Last Night on Earth (Lee Ranaldo album)

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Last Night on Earth
A red circle containing an image of a man standing in a scenic park. Black bold text above reads "Lee Ranaldo and the Dust Last Night on Earth".
Studio album by Lee Ranaldo and the Dust
Released October 7, 2013 (2013-10-07)
Recorded September 2012 (2012-09)–June 2013 (2013-06) at Echo Canyon West in Hoboken, New Jersey
Genre Alternative rock, experimental rock
Length 63:48
Label Matador
Producer Lee Ranaldo, Ted Young, Alan Licht, Steve Shelley
Lee Ranaldo and the Dust chronology
Between the Times and the Tides
Last Night on Earth

Last Night on Earth is the tenth studio album by the American alternative rock musician Lee Ranaldo, released on October 7, 2013 on Matador Records. Recorded over a nine-month period at Echo Canyon West in Hoboken, New Jersey, the album features Ranaldo's backing band The Dust which comprises former Sonic Youth bandmate Steve Shelley, guitarist Alan Licht and bassist Tim Lüntzel. In addition to studio recordings, Last Night on Earth incorporates field recordings of Ranaldo in Berlin, Germany and Valeggio sul Mincio, Italy.

Upon its release, Last Night on Earth received positive reviews from music critics and placed in two international charts, Belgium's Ultratop albums chart and the United States' Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart. Last Night on Earth was further promoted by a 32-date international tour.


Last Night on Earth was announced for release on July 22, 2013 by Matador Records alongside upcoming tour dates in the United States and Canada.[1] Further details of the album were published on August 13 and it was described as "a more intense, expansive work" than Ranaldo's previous album Between the Times and the Tides (2012) and "darker in tone & lyrical content than its immediate predecessor."[2] Last Night on Earth was released on October 7 in the United Kingdom and the following day in the United States on various formats, including CD, LP and as a digital download. An alternate mix of the album track "Late Descent #2" was included as a bonus track with iTunes pre-orders of the album.[3]

In promotion of Last Night on Earth's release, Lee Ranaldo and the Dust commenced a three-leg, 32-date international tour of North America and Europe. The first leg of the band's North American tour began with a performance at Club Helsinki in Hudson, New York on October 8, 2013 and concluded at The Bellhouse in Brooklyn, New York on October 25. On November 10, the European leg commenced in Groningen, Netherlands and concluded in Tours, France on November 26. The final North American leg, consisting of five dates, began in Portland, Oregon on December 6 and ended with a performance at The Echo in Los Angeles, California on December 13.[2] Lee Ranaldo and the Dust had embarked on an eight-date South American tour three months prior to Last Night on Earth's release, which commenced on July 14 in Santiago, Chile and concluded on July 24 in Pompéia, Brazil.[4]

Upon its release, Last Night on Earth placed in record charts in Belgium and the United States. In Belgium, it debuted on Flanders' Ultratop albums chart at number 176[5] and in the United States, the album peaked at number 44 on Billboard's Heatseekers Albums chart.[6]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[7]
Consequence of Sound C+[8]
Cuepoint A–[9]
Filter 71%[10]
The Irish Times 4/5 stars[11]
Paste 7.1/10[12]
Pitchfork Media 5.5/10[13]
PopMatters 5/10[14]
Q 2/5 stars[15]
Uncut 8/10[16]

Last Night on Earth received generally positive reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 68, based on 18 reviews.[17] In a review for Cuepoint, Robert Christgau said the graceful and occasionally beautiful melodies Ranaldo composed for the album would have been subdued by Sonic Youth's noisy aesthetic, while his singing, still somewhat wordier "than even the alt-rock norm, has turned tender, elegiac, lyrical".[9] Writing for AllMusic, Heather Phares summarized that Lee Ranaldo and the Dust "concentrate on expansive songs filled with shimmering melodies and epic solos" and called Last Night on Earth "an album in the old-school sense, with expansive tracks and detours that still add up to a cohesive whole".[7] Uncut deemed the album "ambitious, mature and noisy."[16] Consequence of Sound reviewer Steven Arroyo said the record "features warm, extended guitar pop tracks". Although criticizing the album's length, Arroyo added that it was "a testament that [Ranaldo] can still create something familiar and comforting, while not lowering the songwriting bar. Even when jamming, The Dust remain expertly dense, never too loose, and never too derivative."[8] Paste reviewer Robert Ham was critical of certain compositional elements of the album but praised Alan Licht's guitar work and said "the loose, free spirit of Last Night is to be expected considering how quickly the songs were written and recorded … and for the most part, it suits Ranaldo. His lyrics are far more discursive and poetic."[12]

