World Without Tears

World Without Tears is the seventh studio album by American singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams, released on April 8, 2003, by Lost Highway Records. The album debuted at No. 18 on the Billboard 200, selling 54,000 copies in its first week.[1] By 2008, it had sold 415,000 copies in the U.S.[2]

World Without Tears
World Without Tears.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 8, 2003
GenreRock and roll, roots rock, Americana, alternative, folk rock
LabelLost Highway
ProducerMark Howard, Lucinda Williams
Lucinda Williams chronology
World Without Tears
Live @ The Fillmore

The album was a widespread critical and commercial success, and earned Williams two Grammy Award nominations in 2004; Best Contemporary Folk Album and Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for the track "Righteously".[3]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic     [5]
Blender     [6]
Entertainment WeeklyA[7]
Los Angeles Times    [8]
Mojo     [9]
Q     [10]
Rolling Stone     [11]
Uncut     [13]
The Village VoiceA−[14]

World Without Tears was met with widespread critical acclaim. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 87, based on 18 reviews.[4] Spin magazine's Robert Levine believed Williams had returned to "the painful sensuality of the specific" on World Without Tears,[12] while Will Hermes from Entertainment Weekly said the "profoundly carnal" record sounded "noisier and randier" than 2001's Essence.[7] Robert Hilburn deemed it "a rock 'n' roll workout" in his review for the Los Angeles Times, writing that its edgiest songs sounded "close to the raw, disoriented feel" of the Rolling Stones' 1972 album Exile on Main St.[8]'s review called it "dark, sleazy and impeccably rock'n'roll" while declaring Williams was "making some of the most essential roots-rock music around."[15]

According to music essayist Kathryn Jones, World Without Tears found Williams continuing her Americana, alternative, and folk-rock sounds on songs that reflected her life since moving from Nashville to Los Angeles.[16] In The Village Voice, Robert Christgau said while the songs were merely "pretty good" rather than "great," Williams compensated with "lowdown, dirty, smoky" music that relied on grooves and riffs. He compared it to a Sue Foley album but with better lyrics, particularly on "Those Three Days" and "Sweet Side."[14] Rolling Stone journalist Karen Schoemer was less impressed. She praised the music's "gorgeous amalgams of country, blues and Southern rock," but was disappointed in how relentlessly bleak the lyrics were, finding them lacking her past work's "wounded innocence" and "sweetness."[11]

Track listingEdit

Credits adapted from the album's liner notes.[17]

1."Fruits of My Labor"Lucinda Williams4:41
4."Real Live Bleeding Fingers and Broken Guitar Strings"Williams4:40
6."Those Three Days"Williams4:53
8."Sweet Side"Williams3:34
10."People Talkin'"Williams5:05
11."American Dream"Williams4:30
12."World Without Tears"Williams4:11
13."Words Fell"Williams4:11
Total length:59:53


  • Lucinda Williams – vocals, acoustic and electric guitars
  • Doug Pettibone – electric guitars, harmonies, mandolin ("People Talkin")
  • Taras Prodaniuk – bass, harmonies
  • Jim Christie – drums, wurlitzer ("American Dream"), vox organ ("Ventura", "Minneapolis")


Chart (1998) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[18] 80
Netherlands (Dutch Charts)[19] 81
Swedish Albums Chart[20] 24
UK Albums Chart[21] 48
US Billboard 200[22] 18


  1. ^ Todd Martens, "Godsmack Takes 'Faceless' Straight To No. 1",, April 16, 2003.
  2. ^ Caulfield, Keith. "Ask Billboard – Williams' Wild 'West'". Billboard. February 8, 2008.
  3. ^ "Artist: Lucinda Williams". Recording Academy. 2021. Retrieved March 15, 2021.
  4. ^ a b "Reviews for World Without Tears by Lucinda Williams". Metacritic. Retrieved January 21, 2017.
  5. ^ Jurek, Thom. "World Without Tears – Lucinda Williams". AllMusic. Retrieved January 21, 2017.
  6. ^ Powers, Ann (April 2003). "Lucinda Williams: World Without Tears". Blender (15): 126. Archived from the original on August 13, 2004. Retrieved January 21, 2017.
  7. ^ a b Hermes, Will (April 11, 2003). "World Without Tears". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on February 5, 2017. Retrieved January 21, 2017.
  8. ^ a b Hilburn, Robert (April 6, 2003). "Williams is on an exploration for 'World Without Tears'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 21, 2017.
  9. ^ "Lucinda Williams: World Without Tears". Mojo (115): 94. June 2003.
  10. ^ "Lucinda Williams: World Without Tears". Q (202): 144. May 2003.
  11. ^ a b Schoemer, Karen (March 25, 2003). "World Without Tears". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 21, 2017.
  12. ^ a b Levine, Robert (May 2003). "Lucinda Williams: World Without Tears". Spin. 19 (5): 109. Retrieved January 21, 2017.
  13. ^ "Lucinda Williams: World Without Tears". Uncut (88): 72. May 2003.
  14. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (June 3, 2003). "Eating Again". The Village Voice. Retrieved January 21, 2017.
  15. ^ Anon. (April 23, 2003). "Lucinda Williams – World Without Tears". Retrieved January 21, 2017.
  16. ^ Jones, Kathryn (2016). "Lucinda Williams: Poets of Places in the Heart". In Clifford, Craig E.; Hills, Craig (eds.). Pickers and Poets: The Ruthlessly Poetic Singer-Songwriters of Texas. Texas A&M University Press. ISBN 1623494478.
  17. ^ World Without Tears (booklet). Lucinda Williams. Lost Highway Records. 2003.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  18. ^ "Lucinda Williams chart history". Retrieved 2021-10-02.
  19. ^ "Dutch Charts > Lucinda Williams". Dutch Album Top 100. Retrieved 2021-10-02.
  20. ^ "Swedish Charts > Lucinda Williams". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 2021-10-02.
  21. ^ "Official Charts > Lucinda Williams". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2021-10-02.
  22. ^ "Billboard 200 > Lucinda Williams". Billboard. Retrieved 2021-10-02.

External linksEdit