World Without Tears

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World Without Tears
World Without Tears.jpg
Studio album by Lucinda Williams
Released April 8, 2003
Genre Rock and roll, roots rock, Americana, alternative, folk rock
Length 59:53
Label Lost Highway
Producer Mark Howard, Lucinda Williams
Lucinda Williams chronology
World Without Tears
Live @ The Fillmore
(2005)Live @ The Fillmore2005

World Without Tears is the seventh studio album by American singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams. It was released on April 8, 2003, by Lost Highway Records. The album was a widespread critical success and sold 415,000 copies by 2008.

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 87/100[1]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[2]
Blender 4/5 stars[3]
Entertainment Weekly A[4]
Los Angeles Times 4/4 stars[5]
Mojo 5/5 stars[6]
Q 4/5 stars[7]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[8]
Spin A[9]
Uncut 5/5 stars[10]
The Village Voice A−[11]

World Without Tears was released on April 8, 2003, by Lost Highway Records to widespread critical acclaim. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 87, based on 18 reviews.[1] Spin magazine's Robert Levine believed Williams had returned to "the painful sensuality of the specific" on World Without Tears,[9] while Will Hermes from Entertainment Weekly said the "profoundly carnal" record sounded "noisier and randier" than 2001's Essence.[4] Robert Hilburn deemed it "a rock 'n' roll workout" in his review for the Los Angeles Times, writing that its edgiest songs sounded "close to the raw, disoriented feel" of the Rolling Stones' 1972 album Exile on Main St.[5]'s review called it "dark, sleazy and impeccably rock'n'roll" while declaring Williams was "making some of the most essential roots-rock music around."[12]

According to music essayist Kathryn Jones, World Without Tears found Williams continuing her Americana, alternative, and folk-rock sounds on songs that reflected her life since moving from Nashville to Los Angeles.[13] In The Village Voice, Robert Christgau said while the songs were merely "pretty good" rather than "great," Williams compensated with "lowdown, dirty, smoky" music that relied on grooves and riffs. He compared it to a Sue Foley album but with better lyrics, particularly on "Those Three Days" and "Sweet Side."[11] Rolling Stone journalist Karen Schoemer was less impressed. She praised the music's "gorgeous amalgams of country, blues and Southern rock," but was disappointed in how relentlessly bleak the lyrics were, finding them lacking her past work's "wounded innocence" and "sweetness."[8]

In the first week of release, World Without Tears sold 54,000 copies and debuted at number 18 on the Billboard 200.[14] According to Billboard, the album reached 415,000 copies sold in February 2008.[15]

Track listing[edit]

All songs were written by Lucinda Williams.

  1. "Fruits of My Labor" – 4:41
  2. "Righteously" – 4:36
  3. "Ventura" – 4:37
  4. "Real Live Bleeding Fingers and Broken Guitar Strings" – 4:40
  5. "Overtime" – 3:52
  6. "Those Three Days" – 4:53
  7. "Atonement" – 5:47
  8. "Sweet Side" – 3:34
  9. "Minneapolis" – 4:03
  10. "People Talkin'" – 5:05
  11. "American Dream" – 4:30
  12. "World Without Tears" – 4:11
  13. "Words Fell" – 4:11


  • Lucinda Williams – vocals, acoustic and electric guitars
  • Doug Pettibone – electric guitars, harmonies, mandolin ("People Talkin")
  • Taras Prodaniuk – bass, harmonies
  • Jim Christie – drums, wurlitzer ("American Dream"), vox organ ("Ventura", "Minneapolis")


  1. ^ a b "Reviews for World Without Tears by Lucinda Williams". Metacritic. Retrieved January 21, 2017. 
  2. ^ Jurek, Thom. "World Without Tears – Lucinda Williams". AllMusic. Retrieved January 21, 2017. 
  3. ^ Powers, Ann (April 2003). "Lucinda Williams: World Without Tears". Blender (15): 126. Archived from the original on August 13, 2004. Retrieved January 21, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b Hermes, Will (April 11, 2003). "World Without Tears". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 21, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b Hilburn, Robert (April 6, 2003). "Williams is on an exploration for 'World Without Tears'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 21, 2017. 
  6. ^ "Lucinda Williams: World Without Tears". Mojo (115): 94. June 2003. 
  7. ^ "Lucinda Williams: World Without Tears". Q (202): 144. May 2003. 
  8. ^ a b Schoemer, Karen (March 25, 2003). "World Without Tears". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 21, 2017. 
  9. ^ a b Levine, Robert (May 2003). "Lucinda Williams: World Without Tears". Spin. 19 (5): 109. Retrieved January 21, 2017. 
  10. ^ "Lucinda Williams: World Without Tears". Uncut (88): 72. May 2003. 
  11. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (June 3, 2003). "Eating Again". The Village Voice. Retrieved January 21, 2017. 
  12. ^ Anon. (April 23, 2003). "Lucinda Williams – World Without Tears". Retrieved January 21, 2017. 
  13. ^ Jones, Kathryn (2016). "Lucinda Williams: Poets of Places in the Heart". In Clifford, Craig E.; Hills, Craig. Pickers and Poets: The Ruthlessly Poetic Singer-Songwriters of Texas. Texas A&M University Press. ISBN 1623494478. 
  14. ^ Todd Martens, "Godsmack Takes 'Faceless' Straight To No. 1",, April 16, 2003.
  15. ^ Caulfield, Keith. "Ask Billboard – Williams' Wild 'West'". Billboard. February 8, 2008.

External links[edit]