In a mixed review, Colin St. John from Pitchfork Media criticized the songs' similarities to Sonic Youth and stated "while [the album] has been billed as more of a cohesive band's vision, it still suffers from a similar blurry schizophrenia."[13] Kevin Korber of PopMatters stated that "Last Night on Earth finds a great songwriter capable of much more retreating to comfortable surroundings".[14] Tiny Mix Tapes critic Jeff Milo took note of how the album's songs "spread, shift, transform, and soar—never too waywardly in a 'jammy' sense, but like a showcase of the splendors of each player's instrumental range and talent", adding it is "a highlight of his aptitude for rich and compelling lyrics".[18]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Lee Ranaldo.

No. Title Length
1. "Lecce, Leaving" 6:55
2. "Key/Hole" 7:04
3. "Home Chds" 7:29
4. "The Rising Tide" 9:09
5. "Last Night on Earth" 4:58
6. "By the Window" 6:57
7. "Late Descent #2" 3:27
8. "Ambulancer" 6:23
9. "Blackt Out" 11:26
Total length: 63:48


All personnel credits adapted from Last Night on Earth's album notes.[19]

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (2013) Peak
Belgian Albums Chart (Flanders)[5] 176
U.S. Billboard Heatseekers Albums[6] 44


  1. ^ "New Lee Ranaldo and The Dust Tour Dates; Album Due In October". Matador Records. July 22, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Coming October 8: Lee Ranaldo & The Dust – Last Night On Earth LP/CD/digital album". Matador Records. August 13, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Music – Last Night on Earth (Bonus Track Version) by Lee Ranaldo and the Dust". iTunes Store. Apple. Retrieved October 24, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Lee Ranaldo and the Dust – South American dates". Matador Records. June 27, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "Lee Ranaldo and the Dust – Last Night on Earth". Ultratop (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved October 24, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Lee Ranaldo – Chart history". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved October 24, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Phares, Heather (October 8, 2013). "Last on Earth – Lee Ranaldo and the Dust | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved October 24, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Arroyo, Steven (October 17, 2013). "Album Review: Lee Ranaldo and the Dust – Last Night on Earth". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved October 24, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (October 3, 2014). "Expert Witness". Cuepoint. Archived from the original on October 2, 2015. Retrieved October 2, 2015. 
  10. ^ Auda Poin, Loren (October 10, 2013). "Reviews – Lee Ranaldo and the Dust, Last Night on Earth". FILTER. FILTER Creative Group. Retrieved October 24, 2013. 
  11. ^ Jones, Chris (October 4, 2013). "Lee Ranaldo and the Dust: Last Night on Earth – Music News, Gigs, Album Reviews & More". The Irish Times. Irish Times Trust. Retrieved October 24, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b Ham, Robert (October 8, 2013). "Lee Ranaldo and the Dust: Last Night on Earth:: Music Reviews". Paste. Wolfgang's Vault. Retrieved October 24, 2013. 
  13. ^ a b St. John, Colin (October 10, 2013). "Lee Ranaldo and the Dust: Last Night on Earth | Album Reviews". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved October 24, 2013. 
  14. ^ a b Korber, Kevin (October 20, 2013). "Lee Ranaldo and the Dust: Last Night on Earth". PopMatters. PopMatters Media. Retrieved October 24, 2013. 
  15. ^ Q. London: 115. November 2013.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. ^ a b Jones, Allan, ed. (November 2013). "Last Night on Earth: Lee Ranaldo and the Dust Review". Uncut. IPC Media: 78. 
  17. ^ "Last on Earth Reviews, Ratings, Credits and More". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 24, 2013. 
  18. ^ Milo, Jeff (October 7, 2013). "Lee Ranaldo and the Dust – Last Night on Earth | Music Review". Tiny Mix Tapes. Retrieved October 24, 2013. 
  19. ^ Last Night on Earth (Album notes). Lee Ranaldo and the Dust. Matador Records. 2013. OLE-1041-2. 

External links[edit]