Billboard.com's Scores

  • Music
For 639 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 86% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 11% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 5.4 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 77
Highest review score: 95 My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Lowest review score: 47 Shock Value II
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 0 out of 639
639 music reviews
    • 94 Metascore
    • 95 Critic Score
    Needless to say, West has proved once again that he is most on point in the face of adversity.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 95 Critic Score
    Blunderbuss isn't just (arguably) the best album of the year so far, it opens up a whole new world for him.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 94 Critic Score
    The SMiLE Sessions captures Wilson, session musicians and the Beach Boys in moments that are chaotic, loopy and remarkably in synch. It's a consistently brilliant album.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 94 Critic Score
    No matter what Ocean's mood is on the album, the songs sound fantastic.... it's one of the best albums of the year.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 94 Critic Score
    September has been a profoundly great month for new female vocalists in popular music, but Lorde is easily the most vocally striking and lyrically thought-provoking. Pure Heroine is honest and addictive.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 93 Critic Score
    Martin largely shuns easy romanticism for more assertive messages that celebrate liberation and diversity, themes that can be associated with his coming out last year.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 93 Critic Score
    The 10-track set barely has a weak moment and actually ends too soon. It's like '90s alt-rock had a child who suddenly grew up beautiful.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 93 Critic Score
    So Beautiful or So What is vintage Simon, but it's also all over the map stylistically, touching on blues, African, folk, Indian and more. The music is unmistakably his, but finds the artist challenging himself melodically and with his phrasing.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 93 Critic Score
    With Father, Son, Holy Ghost, the band has vaulted the equivalent of three albums ahead, taking the conciseness of the EP and confounding expectations.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 92 Critic Score
    This smart four-disc package commemorates the concert's 40th anniversary with a pristine remastered version of the original recording, five previously unreleased songs from the same show and an entire disc devoted to the fiery opening acts, B.B. King and Ike & Tina Turner.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 92 Critic Score
    The result is an album that was absolutely worth the seven-year wait, not to mention the mountain of hype atop which Apple has sat since her big comeback at SXSW in March.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 92 Critic Score
    Muse fans will have a hard time being disappointed by "The 2nd Law," and rookies have a new perfect place to jump in.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 92 Critic Score
    She may be changing direction, but that swagger is still intact.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Sale el Sol manages to bridge the divide between the old and new Shakira with a spark that keeps you listening to the very end.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    On the follow-up to her 2009 breakthrough album, "Bird-Brains," Merrill Garbus (aka Tune-Yards) again creates a clamorous assemblage of warm, overdriven kitchen-sink instrumentation, field hollering, layered stacks of processed vocals and a sonic smorgasbord culled from the world cafe-only more so.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Rawlings' guitar work is an engaging mix of the decorative and functional, marvelously recorded and a perfect balance to the warmth of Welch's vocals.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Bowie and producer Tony Visconti, who helped shaped his sound in the 1970s as well as produce seven T. Rex records, have struck gold in creating a work that is modern and well-connected to the artist's fabled sonic-past.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Singer-songwriters Joy Williams and John Paul White brought in more instruments, added deeper textures and, in general, upped the intensity of the songwriting for their second effort.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    As strong as this album is, it’s hard to pick out a standout track.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    With simple, straightforward songs that appeal to melodic sensibilities rather than rhythmic contraptions, the set is a mix of vulnerability and earnestness.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Spanning the years 1968-75, this exquisitely designed four-disc boxed set gathers a treasure trove of rare gems.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Bleach is freshened up with remastered versions of unusually heavy songs like the haunting "Negative Creep," where Cobain howls about alienation and being stoned, and the pounding "Floyd the Barber," where the main subject of the eerie track is a man being strapped down and tortured by characters from "The Andy Griffith Show.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    What's surprising about the best cuts from the 15-track set is how much heat the Police frontman and his varied collaborators create.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It's good, dirty fun.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    More than happy to engage the pop mainstream (once heard, the irresistible, day-glo chorus of "Superfast Jellyfish" is never forgotten), yet experimental enough to satisfy the hipsters, these cartoon characters just made the first 3-D album of the new decade.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The 82-year-old singer/pianist's mordant wit retains its vintage charm. In fact, Allison probably could have sung any of these new tunes about aging just as credibly 50 years ago.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Despite its retro influences, MGMT isn't out of touch: "Lady Dada's Nightmare" is an eerie, instrumental nod to a certain pop star. So to answer Vanwyngarden's question: Yes, it's working.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Toronto MC Drake has said that he wants fans to feel the different layers of his debut, Thank Me Later. From the sounds of it, he's held little back, sharing with listeners his deepest thoughts on family, women, and fame.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    For the listener, disconnecting will be all but impossible.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Ross raps unhurriedly, encouraging listeners to mull over his every word. Teflon Don is one of this summer's blockbusters.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    An exhilarating, life-affirming blast of no-bullshit rock'n'roll, Street Songs of Love features Escovedo reteaming with famed David Bowie/T. Rex producer Tony Visconti, who also manned the boards for his arresting 2008 album, "Real Animal."
