In a retrospective review of the Rounder reissue, Allmusic critic Thom Jurek wrote, "Long regarded as Bruce Cockburn's finest moment on record, Humans, issued in 1980, is easily the most revealing of his tomes as well... Humans is universal in its confusion and hard-won willingness to endure without seeking creature comforts or easy answers. Its musical and lyrical adventure would be a watermark for any artist; for Cockburn it became the first step to musical and poetic freedom. It sounds as harrowing, beautiful, and ethereal 20-plus years later as it did when it was first issued, and offers a uniquely universal message for seekers of personal, social, and spiritual truth. This is the one to start with. It is also the one to end with."