The Center Won't Hold Image
Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics What's this?

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7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 22 Ratings

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  • Summary: The ninth full-length studio release for the rock trio was produced by St. Vincent and is the final one with drummer Janet Weiss, who announced her departure from the band in July 2019.
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
  1. Aug 14, 2019
    100
    This may also be Sleater-Kinney’s lustiest album yet. Several of the album’s 11 songs are peppered with breathy sighs and ecstatic yelps, and it’s almost as if Brownstein is staring you directly in the eyes as she sings, “Let me defang you and defile you on the floor,” in “Bad Dance.” But this, too, has its political aspect. ... A stunning finale is another Sleater-Kinney specialty, and The Center Won’t Hold delivers with the devastating, disarming “Broken.”
  2. 85
    Stylistically, this record is a strikingly bold step for the band and it is impossible not to feel Clark’s influence.
  3. Mojo
    Aug 12, 2019
    80
    The Center Won't Hold sounds like a band urgently resetting their course, putting their fury and fear ona war footing. At times., it's on a industrial scale. ... There are gorgeous pop songs here, too. [Sep 2019, p.84]
  4. 80
    Sleater-Kinney are as potent now as they ever were – their music spiky and confrontational, melding the personal and political to striking effect.
  5. Aug 20, 2019
    79
    Even if tracks like “Can I Go On” or “RUINS” don’t manifest themselves as solidly as some of the others, they’re still interesting, well-constructed, complete thoughts. The Center Won’t Hold is a Sleater-Kinney record not only because their name is on the cover, but because all of the elements you first fell in love with are still here.
  6. Aug 15, 2019
    75
    The album is successful in displaying where Brownstein and Tucker (as the band's dual-mouthpieces) are in 2019, encapsulated beautifully on the album's piano-led closer "Broken." Elsewhere, "Reach Out" and "Can I Go On" provide the kind of anthemic rallying calls we collectively get behind Sleater-Kinney for.
  7. Aug 14, 2019
    50
    Too many of the new songs sound diligent and derivative, as if Sleater-Kinney were working through a pop apprenticeship. It’s good to know that the group doesn’t want to repeat itself, that the band is also out to master 21st-century digital tools. But on “The Center Won’t Hold,” Sleater-Kinney hasn’t found its version 2.0.

See all 25 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Aug 16, 2019
    9
    With production by St. Vincent, Sleater-Kinney have crafted an album that's strong in its center.
  2. Aug 17, 2019
    7
    Seductive but a little bit lethargic. St. Vincent's production really took effect. At some point, it felt like Janet Weiss' strikes got ultraSeductive but a little bit lethargic. St. Vincent's production really took effect. At some point, it felt like Janet Weiss' strikes got ultra lifeless contrasted to Sleater-Kinney's past projects, noting that her departure might has something to do with it. Expand
  3. Aug 20, 2019
    7
    I find at times Sleater-Kinney to sound repetitive but overall they have always been a good band. On 'The Centre Won't Hold' I applaud themI find at times Sleater-Kinney to sound repetitive but overall they have always been a good band. On 'The Centre Won't Hold' I applaud them for trying a more radio friendly direction. The tracks feel more the left over b-sides of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and St. Vincent, which makes sense as it was produced by the latter. Overall a decent effort, I'm just not feeling the usual oomph they deliver.
    Listen to: Hurry On Home, Reach Out, Ruins.
    Expand