The Animal Years

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The Animal Years
Josh-ritter-animal-years.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedUnited Kingdom March 20, 2006
United States April 11, 2006
Republic of Ireland January 17, 2010 (Deluxe)
United States January 25, 2011 (Vinyl)
United States February 15, 2011 (Deluxe)
RecordedBear Creek and Engine Studios,
March - May 2005
Genre
Length49:22
LabelUnited States V2
Republic of Ireland Independent Records
ProducerBrian Deck
Josh Ritter chronology
4 Songs Live EP
(2005)
The Animal Years
(2006)
In the Dark – Live at Vicar Street
(2006)
Singles from The Animal Years
  1. "Girl in the War"
    Released: April 11, 2006
  2. "Lillian, Egypt"
    Released: May 29, 2006
  3. "Wolves"
    Released: July 25, 2006

The Animal Years is the fourth studio album by American singer-songwriter Josh Ritter.[1] It was originally released on April 19, 2006 and a two-disc deluxe edition was re-issued on January 17, 2010. It was Ritter's first album released on V2 Records.[2]

In 2010, Ritter's band was given the name "The Royal City Band" (a reference to the song Thin Blue Flame from The Animal Years).[3]

Background[edit]

Before performing Girl in the War at the 2006 annual dinner of the Center for American Progress in Washington D.C., Ritter stated that he intended to “to write about [the United States of America], but [instead] it all came out sounding like a love song."[4]

Ritter has said that the life and work of Mark Twain were a great influence on The Animal Years, in particular Twain's books Life on the Mississippi and Letters from the Earth.[5] When analyzed alongside Twain's biography, lyrics from multiple songs on The Animal Years seem to make textual reference to the life and times of Mark Twain.[6] The most intriguing example may be the enigmatic song "Monster Ballads," which contains references to both the 19th-century decline of the Mississippi River steamboat at the hands of the railroad and the fictional character Huckleberry Finn.[7] Paying homage to Twain, Josh Ritter performed in a white suit while touring to support The Animal Years.[8]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic80[9]
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic4/5 stars[10]
The A.V. ClubA−[11]
The Guardian4/5 stars[12]
Prefix Magazine8.0/10 stars[13]
Slant3/5 stars[14]

As was Ritter's previous albums, The Animal Years was praised for its lyricism and storytelling.[15] Additionally, the use of piano throughout the album was recognized.[16]

Stephen King rated The Animal Years the best album of 2006 in an article for Entertainment Weekly.[17]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Josh Ritter.

  1. "Girl in the War" – 4:23
  2. "Wolves" – 4:04
  3. "Monster Ballads" – 4:05
  4. "Lillian, Egypt" – 3:24
  5. "Idaho" – 3:51
  6. "In the Dark" – 4:41
  7. "One More Mouth" – 3:29
  8. "Good Man" – 4:09
  9. "Best for the Best" – 3:58
  10. "Thin Blue Flame" – 9:38
  11. "Here at the Right Time" – 3:40

Credits[edit]

Personnel[edit]

Production[edit]

Deluxe edition[edit]

The Animal Years was reissued on February 15, 2011 as a two-disc Deluxe Edition. The Deluxe Edition includes the complete original studio album as well as a bonus CD with Ritter performing a solo acoustic version of the entire album (recorded in Nashville in June 2008). The bonus CD also includes four b-sides, a video (Lillian, Egypt), new artwork, and liner notes by Tom Ricks. The Animal Years Deluxe Edition was previously released in Ireland on January 17, 2010. A vinyl version of the Deluxe Edition was released in the United States on January 25, 2011. It comes with a copy of the bonus acoustic and b-side CD.[18]

Track listing of Deluxe Edition (Bonus CD)[edit]

  1. "Girl in the War" (Solo Acoustic)
  2. "Wolves" (Solo Acoustic)
  3. "Monster Ballads" (Solo Acoustic)
  4. "Lillian, Egypt" (Solo Acoustic)
  5. "Idaho" (Solo Acoustic)
  6. "In the Dark" (Solo Acoustic)
  7. "One More Mouth" (Solo Acoustic)
  8. "Good Man" (Solo Acoustic)
  9. "Best for the Best" (Solo Acoustic)
  10. "Thin Blue Flame" (Solo Acoustic)
  11. "Here at the Right Time" (Solo Acoustic)
  12. "Blame It on the Tetons" (written by Modest Mouse)
  13. "Harbortown"
  14. "Peter Killed the Dragon"
  15. "Monster Ballads" (Early Version)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ydstie, John (2006-05-11). "On 'Animal Years,' Josh Ritter's Sense of Place". NPR. Retrieved 2012-01-14.
  2. ^ "Review: Josh Ritter - The Animal Years". www2.oberlin.edu. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  3. ^ ">Naming Josh Ritter's band? I win! « Blog « Hacked by 4Ri3 60ndr0n9". modernacoustic.com. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  4. ^ Josh Ritter Plays A Girl in the War At CAP Event on YouTube
  5. ^ "Josh Ritter: Letter From America | Chart Attack". 2006-04-26. Retrieved 2016-07-02.
  6. ^ girlinthegloaming (2007-08-16). "Girl meets Mark Twain". Girl in the Gloaming. Retrieved 2016-07-02.
  7. ^ girlinthegloaming (2007-12-11). "Desert radio: Monster Ballads revisited". Girl in the Gloaming. Retrieved 2016-07-02.
  8. ^ http://www.washingtontimes.com, The Washington Times. "Josh Ritter goes solo". Retrieved 2016-07-02.
  9. ^ The Animal Years by Josh Ritter, retrieved 2018-01-12
  10. ^ "The Animal Years - Josh Ritter | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  11. ^ Phipps, Keith. "Josh Ritter: The Animal Years". Music. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  12. ^ Clarke, Betty (2006-03-17). "CD: Josh Ritter, The Animal Years". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  13. ^ Legat, Michael. "Josh Ritter - The Animal Years Album Review | Prefixmag.com". Prefixmag.com. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  14. ^ "Josh Ritter The Animal Years | Album Review | Slant Magazine". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  15. ^ "On 'Animal Years,' Josh Ritter's Sense of Place". NPR.org. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  16. ^ "Album Review: Josh Ritter: The Animal Years - The Ruckus | Record Reviews, MP3s, Videos". www.whatstheruckus.com. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  17. ^ King, Stephen (2007-02-01). "The A-List". EW.com. Retrieved 2012-01-14.
  18. ^ "'The Animal Years' Re-Issued in Deluxe & Vinyl Editions". Josh Ritter. Archived from the original on 2011-02-05. Retrieved 2012-01-14.

External links[edit]