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Helplessness Blues

Rate It! Avg: 4.5 (699 ratings)
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Helplessness Blues album cover
01
Montezuma
3:39
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02
Bedouin Dress
4:32
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03
Sim Sala Bim
3:16
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04
Battery Kinzie
2:51
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05
The Plains / Bitter Dancer
5:56
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06
Helplessness Blues
5:05
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07
The Cascades
2:10
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08
Lorelai
4:27
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09
Someone You'd Admire
2:31
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10
The Shrine / An Argument
8:09
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11
Blue Spotted Tail
3:07
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12
Grown Ocean
4:36
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Album Information
EDITOR'S PICK

Total Tracks: 12   Total Length: 50:19

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Helplesness Blues

spaaceman

Another great record from this Seattle based prog-folk group. About an hour long and pretty much what we've come to expect from Fleet Foxes since "Sun Giant" debuted in 2007. Excellent musicianship, paired with resounding harmonies reminiscent of early Beach Boys. Not a huge leap forward for the band but certainly not a step back either. Another very solid effort.

user avatar

Old Souls Contemplate Their Youth

spencersutherland

Though he’s only in his 20s, Fleet Foxes singer and leader Robin Pecknold is an old soul. His band’s sound echoes former times, channeling the folk of Simon and Garfunkel and paying homage to the intricate harmonies of the Beach Boys. While the group’s debut LP was an ode to the majesty of the forest and the sun, Pecknold turns inward on “Helplessness Blues.” His wanderings are filled with introspective questions, as he ponders both his youth (“Now I am older than my mother and father/When they had their daughter/Now what does that say about me?”) and his eventual death (“I woke up one morning/All my fingers rotten/I woke up a dying man without a chance”). The music matches the weightiness of the subject matter and every note is perfectly placed—lush harmonies, finger-picked guitar melodies, and Pecknold’s soaring tenor. Having successfully reached the top of the mountain, it’s hard to see where Fleet Foxes will go from here.

user avatar

87.5% Awesome!

JoelPatrick

Been pumped about this album for a while. Every single released caught my attention and I loved every one of them. Definitely a great follow up, and an album worth buying. There are a few tracks that really aren't great, but the rest of the album redeems it.

user avatar

Talking about himself

LouietheKing

Initially this album is musically attractive, but lyrically, the fellow needs to eliminate the first person singular pronoun from his vocabulary and see if he can look outside at the world. There's a poverty of experience and circumscribed quality to his writing; he's very much the center of his universe, he's caught up in his own head, and he's not happy. The earnestness grows cloying. As with CSN, I would say musically, everything is perfect and clean to the point of sounding a bit sterile.

user avatar

Neo-nostalgia...

youyouca

This album has kept me going, moving from a 22 years living space in downtown Montreal to a 121 years old house in the country. Amazing melodic folk bridging Simon & Garfunkel, CSN or the Beach Boys with today open spaces : Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, Emilie Proulx and Gillian Welch. I love it.

user avatar

Canoe Music

pss

This NME review sums it up for me. Please save us from more of this. http://www.nme.com/reviews/fleet-foxes/12024

user avatar

RAD!!!

Smalltownghosts

Helplessness Blues, is a solid album and an admirable addition to Fleet Foxes already respectable catalog of music. a full review is available at www.yarnly.com

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Fantastic Mr. Fox

tsbrice

After their previous album I expect greatness. Greatness has been achieved but it's certainly done in a different way. With the first couple listens I was wondering what happened to all of the harmonizing but what I found with more time is that the little subtleties are what make the album great and really keeps the album fresh for weeks. There was only one spot in the album where I had to question the direction with the moaning and whining horns that almost always have to skip past. It was an effort to be artistic that just didn't work in my opinion. Overall, great album though.

user avatar

Strong Sophomore Effort

eaglezzz

'Battery Kinzie' is a refreshing indie boomer that mixes in the piano sounds creating a perfect all around song. 'The Plains/Bitter Dancer' is a slower number which matches it lyrics. Then comes the title track 'Helplessness Blues' which has been out for a few months and yet every time you hear it - it continues to sound like it is the first time you heard it. This is the song that teased us for a

user avatar

I just don't get it

twoxvols

I am heavy into indie music ranging from Bon Iver, The National, and Animal Collective, but I just can not understand why everybody likes these guys. The music is painful to listen to while being boring at the same time. I completely understand that we don't all have the same tastes, but I would forewarn anyone from downloading this without previewing it somewhere because for me, it is just not worth the hype or my money or even hard drive space.

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Six Degrees of Fleet Foxes’ Helplessness Blues

By Andy Beta, Contributor

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It used to be easier to pretend that an album was its own perfectly self-contained artifact. The great records certainly feel that way. But albums are more permeable than solid, their motivations, executions and inspirations informed by, and often stolen from, their peers and forbearers. It all sounds awfully formal, but it's not. It's the very nature of music — of art, even. The Six Degrees features examine the relationships between classic records and five… more »

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They Say All Music Guide

Props to Helplessness Blues for making the fretless zither cool again. On their second album, Fleet Foxes continue to take their music in unusual directions, creating a baroque folk-pop sound that hints at a number of influences — Simon & Garfunkel, Fairport Convention, the Beach Boys — but is too unique, too esoteric, too damn weird to warrant any direct links between the Seattle boys and their predecessors. It’s still a downright gorgeous record, though, filled to the brim with glee club harmonies and the sort of stringed instruments that are virtually unknown to anyone who didn’t go to music school (and even if you did, when’s the last time you rocked out on the Marxophone?). Relying on obscure instrumentation can be a dangerous game, and Fleet Foxes occasionally run the risk of sounding too clever for their own good, as if the need to “out-folk” groups like Mumford & Sons and Midlake is more important than writing memorable, articulate folk tunes. But Helplessness Blues has the necessary songs to back it up, from the slow crescendos of the album-opening “Montezuma” to the sweeping orchestral arrangement of the encore number, “Grown Ocean.”
Robin Pecknold remains the ringleader of this Celtic circus. His is the only voice to cut through the thick, lush harmonies that Fleet Foxes splash across every refrain like paint, and his lyrics — rife with allusions to the Bible, Dante the Magician, and the poetry of W.B. Yeats — reach beyond the territory he occupied on the band’s first record, which painted simple geographical portraits with songs like “Sun It Rises,” “Ragged Wood,” “Quiet Houses,” and “Blue Ridge Mountains.” On Helplessness Blues, he’s just as interested in the landscape of the human heart. Still, it’s the music that stands out, and the band’s acoustic folk/chamber pop combo makes every song sound like a grand tribute to back-to-the-land living. – Andrew Leahey

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