Heaven (The Walkmen album)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Heaven
Studio album by The Walkmen
Released May 29, 2012 (2012-05-29)
Recorded November 2011 to March 2012
Genre Indie rock, Post-punk revival
Length 47:07
Label Fat Possum Records
Bella Union
Producer Phil Ek
The Walkmen chronology
Lisbon
(2010)
Heaven
(2012)

Heaven is the seventh studio album by American indie rock band The Walkmen, released on May 29, 2012 on Fat Possum Records and Bella Union.

Recording[edit]

Heaven was recorded between November 2011 to March 2012 in Seattle and in the woods of Washington.[1][2][3][4] The album was produced by Phil Ek and featured contributions from Fleet Foxes' Robin Pecknold and Morgan Henderson and Cocteau Twins' Simon Raymonde.[3][5] The band wanted to work with Phil Ek because of his work on Helplessness Blues.[3] Hamilton Leithauser described the recording process for Heaven as the band's easiest one yet.[6] Like with other more recent Walkmen albums, guitarist Paul Maroon wrote song outlines for the rest of the band to fill in the parts and lyrics.[7]

Hamilton Leithauser described Heaven as "lush-sounding" and "big and optimistic and fun and grand." The album's title was meant to reflect those vibes.[6] Frank Sinatra heavily influenced the singing on the album.[4]

Release[edit]

The album was originally going to be released on June 5, 2012, but the released date was pushed forward to May 30, 2012.[8] The first single released from Heaven, "Heaven," was released on April 16, 2012.[9] A second song from the album, "Heartbreaker," was released on April 18, 2012.[10] A third track from the album, "We Can't Be Beat," was released on May 8, 2012.[11] On May 20, 2012, the album was streamed in its entirety on NPR Music.[12]

On May 30, 2012, a music video for the track "Heaven" was released. The music video, directed by Alex Southam and produced by Pitchfork.tv, consisted of archival footage and photographs of the band.[13]

The album's titular track was used during the final minutes of How I Met Your Mother's series finale, "Last Forever".

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[14]
The A.V. Club (A-)[15]
BBC Music (positive)[16]
Consequence of Sound 4/5 stars[17]
Paste (8.4/10)[18]
Pitchfork Media (8.1/10)[19]
Popmatters (7/10)[20]
Under the Radar (7/10)[21]

Heaven was released to critical acclaim.[22]

Allmusic's Heather Phares gave the album a positive review, writing "[..] [E]ven if it's not the band's most cohesive work, Heaven comes across as a more or less triumphant culmination of the Walkmen's first decade, and the fact that happiness fits the band better than anyone could have expected is just a welcome bonus."[14] In another positive review, Sarah McCarty of Paste wrote that while the later tracks were weaker, "Heaven is a testament to The Walkmen’s triumph. After a decade, disappointment no longer possesses the power to defeat them. The Walkmen survive. They can’t be beat."[18] The A.V. Club's Steven Hyden, referring to how all the band members were fathers, wrote "Heaven is a dad-rock record in a different, truer sense. It’s an album of big adult themes: the weight of responsibility, the realization that romantic infatuation is fleeting and probably bullshit, the power of fidelity and loyalty to outlast momentary sensation and passion." Hyden concluded: "After 10 years and seven albums, Heaven finds The Walkmen in a better place."[15]

While still giving a positive review, Popmatters' Matthew Fiander criticized Heaven for being "[..] a bit too schmaltzy," writing You can’t fault Leithauser for singing so sweetly to his daughter on 'Song for Leigh' or to his best friend on 'Heaven', but the declarations of those songs feel insular, only for that one person, and the rest of us are left to merely listen in."[20] Ben Schumer of Under the Radar also criticized the album in an otherwise positive review, writing "After 10 years together, a band typically grows more polished and mature, but it's difficult not to feel that something essential and elemental to The Walkmen's aesthetic is missing from most of Heaven-that palpable sense of urgency on display throughout their catalogue is on display far too little."[21]

The album was listed 8th on Stereogum's list of top 50 albums of 2012.[23]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by The Walkmen.[14]

