BBC Music's Scores

  • Music
For 1,831 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 68% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 28% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 1.7 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 73
Highest review score: 100 Mid Air
Lowest review score: 20 If Not Now, When?
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 7 out of 1831
1831 music reviews
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Referring to Quakers as a collective is a touch disingenuous.... But, fresh and subtle spins on hip hop are sufficiently widespread throughout this set that it's just about the only complaint worth making.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    One of 'dance'-in-2012's very best albums.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    ECM may have its detractors, but they've given us an unexpected gem here and maybe one of the jazz records of the year so far.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It's far ahead enough of that competition, intellectually and inspirationally, to exist on another plane of appreciation altogether.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    There is so much personality, poetry, vulnerability and resilience here that most other records sound like dry runs by comparison.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Forget the boycotts and controversy, and marvel once again at the magic that Simon conjured up on Graceland.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    One of the essential debuts of the year so far.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    With staggering live versions of Spoon and Mushroom to boot, The Lost Tapes turns out to be even rarer than its contents: a collection almost as vital as Can's official album output.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Similarly reissued in expanded form it presents proof that, even on sunnier days, Mould still had angst to burn.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Gojira is one of the finest bands of our generation, and with L'Enfant Sauvage they've created another album to suit such a reputation.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The criticisms are minor--a couple of tracks slide back into familiar Americana, but even then there's no sense of the band coasting.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    This nearly flawless collection is simply the next step in the Baroness saga, and it's a beautiful one.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Dazzling.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Purity Ring have pulled off the feat of producing one of the year's most arresting debuts – a Grimm Tales for the 2010s, shrouded in the illusory threads of contemporary club music – while sounding like no-one else but themselves.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    This is a glorious summation of Blur's career, placing them firmly amongst the very best bands of all time.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It's a vast, revealing monument to the genius of Ray Davies and one of the greatest British bands of all time.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    There's nothing "next" about Ware: she's here, now, and superb.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The Seer might not be the album you spend most time with this year--it's too emotionally demanding for heavy rotation – but it's one you'll be listening to for years to come.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    There is no doubt in this mind that Narrows have created one of the hardcore albums of 2012. There is a strange kind of beauty in unbridled monstrosity, and Painted is a stunning behemoth of an album.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    In terms of conceptual realisation, Liquid Swords is a blueprint for the perfect Wu record.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Surrender your mind, body and soul to the Goat and one of the year's best albums so far.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It's a marvellous, spine-tingling journey around some not-so-obvious American songs, and also a stunning tutorial in different American music styles, strung together by LaVette's sensuous singing... Possibly the best set of songs she's ever recorded.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Until the Quiet Comes further catapults Ellison into the cosmos and away from all things terrestrial. He's the king of his domain, and there is no runner-up.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It transcends the boundaries and expectations of its genre--even those previously set by the very band that made it.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Godspeed have once again created a challenging, intense, evocative work, worthy of their canon.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Understated and thoughtful, The Violence is a true folk record that should rightfully see Hayman recognised as the national treasure that he clearly is.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Despite the spare instrumentation, there's no sense of repetition or lack of variety, and these emotive, excellent songs stay with you. A late contender for album of the year.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Overall, Rage Against the Machine has aged extremely well.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Mellon Collie is no masterpiece, but its ambition is clearer than anything else Corgan has ever been involved with.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    An extraordinary record.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Fortunately, the remainder of the album is a powerful, intimate, sumptuous delight in which the orchestra enhances the innate grandeur of Antony's music.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The result a stunning, profound, moving and soulful record.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Ten
    Ten is incredible. It's up there with Gold, Substance and Discography in terms of greatest-hits sets.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    With its high-minded lyrical concerns, its family-sized choruses and its authors' buoyant pursuit of what, in lesser hands, could be a restrictive musical form, True North is a superior addition to Bad Religion's already towering body of work.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The end-of-year lists for 2012 are barely gone from recent memory, but you can expect to read about Vertikal again in 11 months' time.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    This treasure trove of well-recorded European broadcasts from ORTF and Swedish Radio represents the first official CD set tracking Miles in transition from acoustic quintet to all-out fusion.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    An LP as weighty, compelling and brilliant as The Bad Seeds have ever produced.
