The Believer

( 1 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
More than three years have gone by since Rhett Miller released his last solo album -- a period that saw contemporary Ryan Adams practically fill the bed of a pickup with new material -- but with The Believer, the Old 97's frontman proves himself worth waiting for. Miller plays to his strengths here, displaying his emotional wounds without outright flaunting them. Knowing how to walk that line gives Miller the ability to elicit empathy, rather than pity, on songs like the poignant title track, a eulogy of sorts to Elliott Smith, and "Fireflies," a duet with Rachael Yamagata. Thanks to a tumult-free stretch of personal life -- he's happily married these days, helping ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
More than three years have gone by since Rhett Miller released his last solo album -- a period that saw contemporary Ryan Adams practically fill the bed of a pickup with new material -- but with The Believer, the Old 97's frontman proves himself worth waiting for. Miller plays to his strengths here, displaying his emotional wounds without outright flaunting them. Knowing how to walk that line gives Miller the ability to elicit empathy, rather than pity, on songs like the poignant title track, a eulogy of sorts to Elliott Smith, and "Fireflies," a duet with Rachael Yamagata. Thanks to a tumult-free stretch of personal life -- he's happily married these days, helping raise a toddler son in upstate New York -- Miller doesn't have quite as much to pine over these days, a fact that makes some of the disc's songs a bit too sweet at first taste. But he offsets that with his knack for rolling out pop-rock ditties -- like "Help Me, Suzanne" -- so crystal-clear that they could pass muster on a Brill Building retrospective. Heck, he even kicks out the jams -- a mode he usually reserves for his time in the 97's -- on the bluesy rocker "Ain't It Strange." That's something that's easy to believe in.
All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Rhett Miller's third solo offering, like 2002's The Instigator, is a lush collection of great melodies wrapped brightly around catchy lyrics about the same subject he's been writing about since he began fronting Old 97's. Produced by George Drakoulias -- who has worked with the Black Crowes, the Jayhawks, the Cult, Tom Petty, and Maria McKee, to name a few -- The Believer has a clear, wide-open ring. Guitars are the driving force on this set, where Miller's lilting pop voice sails and swoops, emoting sincerely (even if he is a bit overwrought in places) while Matt Chamberlain's strings, and keyboards, fill it all in. Miller has a ton of guests on the album including Gary Louris, Jon Brion, and Rachael Yamagata (who duets with Miller on the beautiful, country-tinged "Fireflies"). Producers can only do so much, though, and The Believer is a case in point. Judging by his solo material in general and The Instigator in particular, Miller writes according to a particular formula. Simple changes, lilting melodies, one topic -- he's focused but at the same time it feels, with few exceptions, that one song becomes nearly indistinguishable from another. There are exceptions, though, in the rocking "Ain't That Strange," which is stripped down, with its guitars roiling and squalling, barely contained in the mix and nearly covering the vocal. Likewise "Delicate," is anything but. It's a rock & roll song without restraint or apology. It's the exception to the rule, however. That said, there are some gorgeously crafted moments here, including the jangle pop single "Help Me, Suzanne." No Miller disc would be complete without its country-rock moments; after all, he is a Texan, and while "Fireflies" is a ballad, "Singular Girl" is a straight-up country-rock tune with a honky tonk piano and the one-two shuffle beat, yet it has a chorus worthy of Matthew Sweet's Girlfriend. The quirky metaphor -- "Talking to you girl/is like long division...." -- is a Miller trademark, and these are everywhere on this set. The Believer may be a formula recording, but it still satisfies, for the most part, on the level of what it is: a finely crafted pop
ock album. And since there are so few out there these days that even get close, it stands out and deserves a place on the shelf. It's one of those albums that in five years you will pull out of the rack, pop in the deck and be delighted with.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/28/2006
  • Label: Verve Forecast
  • UPC: 602498867068
  • Catalog Number: 000561602
  • Sales rank: 199,550

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 My Valentine (3:24)
  2. 2 Help Me, Suzanne (3:44)
  3. 3 Meteor Shower (4:10)
  4. 4 Brand New Way (3:28)
  5. 5 Ain't That Strange (3:30)
  6. 6 I Believe She's Lying (3:32)
  7. 7 Fireflies (4:07)
  8. 8 Singular Girl (3:44)
  9. 9 I'm With Her (2:33)
  10. 10 Delicate (3:33)
  11. 11 The Believer (4:39)
  12. 12 Question (2:57)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Rhett Miller Primary Artist, Vocals, Hand Clapping
Jon Brion Organ, Guitar, Piano, Bass Guitar, Electric Guitar, chamberlain
Matt Chamberlain Percussion, Drums
George Drakoulias Guitar, Percussion, Piano, Tambourine, Hand Clapping, Shaker
Gary Louris Guitar, Background Vocals, Soloist
Patrick Warren Keyboards, chamberlain
Lyle Workman Guitar, Electric Guitar
Rossilind Ross Miller Vocals
Josh Schwartz Acoustic Guitar, Guitar, Electric Guitar
Rachael Yamagata Vocals
Salim Nourallah Bass, Vocals
Danny DeLaMatyr Vocals, Background Vocals
Salim Nouraliah Bass Guitar
Technical Credits
Aimee Mann Composer
David Bianco Engineer
George Drakoulias Producer, Audio Production
Jerry Marotta Composer
Matthew Cullen Engineer
Rhett Miller Composer
Hollis King Art Direction
Rafael Serrano Engineer
Ken Bethea Composer
Philip Peeples Composer
Vaughn Acord grooming
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    I'm A Believer!

    Rhett Miller's second solo effort is nothing short of spectacular. The arrangements on "the Believer" are a lot different than his previous solo outing "The Instigator", complete with stings, organ and even featuring talented young songstress Rachel Yamagata on the haunting ballad "Fireflies". Old 97's fans fear not, amidst the lush sound there are still traces of rock n roll to be found. The stomp romp of "Delicate" feautring a chorus audiences are sure to shout at live shows, as well as the glam rock of "Ain't That Strange" give "The Believer" a punch of rebellion. The title track is the most poignant, the song is a reflection on Miller's youth, as well as a memorial to the late great singer-songwriter Elliott Smith. There are a few tracks that Old 97's fans might recognize, "Fireflies", "Singular Girl", and a new arrangement of the female fan favorite "Question". While some fans of the Old 97's might brush these songs off as a rehashing of old material, I think the new arrangments give new life to the songs. "The Believer" is 12 songs full of love, sex, optimisim as well as rock n roll.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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