Black Sheep Boy

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Black Sheep Boy
Jag80hires.jpg
Studio album by Okkervil River
Released April 5, 2005
Recorded 2005
Studio Brian Beattie's Wonder Chamber, Austin, Texas
Genre Indie rock, folk rock
Length 47:18
Label Jagjaguwar
Producer Okkervil River
Okkervil River chronology
Sleep and Wake-Up Songs
(2004)
Black Sheep Boy
(2005)
Black Sheep Boy Appendix
(2005)

Black Sheep Boy is the third studio album by American indie rock band Okkervil River, released on April 5, 2005. The title is inspired by the song "Black Sheep Boy" by 1960s folk singer Tim Hardin. The album deals with Hardin's struggle with heroin addiction and Okkervil River lead singer Will Sheff's failed relationships and heartbreaks. The album cover features the work of Providence artist William Schaff.

Background[edit]

Most of the songs for the record were written in February 2004 in Bloomington, Indiana by Will Sheff. Sheff describes the album's theme in a 2005 interview:

"The Black Sheep Boy is a fantastical character that crops up here and there on the album. In the lyrics pretty much anything in quotes is the voice of the Black Sheep Boy. I think a lot of the dirtier, rougher, more obtuse songs are the product of the Black Sheep Boy."[1]

The writing of the album took place during a difficult time for the band. The relative lack of commercial success of their previous albums meant that the band's future was in doubt and Sheff was rendered homeless in order to make ends meet and afford the costs related to the band's committments. [2]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 86/100[3]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[4]
Alternative Press 5/5[5]
Clash 8/10[6]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[7]
Mojo 4/5 stars[8]
Pitchfork Media 8.5/10[9]
PopMatters 9/10[10]
Q 4/5 stars[11]
Slant Magazine 4/5 stars[12]
Uncut 3/5 stars[13]

Black Sheep Boy has received general acclaim. On the review aggregate site Metacritic, the album has a score of 86 out of 100, indicating "universal acclaim."[3]

The album was ranked number 22 on Amazon.com's Top 50 Albums of 2005 list.[14] The music online magazine Pitchfork Media placed Black Sheep Boy at number 174 on their list of top 200 albums of the 2000s.[15]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Black Sheep Boy"   Tim Hardin 1:18
2. "For Real"   Will Sheff 4:42
3. "In a Radio Song"   Will Sheff 5:39
4. "Black"   Will Sheff 4:39
5. "Get Big"   Will Sheff 3:55
6. "A King and a Queen"   Will Sheff 3:22
7. "A Stone"   Will Sheff 5:23
8. "The Latest Toughs"   Will Sheff 3:11
9. "Song of Our So-Called Friend"   Will Sheff 3:23
10. "So Come Back, I Am Waiting"   Will Sheff 8:03
11. "A Glow"   Will Sheff 3:43

Musicians[edit]

  • Will Sheff – vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, Wurlitzer
  • Howard Draper – lap steel, pump organ, mandolin, bass, synthesizer
  • Jonathan Meiburg – vocals, piano, Wurlitzer, pump organ, Casio SK-1, electric guitar
  • Travis Nelsen – vocals, drums, tambourine
  • Zachary Thomas – vocals, bass, mandolin
  • Seth Warren – electronics, drums, vibraphone, whirlies, shaker
  • Amy Annelle – harmony vocals
  • Brian Beattie – bowed bass, sampler, field recordings
  • Rebecca Browne – violin
  • Alison Derrick – viola
  • Michael Kapinus – trumpet
  • Caroline Slack – violin
  • Ben Westney – cello
  • Victoria Wolff – cello

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Funk, Peter (April 27, 2005). "The Black Sheep Boys Have Arrived". PopMatters. Retrieved April 27, 2005. 
  2. ^ Corcoran, Nina (6 April 2015). "Life Is Ugly: Okkervil River’s Will Sheff on the 10th Anniversary of Black Sheep Boy". Consequences of Sound. Retrieved 30 June 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "Reviews for Black Sheep Boy by Okkervil River". Metacritic. Retrieved June 9, 2016. 
  4. ^ McIntosh, Gregory. "Black Sheep Boy – Okkervil River". AllMusic. Retrieved June 9, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Okkervil River: Black Sheep Boy". Alternative Press (202): 124. May 2005. 
  6. ^ Trefor, Cai (July 12, 2015). "Okkervil River – Black Sheep Boy". Clash. Retrieved June 9, 2016. 
  7. ^ Lynskey, Dorian (August 19, 2005). "Okkervil River, Black Sheep Boy". The Guardian. Retrieved June 9, 2016. 
  8. ^ "Okkervil River: Black Sheep Boy". Mojo (143): 114. October 2005. 
  9. ^ Deusner, Stephen M. (April 14, 2005). "Okkervil River: Black Sheep Boy". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved June 9, 2016. 
  10. ^ Labrack, Jill (April 7, 2005). "Okkervil River: Black Sheep Boy". PopMatters. Retrieved June 9, 2016. 
  11. ^ "Okkervil River: Black Sheep Boy". Q (228): 122. July 2005. 
  12. ^ Newlin, Jimmy (March 15, 2007). "Okkervil River: Black Sheep Boy: Definitive Edition". Slant Magazine. Retrieved June 9, 2016. 
  13. ^ "Okkervil River: Black Sheep Boy". Uncut (99): 87. August 2005. 
  14. ^ "Best of 2005 List". Amazon.com. Retrieved October 1, 2009. 
  15. ^ Pitchfork staff (September 28, 2009). "The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s: 200–151". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved October 1, 2009.