To Be Kind (studio album) by Swans

To Be Kind by Swans
Year: 2014
Release date: 2014-05-12
Overall rank: 256th   Overall chart historyOverall chart history
Average Rating: 
82/100 (from 800 votes)
  Ratings distributionRatings distribution   Average rating historyAverage rating history
Award Top 5 albums of 2014 (2nd)
Award Top 50 albums of the 2010s (30th)
Award Top 500 albums of all time (256th)
Product Details

Swans - To Be Kind (2 X CD)
Condition: Like New
Time left: 14m 52s
Ships to: Worldwide
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Swans-To Be Kind CD with DVD NEW
Condition: Brand New
Time left: 1h 26m 6s
Ships to: Worldwide

Swans: To Be Kind =LP vinyl *BRAND NEW*=
Condition: New
Time left: 18h 15m 9s
Ships to: Worldwide
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Swans bestography

To Be Kind is ranked as the best album by Swans.

Swans album bestography « Higher ranked This album (256th) Lower ranked (396th) »
-To Be KindSoundtracks For The Blind

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To Be Kind track list

  Track ratingsTrack ratings The tracks on this album have an average rating of 86 out of 100 (all tracks have been rated).

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To Be Kind ratings

Average Rating: 
82/100 (from 800 votes)
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n = number of ratings an item has currently received.
m = minimum number of ratings required for an item to appear in a 'top-rated' chart (currently 10).
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23 hours ago theblueboy  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 1,27080/100
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09/04/2021 17:43 teague  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 1,27981/100
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08/20/2021 20:30 VoicelessAuthor  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 22485/100
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08/16/2021 20:01 thenedt  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 78667/100
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08/13/2021 23:48 phantom1305  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 4,94473/100

Rating metrics: Outliers can be removed when calculating a mean average to dampen the effects of ratings outside the normal distribution. This figure is provided as the trimmed mean. A high standard deviation can be legitimate, but can sometimes indicate 'gaming' is occurring. Consider a simplified example* of an item receiving ratings of 100, 50, & 0. The mean average rating would be 50. However, ratings of 55, 50 & 45 could also result in the same average. The second average might be more trusted because there is more consensus around a particular rating (a lower deviation).
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This album is rated in the top 1% of all albums on This album has a Bayesian average rating of 82.3/100, a mean average of 80.6/100, and a trimmed mean (excluding outliers) of 82.4/100. The standard deviation for this album is 18.9.

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From 09/08/2021 21:38
Oxygen is just one of the best songs of all time!
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | 0 votes (0 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
From 09/04/2021 17:44
The deconstruction of rock. I really need to meditate on this to appreciate it fully.
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From 03/18/2021 04:07
This comment is beneath your viewing threshold.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | -5 votes (0 helpful | 5 unhelpful)
From 06/29/2020 14:36
Fav. Tracks:

- Screen Shot
- Bring The Sun / Toussaint L'Ouverture
- Oxygen
- To Be Kind
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +1 votes (1 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
From 03/30/2020 23:00
Throughout their extensive history, alternative rock pioneers Swans have made a habit of metamorphosing, trading in bone-crushing no-wave anthems for folk-inspired, religiously-tinged ballads. In 2010, Swans emerged once more with My Father will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky, another drastic change in form and direction, prioritizing prolonged excursions drenched in post-rock fueled repetition. This formula was the basis for 2014's To Be Kind, an album that championed the creative advantages of welding moments of ear-splitting fortissimo and hair-raising delicacy. Take A Little God in My Hands for example. Even the most well-traveled listeners have to be taken back by the atomic force of the horn-powered flurry that kicks off the middle of the track. To Be Kind showcases Swans not merely dabbling in a musical style unseen in their discography, but perfecting it.

The centerpiece is the 34 minute odyssey, Bring the Sun/Toussaint L'Ouverture. A track detailing a Haitian slave revolt with all the ferocity one could imagine. Incorporating horse whinnies and tribal chanting, the track dares one to ponder the music's inspiration, or even the headspace of the men crafting it. The most "straight-forward" rocker on the album is Oxygen, a song detailing an asthma attack with inertia that never ceases until the horn-soaked climax.

Rarely has an album been so visceral and so well-realized simultaneously. The frightening aspect behind it all is that it seems to flow through the band so effortlessly, almost as vessels for transcendent music powered by an unseen force. While its not a record for the conventional listener, you'd be hard-pressed to find an audiophile not displaced by To Be Kind's translucent beauty, or not horrified by its unfettered explicity. The album is simply a monolith of modern alternative music.