    • 99 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    With its extra content engineered to appeal to collectors and casual fans alike, this is a justified addition to the many Rumours already making the rounds.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The two hours of Exai is something else. This is Autechre operating at their highest level since 1998’s LP5.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The Deserters, given a chance, will completely negate any such journalistic silliness with just one listen, because it is a jolt of psychedelic, oozing instrumental wonder and songwriting magnificence.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The initial surprise on this follow-up is discovering that Grant’s songs work as well--if not even better--when paired with a synth-pop backing rooted more in the 1980s than the preceding decade.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Meir is an album that will be regarded with such reverence that it’ll be a marker for other acts’ work to be compared to in the future.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Shaking the Habitual is something else, but it’s hard not to find that profoundly exhilarating.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Whether as the fanfare arrival of a unique new voice or the peculiar indulgence of a future cult classic, this is an album that has to be heard to be believed.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    This is the most exciting and substantial Coleman release of the last few years, rigorously challenging, pumped with insinuating melodies, sleek with propulsive energies and pulsating with a uniquely globular funkiness.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Now
    This is grown-up, frequently gorgeous music that epitomises the very best in neo-soul.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This is the sound of the Noughties – electro enough without being harsh, interesting without being over-cool, quirky without being weird. Empire Of The Sun have cracked the perfect blend of fond reflection and sexy new frontier frisson. If this is what the future sounds like, then it's going to be beautiful.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The performances are terrific, and although the songs are from the more obscure end of the Western Swing repertoire, with the exception of Corrine Corrina and Right or Wrong, it’s an excellent introduction to this music--a delightful blend of country, swing and jazz.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's a complex, winding late-night soundtrack that doesn't move too fast, but never stops to question the judgement of its own unique outsider logic.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This is a terrific and subtly clever album, a(nother) spirited and worthwhile challenge by Paisley to the prejudices of both sides of country's enduring schism.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This is an album of surprising tenderness, of intricate (and, importantly, memorable) melodies and deep emotions, and everyman ruminations on love and life that will surely connect with long-standing fans and newcomers alike.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Despite the bounty of overdubs, however, there’s little self-indulgence to There Is No Enemy; Martsch’s overloaded approach might scream ‘prog’, but he also possesses a perfectly-disciplined, ‘pop’ songwriting sensibility, with every lengthy instrumental coda married to contagious choruses and melodic barbs that lodge in the mind.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Yet despite the melancholy mood, We’re On Your Side is far from depressing. Slaraffenland possess a wistfully melodic knack akin to The Beach Boys if they’d never managed to get off the Sloop John B, and there is much to admire in the multi-faceted arrangements.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Bell’s vocals are mountain-fresh like Frida and Agnetha’s and the songs they’ve written are walloping feel-good anthems with the sort of cacophonous choruses that would knock Mika and The Feeling into the middle of next week.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    While it lacks the freshness that saw it named one of Pitchfork's best albums of last year, there's no doubting that Palomo's best efforts retain their charm a year since they were first heard.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Although Stronger with Each Tear may not be one of her greatest works, it ensures that Blige remains as relevant as any of her more recent contemporaries.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Within Spoon's astute use of sunny structure, a brooding heart of murky frustration lurks. A deceptive, addictive album, revelling in hidden depths.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Lawrence Arabia's narrator persona, with one foot sternly in the past and the other staggering, trying desperately to get away, loiters before it settles. This makes Chant Darling a charming listen whose dolorous sentiment recurs like a welcome motif, each song taking time to reveal its full charm.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    End Times plays to Everett’s strengths, offering enough intrigue and wonder to keep happy listeners new and old.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    IRM
    At times it is so minimal and skeletal, the songs are in need of intensive care. Yet it is unafraid to rock (Trick Pony, Dandelion) or be resolutely commercial.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    There are impressive experimental excursions here, too: take Never Say Never, a whirl of backwards beats, twinkling harps and discombobulated vocals that’s both utterly disorientating and quite delightful.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    More serious but still jittery, and not without detritus, this is the album that will decide the longevity of Los Campesinos!.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The most unmistakeable sound on Teen Dream is that of a band truly finding its own voice. In so doing, they may just have minted the new decade’s first essential album.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It’s a theme that recurs throughout the record, and, indeed, that defines the Four Tet canon: mesmeric, melody-laden music, with varying degrees of difficulty. There is Love in You should be a fine introductory course.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The new sound features a dense, Dave Fridmann-like production: pumping, parping, squelching sounds familiar to those from The Flaming Lips, or MGMT, but rarely coupled to such strong hooks, or vocal performances, by either.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    From a palette of familiar reference points, they've created a fresh, vital sound that could prove to be the basis of an impressive career.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It’s a neo-soul record. A very good one, because that’s what she does, her passionate voice bringing abundant personality.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Barnett's blue-sky dreaming is actually a pretty accurate description of Hidden – heavily beat-driven, almost entirely absent of guitars, and laced with large amounts of elaborately arranged woodwind and brass. Does it work? Largely, yes.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Fool’s Gold stretch Western pop templates out into African shapes; and this debut album belies their name by being a genuine gem.