Blues Funeral

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Blues Funeral
Blues Funeral.jpg
Studio album by Mark Lanegan
Released February 6, 2012
Recorded January—May 2011 at 11AD Studio in Hollywood, California
Genre Alternative rock, blues rock
Length 55:27
Language English
Label 4AD
Producer Alain Johannes
Mark Lanegan chronology
Blues Funeral
Black Pudding
Singles from Blues Funeral
  1. "The Gravedigger's Song"
    Released: December 5, 2011
  2. "Harborview Hospital"
    Released: April 9, 2012 (promo only)

Blues Funeral is the seventh studio album by American alternative rock musician Mark Lanegan, released on February 6, 2012 on 4AD.[1] The album was recorded with producer Alain Johannes throughout early 2011 and Johannes, as well as other musicians including Greg Dulli, David Catching and Jack Irons, contributed to the recording process.[1] Blues Funeral was announced for release on November 7, 2011 through Lanegan's official website[2] and less than a month later, the album's lead single, "The Gravedigger's Song," was released as a digital download on iTunes.[3]

Aside from collaborative albums with Isobel Campbell, and other collaboration projects including Soulsavers and The Gutter Twins, Blues Funeral is Mark Lanegan's first new material in eight years, since Bubblegum (2004)[4] Upon its release, Blues Funeral received widespread critical acclaim and charted in six countries within the week of its release, including Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.


Following extensive collaborations with Isobel Campbell, former vocalist and celloist of indie pop band Belle & Sebastian, Lanegan began working on Blues Funeral after the tour in promotion of their third collaborative studio album, Hawk (2010). The tour concluded on October 29, 2010 in Los Angeles, California[5] and Lanegan subsequently began composing songs. In an interview with MOJO, Lanegan described his writing process for the album, saying that: "[all of the songs on the new record] were written right before or during the period when we recorded" and "generally I write on the guitar, but this one I started a few with the keyboard and a drum machine, to do something different. With Al [Johannes], I can show him something on acoustic guitar and give him a description and within a couple of hours it's done."[6]


The Quietus described the album's sound as: "Blues Funeral incorporates beats marshalled by sequencers with grand cinematic sweeps and a rock & roll sensibility that reveals an artist refusing to paint himself into a corner." Lanegan also noted that "with this new record, because I use a lot of the elements of my influences that I haven't on previous record, I've made a record that's something more like I would personally listen to than some of the records that I’ve made before,"[7] and listed the album's influences as The Gun Club's Miami, Joy Division's Closer and Roxy Music's Country Life amongst others.


Lanegan's official website posted a press release on November 7, 2011[2] announcing that Blues Funeral was due to be released worldwide on February 6, 2012. The album was made available for pre-order on iTunes[8] and domestic versions of the album on CD and double LP were made available through the 4AD Store[9] and Amazon.[10] Physical versions of the album were released a day later than the digital release. On January 21, 2012, Amazon previewed thirty-second clips of each songs on the album[10] and on January 31, MOJO made the album available for stream in its entirety.[11]


Lanegan performing live in Dublin during the Blues Funeral tour.

A two-leg tour was planned to accompany the release of Blues Funeral throughout spring 2012. Lanegan performed two shows in the United States—at the Bowery Ballroom in New York on February 7[12] and at Echoplex in Los Angeles, California on February 9[13]— prior to the European tour which will last from February 24 to April 2. The tour will include Norway, Finland, the Netherlands, Belgium, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Denmark, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Croatia, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, and Portugal. Following the release of the album, Lanegan announced two further legs of the tour with five shows in Australia and New Zealand in April[14] and with twelve shows in the United States, Mexico and Canada in May.[15]


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (77/100)[19]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[20]
The A.V. Club C−[21]
BBC (Positive)[22]
Drowned in Sound (6/10)[23]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[24]
The Independent 5/5 stars[25]
MOJO 5/5 stars[11]
musicOMH 4.5/5 stars[26]
Pitchfork Media (5.9/10)[27]
Stereogum (Very positive)[28]

Blues Funeral was released to positive critical acclaim. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 77, based on 26 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews."[19] MOJO reviewer Keith Cameron said that "no other singer of his generation plumbs the depths so credibly, or does mournful with such grace," awarded the album a full five stars and referred to it as an "instant MOJO classic."[11] Tom Hughes of The Guardian awarded the album three out of five stars and described it as "bluesy, lugubrious, modernish rock, elevated by Lanegan's remarkable gravel-pit of a voice" but concluded that "running close to a full hour, this can feel like a long funeral."[24] Andy Gill of The Independent called Blues Funeral "the most accomplished of Lanegan's albums," adding that the album is "boasting a rare congruence between lyrical themes and musical evocations" and awarded the album a full five stars.[25] BBC's Kevin Harley said that the album "deepens his pitch while exhibiting a range and grace beyond his death's-head profile" and "sells [the songs] with conviction and character."[22] Drowned in Sound reviewer Robert Leedham referred to the album as "deliciously callous but cursedly familiar" in its 6/10 review and added that it was "a record for ardent fans and not casual admirers."[23] Jason Heller of The A.V. Club gave the album a C- rating, referring to the album as "a blatant and lackluster attempt to keep up with the times" and criticised its production "in which no note or texture is left digitally unprocessed."[21] Pitchfork Media described Blues Funeral as "a mixed bag" and the songs as "many dirges that simply drag," but positively noted the album's influences and Lanegan's vocals ("almost invariably powerful on a sheer physical level") and awarded the album 5.9/10.[27] Stereogum listed the album as Album Of The Week upon its release and gave a very positive review applauding Lanegan's vocals, the album's synthpop influences and "his most unburdened album in many, many years."[28]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Mark Lanegan.

No. Title Length
1. "The Gravedigger's Song" 3:43
2. "Bleeding Muddy Water" 6:17
3. "Gray Goes Black" 4:11
4. "St Louis Elegy" 4:34
5. "Riot in My House" 3:53
6. "Ode to Sad Disco" (Contains elements of "Sad Disco" by Keli Hlodversson[29]) 6:24
7. "Phantasmagoria Blues" 3:16
8. "Quiver Syndrome" 4:03
9. "Harborview Hospital" 4:31
10. "Leviathan" 4:22
11. "Deep Black Vanishing Train" 3:06
12. "Tiny Grain of Truth" 7:07
Total length: 55:27
Japanese[30] bonus track
No. Title Length
13. "Burning Jacob's Ladder" 3:48


Chart positions[edit]

Chart (2012) Peak
Austrian Top 40[32] 42
Belgian Albums Chart (Vl)[33] 4
Belgian Albums Chart (WA)[33] 50
Canadian Albums Chart[34] 172
Danish Albums Chart[35] 37
Dutch Top 40[36] 20
Finnish Albums Chart[37] 24
French Albums Chart[38] 51
German Albums Chart[39] 41
Irish Albums Chart[40] 12
Irish Independent Albums Chart[40] 2
Italian Albums Chart[41] 38
Norwegian Albums Chart[42] 12
Spanish Albums Chart[43] 53
Swedish Albums Chart[44] 23
Swiss Albums Chart[45] 27
New Zealand Albums Chart[46] 40
UK Albums Chart[47] 21
US Billboard 200[48] 99
US Billboard Alternative Albums[48] 16
US Billboard Independent Albums[48] 15
US Billboard Rock Albums[48] 26
US Billboard Tastemaker Albums[49] 5

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2012) Position
Belgian Albums Chart (Flanders)[50] 42


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