“When Neil Finn closed the doors on Crowded House, all signs seemed to point to a more experimental direction for future solo releases; even the title of his first solo album, Try Whistling This, implies a reaction against his reputation for well-crafted, highly melodic songs” (Woodstra). "The title's a bit of an in-joke, with Finn making a conscious effort to flush the sprightly Beatle-isms…for a less obvious approach. Nice try: Denser and trickier" (Entertainment Weekly). “Neil Finn's solo debut carries much the same style and tone of his work with Crowded House--the intimate vocal delivery, the undeniably intelligent pop approach” (Wright). It is “only modestly less hummable embarassment of melodic riches" (Entertainment Weekly). “Finn is…probably incapable of writing a bad song” (half.ebay.com).
“Many of the songs are small snippets about love, how it changes, what it provides, and what it means” (half.ebay.com). “Never one to shy away from trying something new, Finn lives up to expectations and surpasses them with ease” (Marshall) by taking “a more somber, indirect approach” (Eonline.com) in developing the songs. “He shows restraint, tastefully incorporating more exotic effects while staying true to his high melodic standard and meticulous songcraft” (Woodstra). “Finn seems clearly freed from the restraints of being in a band” (Woodstra), allowing him to “dabble in experimentation” (Woodstra) while he still “retains his jaunty, intellectual edge” (Eonline.com). It makes for “his most complex and diverse set to date” (Woodstra).
The opening song is “the light and breezy Last One Standing” (Woodstra), which "moves along with a merry buoyancy not unlike that of [Crowded House’s] ‘Weather with You’” (Moll). It is followed by “the sweeping Souvenir” (Woodstra), which “is more the norm, with its catchy brand of melancholy” (Eonline.com).
Some of the more experimental songs include lead single Sinner, “a funky piece of many layers and textures” (Moll) that features a “mild trip-hop groove” (Woodstra). ”Dream Date finds Finn dabbling in a bit of psychedelia, and it works perfectly” (Marshall). The “Lennon-esque rocker” (Marshall) Loose Tongue “surprises with a guitar riff reminiscent of Aerosmith” (Eonline.com) while “the feedback and distorted vocals of the paranoid Twisty Bass” (Woodstra) give that song “an almost industrial sound” (Marshall).
“While several…songs have a darker, more exotic tone…Finn…still has a flair for writing a memorable melody” (Marshall), most notably on “the instant pop classic” (Woodstra) of the “Celtic-sounding” (half.ebay.com) “She Will Have Her Way, Truth, and the lullaby-like Faster Than Light” (Marshall). Addicted displays "a quiet stillness punctuated by a tinkly piano, is mellow and soft without resembling elevator music. It's masterful and moving in ways only Finn can dream up” (Moll).
Finally, there is the “delicate atmospheric” (Woodstra) title track, a “piano-based ballad” (half.ebay.com) that is both “wistful and ominous” (Eonline.com). It is “a beautiful song that ranks among Finn's greatest musical accomplishments” (Marshall).
Ultimately, this album is “a step ahead for [Finn]: innovative enough to indicate artistic progress, but not so radically different from his previous work that his fans will miss the qualities that attracted them to him in the first place” (Moll). It is “some of Finn's best work yet, and in a nearly flawless catalog like his, that's quite impressive” (Woodstra).