Rolling Stone - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "Conor Oberst's seventh LP is a refreshing renewal of the anxiety-ridden intimacy that marked his earliest work with Bright Eyes nearly 20 years ago..."
Entertainment Weekly - "RUMINATIONS is a vulnerable Conor Oberst cracked open, spilling his soul. Pain is its recurring theme and though Oberst comes close to wallowing in it, the gift is his ability to embrace and absorb it and make it something beautiful." -- Grade: B+
NME (Magazine) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Oberst's evocative character studies add intrigue throughout....Into these tales Oberst weaves his own psychological fractures."
Paste (magazine) - "[T]heir welding of forlorn lyricism and comforting listenability makes the songwriter admirable not just for his craftsmanship, but for his ability to pull through an arduous time with what could be a benchmark album in his already prolific career. For that, Conor Oberst deserves praise."
Pitchfork (Website) - "RUMINATIONS is a record like none other in Oberst's catalog -- stunning for how utterly alone he sounds....[With] just Oberst on harmonica, acoustic and piano with ten songs written during an Omaha winter and recorded in 48 hours."
Personnel: Conor Oberst (guitar, harmonica, piano).
Audio Mixer: Mike Mogis.
Liner Note Author: Simone Felice.
Recording information: ARC, Omaha, NE (02/11/2016/02/12/2016).
Recorded in less than 48 hours with longtime collaborator Mike Mogis and engineer Ben Brodin, Ruminations sees Conor Oberst going full-on Nebraska, delivering a raw, difficult, and often beautiful set of deeply personal songs with minimal accompaniment. His seventh solo album and first since 2014's Upside Down Mountain, Ruminations is a far cry from the fiery, politically charged punk of 2015's Desaparecidos outing Payola. That said, it delivers much of what fans have come to expect from the prolific, erudite midwesterner; alternately shambolic and stately distillations of life's hardships, delivered with honesty and wobbly conviction. Written during a particularly challenging time that found Oberst battling anxiety, depression, laryngitis, and a host of other medical ills, the ten-track set bristles with the unease that comes with having to confront a particularly large swath of the unknown. Utilizing piano, guitar, and occasionally harmonica, Oberst wrestles with past, present, and future, but most of the aptly named LP concerns itself with loss. It's not the prettiest or easiest of records, nor is it Oberst's finest outing to date, but it does house some real gems, including the emotionally charged opener "Tachycardia," the thoughtful, Dylan-esque "You All Loved Him Once," and the barbed and broken "A Little Uncanny," the latter of which manages to pay homage to Jane Fonda, take down Ronald Reagan, and eulogize Robin Williams, Christopher Hitchens, Oliver Sacks, and Sylvia Plath, all in just over four minutes. ~ James Christopher Monger