American Songwriter's Scores

  • Music
For 752 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 50% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 46% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 1 point lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 71
Highest review score: 100 Nevermind [20th Anniversary Edition]
Lowest review score: 20 Dancing Backward in High Heels
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 4 out of 752
752 music reviews
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    That sense of hostile irony may be one of the most underrated qualities on Nevermind, whose sly dismissals and cagey lyrics sound like an extension of Cobain's scabrous guitars and Dave Grohl's thundering drums.
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Their finest album, 1977’s Rumours, addresses with heart and sharp insight the romantic disengagements and re-entanglements of the members in the free-spirited, free-love 1970s.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Part of what made Nirvana’s final studio album so monumental was everything that made Nevermind a classic--an abrasive retooling of the pop songwriting handbook.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A well-known perfectionist, it took her eight years to craft and release these tunes that fly by in just under 40 minutes. Every one is a gem.... This is the first title on Williams’ own label--a new album is due in mid-2014--and is essential listening for every Lucinda fan and anyone even tangentially touched by her timeless music.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Little more needs to be emphasized about the lasting importance of these prototypes other than this third reissue tweaks the sound with Page’s new remastering revealing nuances in the playing and arrangements that further enhance their already substantial historical cachet.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Little more needs to be emphasized about the lasting importance of these prototypes other than this third reissue tweaks the sound with Page’s new remastering revealing nuances in the playing and arrangements that further enhance their already substantial historical cachet.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Little more needs to be emphasized about the lasting importance of these prototypes other than this third reissue tweaks the sound with Page’s new remastering revealing nuances in the playing and arrangements that further enhance their already substantial historical cachet.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It's a beautifully understated album of personal confessions, wandering thoughts and worldly observations, all rendered with the assurance of a naturally gifted vocalist, one who clearly has no need for auto-tune or other irritating tonal tampering devices.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    A fierce backing band, Okkervil River lends them drama, tension and a cinematic pomp that underscores the miraculous nature of Erickson's recovery.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It's about people, and Mellencamp continues to write and sing about them better and better with each passing year.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The Union brings up two very good points again and again: No amount of celebrity shenanigans or animated transgressions can eclipse the fact that Elton John is an absolutely amazing musician and there's a never-ending list of reasons why Leon Russell is your favorite musician's favorite musician.
    • 100 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It's geek rock's holy grail courtesy of the sub-genre's flagship band, and an album that, though rife with sincerity, songwriter Rivers Cuomo has seemed to run farther and farther away from ever since.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    After the celebri-beef and ALL CAPS blog posts fade away, Fantasy will stand as an album that dare to push the entire medium of recorded music forward, for better or worse.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Since PJ Harvey is a veteran artist who, in her 20-year career, has yet to either make a bad record or repeat herself, to call her latest, Let England Shake, one of her strongest efforts to date is a bold statement, but it's true--this a brilliant record by an artist impervious to aging.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    For folks new to the Truckers, intrigued but a little overwhelmed by their rather expansive catalog, this is the album to start with.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    For their part, the band is spotless. The majority of the record adheres to the lilting and forlorn brand of country that one might expect from an album called Invariable Heartache.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The words are as woodsy and quaint as ever. Pecknold seems to take his inspiration from classic British poetry, and rarely refers to objects, characters, or events that would place him in the 21st century, relying instead on imagery like old stone fountains, seeds, keys, sand, and the night sky.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Strange Mercy is more mysterious than its predecessors, the references more obscure, but it also feels more personal.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    What truly makes the album memorable--and what makes it arguably Bondy's best--is the atmosphere that pervades every song.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    If Wilco (The Album) was the band tempering their experimental nature into something more accessible, The Whole Love refines that approach and showcases the full range of Wilco's considerable abilities.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Even as he enters his 60s, Waits still sounds as lively and as cagey as ever, indulging both his most brazen and his most sentimental urges to upend all of our expectations.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Four the Record retain all the pain and personality that drove those dark songs [of her first two albums] and redirects her energies toward some of her best and most eloquent singing and songwriting yet.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Though this remastered 40th Anniversary Edition tightens and polishes every tone, L.A. Woman isn't exactly a studio marvel.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Bruce Springsteen's Wrecking Ball is that rare release that manages to fulfill, defy, and exceed expectations all at once.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The only thing that the Immersion Edition is really missing is any extensive liner notes.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    This record is urgent, pissed, strident and macabre.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    You'd be mistaken to pass up the greatest album of Loudon Wainwright III's four-decade career, and an easy frontrunner for this year's best album, period, as 2012 enters its second half.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Mermaid Avenue project is essential for showing that Woody Guthrie could illuminate what was going on inside of him as well as he could detail the plight of his fellow man.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Sun
    For a songwriter with nearly two decades of performing under her belt, Marshall has never sounded so youthful or commanding.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Tempest is fantastic, but being impressed by Dylan is old hat. That he still finds ways to surprise us is an achievement beyond all comprehension.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    For how uncharacteristic it might seem for a band whose greatest gift, all along, was nuance, this louder take suits the band brilliantly.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Everything connects emotionally and musically in front of an enthusiastic crowd on one of the year's best and most vibrant live albums.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Carry On stuns from start to finish and the quality only increases with each repeat listen.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    As bright and warm a guitar-based indie pop album as that [debut album, Gorilla Manor] was, it left a fair amount of room for expansion and maturity. On second album Hummingbird, that growth is readily apparent from the first track.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    As diverse as ever, this is the kind of comeback every once-defunct act strives for but few deliver with the consistency and sheer enthusiasm exhibited here.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The absurdity and terror that Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds have so often courted aren’t absent on Push The Sky Away. They’re just muted, and rendered all the more seductive via lush arrangements and Cave’s crooning baritone.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Her major label debut, which moves from country waltz to roadhouse blues, from rootsy singer-songwriter narratives to irresistible country pop, follows its own relentless arrow throughout, and the result is one of the most fully-formed, arresting debuts Nashville’s seen in years.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Both as a songwriter and as a performer, Laura Marling has never soared so majestically.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    There are standouts everywhere.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    This album is harrowing and not for the timid, but those who stick with it will be treated to a truthful, moving journey and a master class in songwriting to boot.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    His keen insights into human nature and today’s America are revealed in melodic, deeply-felt tunes on Still Fighting The War, which ranks as one of the year’s best singer-songwriter albums.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    This terrific batch of songs needs no such handicap to be recommended as a perfect way for newcomers to start a musical relationship with Clark’s burnished Americana or for existing fans to continue theirs.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    While it doesn’t include some of his best post-jail efforts, the set documents the beginning of one of the greatest second acts in rock history.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Wise Up Ghost is a fearless, invigorating gut-punch of a record, one that never settles and surprises from start to finish.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Surveys of his life and work still manage to produce fresh revelations, and American Radical Patriot, Rounder Records’ just-released collection of government-related Guthrie recordings, provides extraordinary new insight into the complex mind of this simple-sounding folk icon.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The accompanying live DVD, recorded at Shoreline Amphitheatre in 1992, is a good-enough bonus, rather than a must-have live document. These are minor quibbles of course; a whole stack of tacky badges couldn’t stand in the way of Your Arsenal being absolutely essential.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Though these songs cry out for DVD treatment, this audio-only collection is still an unparalleled document.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    When it’s all over, you listen again, with equal amazement. No, albums like this one don’t come along very often.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    This stunning entry into his already impressive catalog shows he refuses to rest on his laurels.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Ryan Adams as an album might not be uplifting but it sure is outstanding, reaffirming the singular talent of its namesake.