American Songwriter's Scores

  • Music
For 778 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 In Utero [20th Anniversary Edition]
Lowest review score: 20 Muppets: The Green Album
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 4 out of 778
778 music reviews
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It is a monumental album in everything from the scope of its subject matter to its grand instrumentation and production.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Here's To Taking It Easy stands as a triumphant proclamation of Phosphorescent's ongoing ability to provide quality heartbreaking Americana.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It may have taken her over 20 years, but today Sheryl Crow is retrieving and expanding upon those parts of her artistic sensibility that had always been there.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    With guest artists like '60s organmeister Booker T. and Americana legends Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings, Jones and Johns have made a real statement in the same way that Rubin, and of course T Bone Burnett, do almost every time they produce an album. That statement is that the same people who set the bar decades ago for so many of today's acts to measure up to are still making a lot of today's best music. Praise and Blame raises that bar just a little higher.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The Suburbs ends on a dark, dystopian note with a little 90-second deconstruction of the title track, leaving you to wonder if the "screaming" alluded to earlier might not always be the joyful kind. That kind of ambiguity is what makes Arcade Fire's deceptively simple music all the more intriguing.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    He may be feeling wounded by love, but Escovedo's follow-up to 2008's career-defining Real Animals is an almost equally strong testament to his durability.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    In these tough times, Thile's words, and the album as a whole, are more effective than the titular tonic at staving off inclement weather, at least of the emotional variety. A strong dose of Antifogmatic goes a long way.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The crooning background vocals rise and trade phrases with a simple guitar solo that follows the melody of the main vocal line. It's a flush and full sound in perfect pairing with a sentiment that defines the entire album.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The now mature musical relationship pays dividends as the baritone crooning of Lanegan and Campbell's breathy, Nico-inflected singing continue to deliver an atmospheric payoff.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Bingham made a challenging record, opted to go the Bad Blake route instead of going down in a blaze of ponytails and designer jeans, and that ensures his relevance for years to come.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    What matters is that this is a really good record, and while it would have been nice to hear some instrumental breakdowns--especially from banjo player Richard Bailey, who is way understated--it's nice to know that Nashville is capable of putting out something besides more bad pop.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    There are no enduring classics here like the songs on 2007's Live At Massey Hall, or anything to rival the material that helped define late '70s AOR from, say, American Stars 'n Bars or Rust Never Sleeps. But this is a record well worth having, and it's a blessing that we still have enduring artists like Neil Young creating such vital music.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Familiar but undeniably brand new, Halcyon Digest is forty-six minutes well spent--a loop that can repeated as many times as you'd like. Stay patient. If you skip out on a track, you'll be missing something.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    As a project, The Incredible Machine succeeds big time, and may make these guys even less welcome to certain factions of Music Row as they continue to change the face of what is considered country.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Over the course of 16 tracks, Costello flexes his stylistic muscles and exercises that famously acerbic wit.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This type of music has been done before in a different time, same place--the album was recorded in Nashville--but it hasn't been done this well in quite a while.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This record is all over the map, showing how widespread Loretta Lynn's influence has been on the generations of performers who have followed her.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Like many a great singer-songwriter, Snider possesses neither an exceptional voice or above average guitar skills. What he does bring to the party, though, is his own inimitable point of view: a wry, self-deprecating, seemingly slightly stoned, hilarious, and authentic persona.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    In a word, Abigail Washburn's City of Refuge shines. It is a folk-pastiche that draws on all of Washburn's past successes and crafts them together into a lovely and sometimes mysterious work of art.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Bella is a flat-out stunner, the work of a completely original songwriter and performer, and one of the young year's most startlingly eclectic and thoroughly fascinating albums.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Contradictory emotions push against each other in each line and verse, pulling the listener between envy and pity for the characters that inhabit each song, and often with envy/pity switching sides on each additional listen.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    As much as this album sounds like a final chapter, a loose-end knotting affair designed as a summary statement, there are no subplots left unresolved.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Twelve members and five records in and the Dears have made their best album yet -– Degeneration Street is one of the rock albums to live up to in 2011.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The Low Anthem are desperately trying to say something, even if that message is not always crystal clear.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Long Player, Late Bloomer is a record certainly worthy of being played for a long, long time to come.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Blessed ultimately remains an optimistic record that juxtaposes her typically heartrending croon.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This record is way cool. It may not seem like it upon first listen, but after a couple spins it's hard to forget.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Even without his electric axe (and accompanying pedal board and crater of Marshall stacks) Mascis is still a virtuso.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Middle Brother is a prediction of great things to come. It's a promise that a new generation of songwriters is rising up to carry and brilliantly build on the tradition.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Reportedly recorded in three days, and obviously without many overdubs in such a short span, What Makes Bob Holler is an excellent recording by three skilled musicians who can seemingly just tune up and play, something that's becoming increasingly rare these days