If All I Was Was Black

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If All I Was Was Black
If All I Was Was Black.jpg
Studio album by Mavis Staples
Released November 17, 2017 (2017-11-17)
Label ANTI- Records
Producer Jeff Tweedy
Mavis Staples chronology
Livin' on a High Note
If All I Was Was Black

If All I Was Was Black is the sixteenth studio album by Mavis Staples. It was released on November 17, 2017, via Anti-Records.[1][2] The album was written and produced by Jeff Tweedy, who also features on the fourth track.[3]


The album consists of 11 songs, written by Jeff Tweedy.[4][5] Staples said about the album "(It) bring us all together as a people. That's what I hope to do. You can't stop me. You can't break me. I'm too loving. These songs are going to change the world."[6][7] Tweedy described the message of the album: "I’ve always thought of art as a political statement in and of itself—that it was enough to be on the side of creation and not destruction. But there is something that feels complicit at this moment in time about not facing what is happening in this country head on."[8][9][10][11]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[13]
The A.V. ClubB[15]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[17]

If All I Was Was Black received generally favourable reviews upon release. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 80, based on 18 reviews.[12]

Track listing[edit]

1."Little Bit"Jeff Tweedy 
2."If All I Was Was Black"Tweedy, Mavis Staples 
3."Who Told You That"Tweedy 
4."Ain't No Doubt About It" (featuring Jeff Tweedy)Tweedy 
5."Peaceful Dream"Tweedy 
6."No Time for Crying"Tweedy, Staples 
7."Build a Bridge"Tweedy 
8."We Go High"Tweedy, Staples 
9."Try Harder"Tweedy 
10."All Over Again"Tweedy 



Chart (2017) Peak
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[18] 106
New Zealand Heatseeker Albums (RMNZ)[19] 10


  1. ^ Kreps, Daniel. "Mavis Staples Previews New Jeff Tweedy-Produced LP". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2017-09-11.
  2. ^ "Mavis Staples Announces New Album If All I Was Was Black Produced by Wilco's Jeff Tweedy". Spin.com. Retrieved 2017-09-11.
  3. ^ Murphy, Sarah. "Mavis Staples Teams Up with Jeff Tweedy for 'If All I Was Was Black' LP". Exclaim.ca. Retrieved 2017-09-11.
  4. ^ "Mavis Staples – "If All I Was Was Black"". Stereogum.com. Retrieved 2017-09-11.
  5. ^ "Mavis Staples Teams With Jeff Tweedy for Unflinching New Album, If All I Was Was Black :: Music :: News :: Mavis Staples :: Paste". Pastemagazine.com. Retrieved 2017-09-11.
  6. ^ "Hear The New Mavis Staples, Jeff Tweedy Song 'If All I Was Was Black' : All Songs Considered". Npr.org. Retrieved 2017-09-11.
  7. ^ "Mavis Staples Joins Forces With Jeff Tweedy For New LP 'If All I Was Was Black' – Sets Tour Dates With Bob Dylan". Glide Magazine. Retrieved 2017-09-11.
  8. ^ Matthew Strauss. "Mavis Staples Announces New Album With Jeff Tweedy If All I Was Was Black". Pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2017-09-11.
  9. ^ Jem Aswad. "Mavis Staples Confronts Trump's America on 'If All I Was Was Black'". Variety.com. Retrieved 2017-09-11.
  10. ^ "Mavis Staples Tackles Racism On New Album, 'If All I Was Was Black'". Okayplayer.com. Retrieved 2017-09-11.
  11. ^ "Bob Dylan announces tour with Mavis Staples (who announced a new album)". Brooklynvegan.com. 2017-09-07. Retrieved 2017-09-11.
  12. ^ a b "If All I Was Was Black by Mavis Staples". Metacritic.com. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  13. ^ Deming, Mark (2017-11-17). "AllMusic Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  14. ^ Salmon, Ben (November 17, 2017). "Mavis Staples: If All I Was Was Black Review". Spin. Retrieved February 4, 2018.
  15. ^ Waite, Kelsey J. "Here are 6 new albums you should know about this week". Avclub.com. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  16. ^ Deusner, Stephen M. (2017-11-16). "Mavis Staples: If All I Was Was Black". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  17. ^ Hermes, Will (16 November 2017). "Review: Mavis Staples and Producer Jeff Tweedy Fight the Powers That Be". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  18. ^ "Ultratop.be – Mavis Staples – If All I Was Was Black" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved November 25, 2017.
  19. ^ "NZ Heatseeker Albums Chart". Recorded Music NZ. November 27, 2017. Retrieved November 24, 2017.