"May planets crash, may god rain ash, to sear our skin, to fold us in
Kneeling close, seeking hands, our blood is warm, but what comes next?"

-Kirsten Supine

Standout Tracks:

1. Oxygen
2. She Loves Us!
3. Screen Shot

Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +4 votes (4 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
From 02/24/2020 02:58
This whole record blew me away. It's an absolute masterpiece, in my top 5 for AOTD. The relentless repetition of The Seer reaches new depths on this record, whose sound I can only adequately describe as colossal. An absolute must-listen
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +1 votes (1 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
From 02/19/2020 03:25
favorite part: "YOUR NAME IS FUCK"
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From 11/12/2019 16:19
@jackbrown8786 There's no need for your passive-aggresive wiseass remarks. You are clearly contradicting yourself on your little sidenote. You say I'd be "objectively" wrong but then immediately say something about the uses of repitition in art. You do have some valid points, it does evolve within its repetition, and I have grown to like this album a little bit more over time. The repetitiveness is not necesarily a bad thing, it does work sometimes, and if Swans did the trick for you, then great. And yes, there are plenty of riffs to fill the 2 hour runtime, but that doesn't rule out the fact that is has repetition. Where your review fails is that you focus on criticizing people that didn't enjoy the album as much as you did, like they are idiots just because they have unpopular opinions. This is exactly the kind of thing that generates a toxic fanbase, and the band is not to blame. Praise the album all you want but your comment has a toxic vibe all over it, and oh the irony when you mention "the haters." Btw sorry for my non junior high English, it is not my first language.
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From 06/17/2019 14:10
"The Seer" was a triumph, an immense sonic fresco spanning two hours where Swans could express the most abject terror, the most fragile beauty, the deep madness, the humanity, the catharsis. It's the culmination of thirty years of musical work. "To Be Kind" can not necessarily do better, right? Well, it's better. Michael Gira could convince you that he has a connection with a supreme force. How to explain that Michael Gira releases two equally impressive records in two years? An irreproachable method of work with a band of carefully selected musicians. The staggering repetition of the chords may make the average listener doubtful, but once you enter Swans' universe, the repetition becomes normal, even necessary. Personally, "To Be Kind" makes me feel something monumental, something that I have rarely felt. It can be compared to "The Seer", of course, but I would also compare it to the contemplation of the cosmos: it is a unique and disturbing beauty and an immensity that makes you dizzy and makes you feel tiny.


Best track: "Screen Shot"
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From 03/19/2019 21:33
WARNING: The latest (2018/19) batch of this vinyl from comes with an error - Oxygen is pressed before Kirsten Supine and they're both on the same side of vinyl so it isn't like it was about fitting it all on 3 LPs. It's an admitted mistake. I just ordered directly from them and got this.... :(

Still obv great album. I only came to say that, but reading some of these comments has trolled me into a retaliation of sorts, sorry for the following.

Side note: "repetitive"? it's constantly evolving. do you really think that there aren't enough beats, bass lines, or riffs to fill a whole album? because you'd be objectively wrong. yeah it's stretched out a bit in parts, but is it so hard to understand the uses of repetition in art? don't you learn that in english sometime in junior high?

"pretentious"? these guys are in their 60's, do you really think they're just trying to make you think they're smart with this? there's just no way you could understand the messages here and believe that these guys give a damn about what anyone thinks of them. do you care what 20 year olds think of you? no offense to anyone who's 20, I guess to you: do you care what 15 year olds think of you?

"unenjoyable"? yeah, because all parts of this are CLEARLY MEANT to bring you joy but they just fail to. what are you even saying? "if it doesn't bring pleasure to my ear holes, keep it away from me." really? you don't care about art at all, do you? if you're only listening to music on the petty and selfish quest to please yourself then why are you even listening to a Swans record? there's probably a reason that you can't find a single negative review of this album from someone who's paid to listen and review. they're listening from a receptive, critical, objective perspective. not to "feel good."

I'm really sorry for you if you can't find any value in this. I guess you have to be out there though, everywhere. if you weren't, then the misanthropic perspective of Gira wouldn't even exist to bring this to us. so I guess in a roundabout way I'm trying to thank the haters.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +2 votes (6 helpful | 4 unhelpful)

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