Track-by-track review of Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats self-titled album

Zain Beverly

Pull up a chair and pour yourself something strong because Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweat’s first album of the same name is a jaunty set at a modern day saloon. The band’s titular lead, Nathaniel Rateliff, delivers a hearty helping of vintage R&B, Americana and folk in this tracklist.

Album cover art for Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats self-titled album

Track-by-track Review:


  • I Need Never Get Old – The opening track to this album is a tone setter and sampler of what’s to come. It has the driving pulse of Rateliff’s faster tracks, his half talking/half singing style, and the occasional slower segments for emotional emphasis. As the title suggests, the song speaks to a young irreverence. Rateliff needs someone’s love and nothing else matters.

  • Howling at Nothing – My personal favorite track of the album. It features a swinging groove that puts images of cowboy-hat clad bar patrons drunkenly swaying back and forth until it’s time to ‘howl’ out the chorus. A small chorus of voices backup Rateliff during said chorus, further cementing the feeling of being caught up in a crowd of people having a little too much fun.

  • Trying So Hard Not To Know – A heavier song than the first two, Trying So Hard Not To Know has a bouncing riff with the vocal equivalent of two friends karaoke-ing their troubles away. Fits the theme of the album, but a little underwhelming.

  • I’ve Been Failing –  The Night Sweats pull out the ragtime piano for this feel good tune about not getting too caught up over your failures. This features the same bouncy tempo as the earlier tracks with a tickling of the ivories that feels like it’s straight from the turn of the twentieth century.

  • S.O.B. – I let you puzzle out what the title stands for. Another personal favorite, S.O.B. brings the most kinetic energy of any track in the whole album. When I listen to it, I feel like I’m in the writhing mass of arms and legs of a chaotic barfight, and dammit I’m gonna win! Stomps, claps, and hums build up into an explosion of bright horns, yelling, and guitar licks that get me moving every time.

  • Wasting Time – This track is a sobering experience after the insanity of S.O.B. It’s slow, full-bodied, and hauntingly beautiful at times. The soundscape put together on this track is impressive. Full-bodied drums, meandering guitar licks, scattered piano riffs and mandolin picks, and mesmerizing vocals. 

  • Thank You –  This track feels like the closer of the ‘set’ of songs played up until now. It’s a laid back track that is literally thanking an audience at first and then a woman for helping Rateliff through whatever he’s going through. 

  • Look It Here – A fun song with the same bouncy drums as a few other songs up to now. Just a fun love song.

  • Shake – This song is something else entirely. It feels like we’ve creeped closer to the bayous of Louisiana with an undertone of something bubbling up underneath the track. Also, the song uses certain sounds in a rhythmic pattern to elicit an almost industrial feel to the track.

  • I’d Be Waiting – This track sounds like a classic rhythm and blues track about a man down on his luck and waiting for his love to come back to him. 

  • Mellow Out – The final track of the album evokes a feeling of happily whistling along to an old song you love. It’s got heady synths in the back, giving a dreamlike sense to the track, and the chorus embodies simple meandering thoughts with Rateliff simply vocalizing with the song.


Summary: The self titled album by Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats is a small-town concert in a box. Complete with raucous choruses to be sung by drunk crowds, to sobering tracks to soothe a hungover soul after the fact. This is easily a 4/5 sails from me.