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The Sea, produced as per the debut by Steve Brown and Steve Chrisanthou, is no self-indulgent lack of tunes-fest. Even at its bleakest--"Closer," say, or "Love's on Its Way," where there is "blood on the streets"--the music and melodies draw you in, and even when they follow their own lushly orchestrated circuitous path, they seem to dare you to drift away.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It’s experimental but aimed at embracing an audience first and furthering its makers' out-there adventures second. As such, it’s the most instantly rewarding Pit Er Pat album yet, and deserves to take the duo to a new level of recognition.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The band’s phlegm-clotted bark and crisp four-chord surges remain intact throughout, whilst at the same time appearing more refined and steadily more adventurous.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Unicorn is that rarest of things: a record imbued with genuine talent and emotion which wipes the floor with the majority of its makers’ contemporaries, while calling to mind the classic vocals of Karen Carpenter and the pioneering spirit of Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Quite startling.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Perhaps finding mass appeal has given Tim Smith and his band-mates the confidence to take their ideas into darker, brooding waters, and further harness the influence of classic British prog-folk. But whatever the motivation, it's a mood that suits.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This album doesn’t bristle with the sonic daring of Dangerfield’s usual work; instead, it offers love songs, largely unadorned with stylistic quirks or brash arrangements, a document of a life pulling into focus.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    So, despite promising little, Turn Ons proves to be quite the diverting delight, albeit one you're unlikely to return to once a new Supergrass album arrives.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    In The Music Scene, Blockhead has made both pretty melancholic tracks and straight-up thump-the-desk bangers bedfellows, and for that the new decade should be eternally thankful.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Each track is certainly jam-packed with ideas, but they are woven tight and worked to perfection with the help of producer and mixer Ben Allen (Animal Collective, Gnarls Barkley) who has clearly done a sterling job of making sense of Hynes’ ridiculously overactive imagination.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    I’m New Here is an unlikely but triumphant return, packed full of sadness, experience and an underlying feeling of someone making peace with their mistakes and regrets.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Good Shoes have home-produced a record worthy of similar plaudits; there’s both hope and future here in abundance.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    However, as the album progresses, with its mix of violins, guitar, synths and fitful percussion, a paradoxical mood and feel is established – desolate yet comforting, glacial yet warm, remote yet intimate, never more so than on Summer Fog.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The resultant pieces feel so alive that you can almost sense the pressure of Frahm’s fingers alighting on each key as these solemn improvisations begin to weave their magic.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    She's not displaying much in the way of stylistic evolution, but it's not exactly certain whether this is a negative factor. As ever, raging raw emotion shouts out of Niblett's gullet, whilst sludge-chords resound from her low-hung axe, following the Nirvana (and thence PJ Harvey) school of quiet-then-loud, loud-then-quiet, but nevertheless imposing her own unpredictabilities on this dynamic.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Few records in 2010 will contain songs quite so mind-bogglingly broad, playful, beguilingly pretty and intense as these slowly unfurling ensemble pieces.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    There is gospel organ (Be That Easy) and a mid-tempo reggae-ish gait on Babyfather, but mostly Soldier of Love is as mournfully one-paced as previous Sade albums, with the same attention to texture and surface lustre but, alas, not to melody or moving autobiography.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    More than a holding operation while Thomson tours with Ian F. Svenonius as two-man funk caravan Publicist, this is travelling music for swinging around asteroids or hurtling down a ravine.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    With 33 tracks stretching well over two hours, A Reality Tour isn’t exactly suited to single-sitting listening. It’s also far from a genuine greatest hits collection, though it certainly does feature a number of Bowie’s most-loved songs. But it is a great document of one of the world’s most inspirational recording artists.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Downtown Church is full of astonishing songs.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Occasionally augmented by beautifully restrained strings, there’s a kind of heat-haze shimmer evident, of a kind that gave Bobbie Gentry’s sound some of its mystery and magic.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    There was a time when it seemed anything emanating from a Chicago zip code was essential. That time may have passed, but if you're in any way interested in atmospheric, exploratory music that creates worlds as it progresses, seek Boca Negra out.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A refreshing, unusual and diverting first record from two new talents, then, and one to recommend for jaded electro and indie fans who felt the New York scene had gone as far as it could with art-skronk.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    As far as second albums go, it is a brilliantly bold, robust work, showcasing real development and the kind of graceful erudition that places Regan squarely ahead of the curve.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    There's not much more British than slightly freaky folk music. As if to prove the point, Erland Cooper has mined these pleasant pastures for a debut album of depth and weird beauty.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Across its many and varied pieces, this collection proves that Field Music truly are a gem of a band.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This third solo album is a cracking collection, one that rings with the depth of twang comparable only to the likes of the legendary Ry Cooder.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Replete with moments of jubilance and tranquillity, cataclysm and contemplation, it feels like the successful culmination of everything the band have been aiming towards over their career to date.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It’s focused, and superbly executed, but forgoes immersive longevity for determined immediacy.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Dear God… is as engagingly weird as anything before, but flows so much better by incorporating the customary sonic terrorism into verse-chorus-verse songs, rather than breaking off for performance poetry about living in the shadow of suicide, or (say) war as legitimate barbarism for jocks.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    As an album, it is huge, sometimes overwhelming-- but such is the strength and individuality of Newsom’s vision, it seems almost inconceivable she could produce anything unremarkable.