The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter

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The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter
Historical conquests cover.jpg
Studio album by Josh Ritter
Released United States August 21, 2007
Republic of Ireland September 7, 2007
United Kingdom October 1, 2007
Recorded The Great North Sound Society, Maine
Genre Folk rock
Length 42:52
Label Sony BMG, Independent, V2
Producer Sam Kassirer
Josh Ritter chronology
The Animal Years
The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter
So Runs the World Away
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating (95%) link
Allmusic 4/5 stars link
Entertainment Weekly (A-) link
Pitchfork Media (5.7/10) link
PopMatters 8/10 stars link
Rocklouder 4/5 stars link
Time Off 4/5 stars link
Slant 4/5 stars link

The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter is the fifth full-length album by American singer-songwriter Josh Ritter. It was released in the U.S. on August 21, 2007,[1] in Ireland on September 7, 2007 through Independent Records, and released in the rest of Europe on October 1, 2007 by V2 Records. By July 26, 2007, the album had leaked onto P2P file-sharing websites.

The record was recorded in a Maine farmhouse dating to the 18th century.[2] According to Ritter: "Lyrically, musically, and in terms of production, it's the most adventurous record I've made yet and I think when you hear it you're going to be surprised. Seriously, repeatedly, and in a good way."

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Josh Ritter. The strings were written and arranged by Sam Kassirer, the horns by Sam Kassirer and Zack Hickman.

  1. "To the Dogs or Whoever" — 3:02
  2. "Mind's Eye" — 2:53
  3. "Right Moves" — 3:44
  4. "The Temptation of Adam" — 4:12
  5. "Open Doors" — 2:35
  6. "Rumors" — 3:31
  7. "Edge of the World" — 1:41
  8. "Wait for Love" — 3:46
  9. "Real Long Distance" — 2:42
  10. "Next to the Last Romantic" — 2:49
  11. "Moons" — 0:51
  12. "Still Beating" — 3:49
  13. "Empty Hearts" — 4:40
  14. "Wait for Love (You Know You Will)" — 2:37

Bonus EP[edit]

Initial copies of the album included a limited-edition bonus EP CD containing "four little tracks - interesting 'bits and pieces' - from the recording sessions."[3] The track listing for the EP is as follows:

  1. "Wildfires" — 4:48
  2. "Spot in my Heart" — 0:37
  3. "Naked as a Window" — 1:29
  4. "Labelship Down" — 0:54


Three singles were released from the album, in digital download format only. The singles were released as one-track promo-only CD singles as well.

  • "Mind's Eye" (October 15, 2007)
  • "Right Moves" (December 17, 2007)
  • "Empty Hearts" (March 31, 2008)
    1. "Empty Hearts" - 4:40
    2. "Empty Hearts" (Engine Room Acoustic) - 3:57

Thematic elements[edit]

The lyrics of the album's Dylanesque opening track, "To the Dogs or Whoever," contains a number of historical references, many of them to traditional American cultural and mythological figures:

The second verse of the song "Empty Hearts":

I'm inside with my friends

We build fires and pretend

That the night could just bend on forever

While outside in the frost

Are the wolves and the lost

And we sing to the dogs or whoever

references the title of the first track on the CD, which could be read as the friends' singing that first song or singing for a canine audience. The title of the first track on the CD is never mentioned in that song's lyrics, but Ritter self-referentially uses it in the lyrics of "Empty Hearts," suggesting that the songs on the CD may have an interrelated design.



  1. ^ "Josh Ritter Conquers History on New Album". Retrieved 2007-06-07. 
  2. ^ "Josh Ritter Performs on the BPP". Retrieved 2007-08-26. 
  3. ^ "News posting on official Josh Ritter site". Archived from the original on 2007-10-07. Retrieved 2007-08-28. 

External links[edit]