Mean Everything to Nothing was warmly received by critics. It currently holds an aggregated score of 70 on Metacritic, indicating "generally favourable reviews" based on 14 professional reviews and 8.2/10 based on 9 user votes.
Alternative Press reviewer Tim Karan awarded a maximum score of 5/5 and heaped praise on the album. He stated, "With 'Nothing, Manchester Orchestra have created what will ineveitably be regarded as one of the landmark releases of 2009, and more noticeable they've exceeded the hype that's surrounded them for nearly three years". Jason Tate, founder of AbsolutePunk.net scored the album at 93%. He opened his review with the line, "Quick note to the rest of the albums coming out this year: The bar has just been set". He praised the album as "classic" and went on to add, "Between the crashing sounds, the subtle whispers, the vocal chants, and the emotional reaction – we have the makings of a classic. We have an album that clearly bridges the gap between mainstream and underground".IGN praised the album as "outstanding" and gave a score of 9.0/10. Reviewer, Brian Linder wrote, "Mean Everything to Nothing is an incredibly dynamic rock trip that will have you rapt from start to finish. And while Hull's lyrical inclination is to leave us with more questions than answers, the one thing that's certain is that this band is about to blow up". Chris Willman of Paste Magazine also lauded the album. Awarding a score of 91%, he commented that, "The young band has learned a great secret: It’s possible to make a massive, commercial, go-for-the-gusto Rock Record while still holding on to dark idiosyncrasies and seriousness of purpose".Sputnikmusic's Matt Wolfe gave a 4/5 rating. Although he said the album was just short of being "classic indie rock", he summarised, "Mean Everything to Nothing is an excellent record, but no better or worse than its predecessor. It’s just different".Punknews were also largely favourable in their review, rating the album at 4/5. They described the album as "Confoundingly consistent and vividly varied, Mean Everything to Nothing easily surpasses Manchester's previous output and provides a stark album of contrasting moods, layered fervor and modestly orchestral flow". They also commended Andy Hull for his maturing songwriting. "It remains an exciting and considerably accomplished effort. This only being the sophomore try and Hull barely drinking age, it's a little unnerving to think what they could even conceive later on".Rockfeedback journalist Liane Escorza described the album as one, "to play loud and proud, classically melding extreme textures across its dynamics, lyrics and melodies." She awarded 4 stars out of 5 and added, "Mean Everything To Nothing is a true work of bravery". Other positive reviews included Britishpublications, Kerrang! and NME, who awarded scores of 4/5 and 7/10 respectively. Some reviews were less favourable, particularly Pitchfork Media. Scoring the album at 5.2, Eric Harvey gave a mixed review. Both praising and criticizing Hull's lyrical themes. "For a kid barely able to legally drink, Hull's got the exhaustion of middle age. And that's the thing that both defines Manchester Orchestra at this point, as well as what stops them from being great. When they're satisfied with rocking the fuck out, they do it exceedingly well, but when they try to acquire the adult answers, they'd do well to chill out and enjoy being young".Q Magazine were also more critical, awarding 2 stars out of 5. They bemoaned, "Their second album is suitably heavy on post-adolescent angst but, for all frontman Andy Hull's best efforts, singularly lacking its own voice.
Fourteen Years Of Excellence is the fourth EP released by the band Manchester Orchestra, available on April 18, 2009 at select indie record stores as an exclusive release for Record Store Day. The limited edition EP came free with a purchase of Mean Everything To Nothing. Tracks 1 and 3 were done with Joe Chiccarelli while tracking Mean Everything To Nothing. Track 2 was done by Matt Mallpass and track 4 by Robert Mcdowell.