Haden Triplets - 2:14
  8. "Wait for Me" featuring Ben Knox Miller and Justin Vernon - 3:06
  9. "Why We Build the Wall" featuring Greg Brown - 4:18
  10. "Our Lady of the Underground" featuring Ani DiFranco - 4:40
  11. "Flowers (Eurydice's Song)" - 3:33
  12. "Nothing Changes" featuring The Haden Triplets - 0:52
  13. "If it's True" featuring Justin Vernon - 3:03
  14. "Papers (Hades Finds Out)" - 1:24
  15. "How Long?" featuring Ani DiFranco and Greg Brown - 3:36
  16. "Epic (Part II)" featuring Justin Vernon - 2:55
  17. "Lover's Desire" - 2:05
  18. "His Kiss, The Riot" featuring Greg Brown - 4:03
  19. "Doubt Comes In" featuring Justin Vernon - 5:32
  20. "I Raise My Cup to Him" featuring Ani DiFranco - 2:10

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (2010) Peak
position
Billboard Top Heatseekers (U.S.) 33
Billboard Top Folk Albums (U.S.) 9

References[edit]

  1. ^ Anaïs Mitchell, Weinland Creative (2010-03-09). "Anaïs Mitchell Website". Retrieved 2010-05-03. 
  2. ^ music allies (2010-03-09). "Anaïs Mitchell Press Release". Retrieved 2010-05-03. 
  3. ^ "Anais Mitchell Hadestown - CD Review of Anais Mitchell Hadestown". Folkmusic.about.com. Retrieved 2012-02-20. 
  4. ^ Jurek, Thom (2010-03-09). "(((Hadestown > Overview)))". allmusic. Retrieved 2010-05-03. 
  5. ^ "Music - Review of Anaïs Mitchell - Hadestown". BBC. Retrieved 2012-02-20. 
  6. ^ a b Skinner, James (2010-04-23). "Anaïs Mitchell - Hadestown/Releases/Releases//Drowned in Sound". Retrieved 2010-05-03. 
  7. ^ Hann, Michael (2010-04-22). "Hadestown CD Review". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-05-03. 
  8. ^ Snapes, Laura (2010-04-26). "Anais Mitchell: Album Review". New Musical Express. Retrieved 2010-05-03. 
  9. ^ Spencer, Neil (2010-04-25). "Anais Mitchell: Hadestown". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-05-03. 
  10. ^ a b Sanders, Jonathan (2010-03-31). "Anaïs Mitchell – Hadestown (review)". Stereo Subversion. Retrieved 2013-07-14. 
  11. ^ Cairns, Dan (2010-04-25). "Anais Mitchell Hadestown". The Times (London). 
  12. ^ a b "Hadestown by Anaïs Mitchell reviews". Any Decent Music. Retrieved 2012-02-20.