  1. "We Can't Be Beat" – 4:43
  2. "Love Is Luck" – 3:26
  3. "Heartbreaker" – 3:15
  4. "The Witch" – 3:33
  5. "Southern Heart" – 3:01
  6. "Line by Line" – 5:05
  7. "Song for Leigh" – 3:38
  8. "Nightingales" – 4:03
  9. "Jerry Jr.'s Tune" – 1:33
  10. "The Love You Love" – 3:07
  11. "Heaven" – 4:26
  12. "No One Ever Sleeps" – 2:42
  13. "Dreamboat" – 4:35

Personnel[edit]

The following people contributed to Heaven:[24]

The Walkmen[edit]

Additional musicians[edit]

  • Robin Pecknold - backing vocals (1, 9, 12 and 13)
  • Morgan Henderson - additional percussion (11)
  • Victoria Parker - strings (3 and 6)
  • Jen Kozel - strings (3 and 6)
  • Erika Pierson - strings (3 and 6)
  • Jenn Glenn - strings (3 and 6)

Recording personnel[edit]

  • Greg Calbi - Mastering
  • Phil Ek - Engineer, Mixing, Producer
  • Jonathan Eshak - Management
  • Arno Frugier - Photography
  • Morgan Henderson - Percussion
  • Steve Huyne - Make-Up
  • Jen Kozel - Strings
  • Tamara McNaughton - Hair Stylist
  • Cameron Nicklaus - Assistant Engineer
  • Victoria Parker - Strings
  • Elizabeth Spiridakis - Design
  • Jerry Streeter - Assistant Engineer

Charts[edit]

Chart (2012) Peak
position
US Billboard 200[25] 30
US Rock Albums[25] 15
US Independent Albums[25] 8
US Alternative Albums[25] 9

References[edit]

  1. ^ Battan, Carrie. The Walkmen at Work on New Album. Pitchfork Media. 7 November 2011. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  2. ^ Pelly, Jean. The Walkmen Complete New Album, Celebrate by Posting Silly U2 Covers Medley. Pitchfork Media. 8 March 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  3. ^ a b c Comaratta, Len. Interview: Pete Bauer (of The Walkmen). Consequence of Sound. 24 May 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  4. ^ a b Murnick, Carolyn. The Walkmen’s Front Man on His New Album, Working in the Woods, and Frank Sinatra’s Influence. Vulture.com. 30 May 2012. Retrieved 1 June 2012.
  5. ^ Pelly, Jenn. The Walkmen Announce New Album. Pitchfork Media. 29 March 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  6. ^ a b Fitzmaurice, Larry. Listen: New Walkmen: "Heaven". Pitchfork Media. 16 April 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  7. ^ Wright, Mic. Interview: The Walkmen. musicOMH. Retrieved 1 June 2012.
  8. ^ Battan, Carrie. The Walkmen's Heaven Gets New Release Date. Pitchfork Media. 25 April 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  9. ^ The Walkmen – “Heaven”. Stereogum. 16 April 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  10. ^ The Walkmen – “Heartbreaker”. Stereogum. 18 April 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  11. ^ The Walkmen – “We Can’t Be Beat”. Stereogum. 8 May 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  12. ^ Thompson, Stephen. First Listen: The Walkmen, 'Heaven'. NPR Music. 20 May 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  13. ^ Minsker, Evan. Video: The Walkmen: "Heaven". Pitchfork Media. 30 May 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  14. ^ a b c Phares, Heather. Heaven - The Walkmen. Allmusic. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  15. ^ a b Hyden, Steven (29 May 2012). "The Walkmen: Heaven". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  16. ^ Beanland, Chris (29 May 2012). "The Walkmen Heaven Review". BBC Music. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  17. ^ Brown, Harley. Album Review: The Walkmen – Heaven. Consequence of Sound. 1 June 2012. Retrieved 1 June 2012.
  18. ^ a b McCarty, Sarah (29 May 2012). "The Walkmen: Heaven". Paste (Magazine). Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  19. ^ Greene, Jayson (25 May 2012). "The Walkmen: Heaven". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  20. ^ a b Fiander, Matthew (29 May 2012). "The Walkmen: Heaven". Popmatters. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  21. ^ a b Schumer, Ben (29 May 2012). "The Walkmen: Heaven". Under the Radar. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  22. ^ Critic Reviews for Heaven. Metacritic. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  23. ^ http://stereogum.com/1210661/stereogums-top-50-albums-of-2012/franchises/listomania/
  24. ^ Heaven - The Walkmen: Credits. Allmusic. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  25. ^ a b c d "Heaven - The Walkmen". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 9 June 2012. 

External links[edit]