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    For sure, Sabbath, Zeppelin and more obscure bands of the era like Wishbone Ash loom large over the proceedings, but Arbouretum breathes new life into a long-dormant genre with its melodic flair, the freshness of its approach and the tastefulness of its playing-and to call a band whose average song length is six to seven minutes "tasteful" is no faint praise.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Jennifer Hudson has never sounded better.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Mary Mary never forgets to weave in an empowering, uplifting message that lingers long after the last note has sounded.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The 13-track set, produced by Jay Joyce, assures us that she's more than OK, with a still-luminous voice that can make the phone book sound like Puccini.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The nine tracks Ronson produced on Arabia Mountain (Deerhunter's Lockett Pundt helmed two; Black Lips produced five) show he's equally adept at plundering the garage, psych and punk treasure troves.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It's similar to Pitbull's newest album, Planet Pit, which blends everything but the kitchen sink in a frenetic jumble that's facile yet unadulterated fun.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Red Hot + Rio 2 takes some time to absorb, but it's sure to tide you over until the next Red Hot compilation is released.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    More than anything, Wrecking Ball is a record with heart.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    At its best, a truly next-level soul album. One that has the warm, organic feel of R&B and deep pop hooks, but also the pulsating low-end and shimmering keyboard flourishes of EDM.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The album, which is loaded with plenty of dramatic lyrics and arrangements, closes with a truly luscious ballad which leaves the listener wanting more.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Golden contains several songs that sound custom-made for rolling the window down and turning the volume up.... However, any Lady A disc has to contain at least a couple of heartbreaking ballads, and they don't disappoint here.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Once the initial novelty and shock wears off of Beyoncé's impressive stealth-release feat, the brilliance and creative audacity of the album itself can sink in.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    I Never Learn is a brave album--it could very well alienate more fans than it brings in. But Li's songwriting is exquisite in its vulnerability; she has never sounded more sure of her aesthetic than she does in her most miserable moment. Like Beyonce's self-titled LP last year, this is a "grown-woman" album, but one focused on the sobering end of youth rather than the blissful beginnings of adulthood.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    There are no immediate anthems like whokill's "Bizness" or "Gangsta." But these 13 tracks hum and bounce with contagious enthusiasm, posing a challenge worth rising to.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Jackson's music mixed celebration and terror, as if he was unable to find, or maintain, the division between the two. His music offered a place to both explore and escape those tensions. On this album, it does again.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Sprawling, ambitious and mostly well-executed, While (1<2) may confuse his fan base’s Ultra-attending electro house contingent, but deadmau5’s double album undoubtedly marks his most mature and forward-thinking release to date.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 89 Critic Score
    The long-awaited Blueprint 3 doesn't disappoint. In fact, the album may just be the blueprint for hip-hop music to come.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 89 Critic Score
    Rihanna may have been a good girl gone bad on her 2007 album, but on her new one, she's a good girl gone bad-ass.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 89 Critic Score
    Taking a page from the George Strait playbook, country music newcomer Easton Corbin displays excellent song sense while offering an easygoing vocal style on his finely crafted self-titled debut album.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 89 Critic Score
    Two years and an overabundance of hype later, producer Ethan Kath and singer Alice Glass return with another self-titled set that corrects all of their debut's miscues and remains eye-popping from beginning to end.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 89 Critic Score
    Kaputt continues Bejar's winning streak and is an early contender for indie-rock album of the year.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 89 Critic Score
    In an already impressive, multi-platinum career, Blown Away is a landmark achievement.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 89 Critic Score
    Even those who felt lukewarm to Tegan and Sara's past few efforts should fully embrace their dazzling pop rebirth on Heartthrob, one of the best LPs of this young year.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 89 Critic Score
    The brothers have tapped into the amorphous joy at the heart of dance music, and have peppered Settle's masterfully executed tracks with that feeling.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    On The Boy Who Knew Too Much, this Beirut-born singer comes back strong with another set of over-the-top anthems that proves no one's more entitled to inherit Freddie Mercury's glam-god crown.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    This Reading appearance-released for the first time on the CD/DVD package "Live at Reading"-captured the trio's skill at turning simple power chords into some of the most memorable rock anthems of the '90s.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Perhaps that's a story for another set, however, and newcomers and fans alike will find this one remarkably satisfying
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    A dense yet buoyant mixture of hip-hop beats, reggae grooves, African-pop riffs and future-soul vocals, "Concrete Jungle" (which culls tracks from Nneka's previous European releases) does, in fact, echo "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill."
    • 57 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Drawing from a skillful fusion of R&B/hip-hop/pop, Usher addresses the trappings of fame on the uptempo "Monstar," shifts into sexy overdrive on "Lil Freak" (featuring Nicki Minaj) and "Pro Lover," pumps up the beat on the infectious club anthem "OMG" (featuring Will.i.am) and turns introspective on the ballad "Foolin' Around."
    • 70 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Displaying impressive vocal polish from outspoken frontman Scott Weiland; blazing guitar solos over tight, crunch-laden instrumentation; and grungy takes on Lennon/McCartney melodicism, STP asserts its place among seminal hard-rock chameleons.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    The result is a 12-song collection of washed-out summer tunes perfect for beach outings and late-night house parties.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    The uplifting set includes takes on lost gospel and blues numbers as well as reworkings of Bob Dylan's "Shot of Love," John Lennon's "I Don't Wanna Be a Soldier Mama" (featuring guitarist Doyle Bramhall II) and Prince's "Walk Don't Walk."
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Stronger, Sara Evans' first studio album in six years, is proof that some things are worth waiting for.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Sun
    "Sun" isn't as cuddly as "The Greatest," but it finds Marshall continuing to evolve as an artist in intriguing and unexpected ways.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    It's an album that seemingly could have come out in 1996 just as easily as today. Even the song titles feel familiar: "Only Tomorrow," "Is This and Yes," "Nothing Is." Having said that, it's lovely.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    One of the year's most anticipated pop releases is also one of the genre's weirdest--and most fully realized--efforts in ages.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Vampire Weekend's most cohesive and musically accomplished album to date.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Those looking for vintage soul sounds or even full-on raps from start to finish will be thrown several curves here. It’s an album with numerous emotional layers as well.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Get ready for a set of convincing, honest music, on which the Colombian star often unabashedly professes her love for boyfriend Gerard Pique.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 87 Critic Score
    Reflective but never bitter, I'm New Here contains the musings of a poet wizened by hard luck.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 87 Critic Score
    Cosmogramma may evade complete comprehension, but Flying Lotus' foreign and colorful arrangements entice even the most casual listener.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 87 Critic Score
    Sea of Cowards is even wilder, with grungier guitars ("I'm Mad," "No Horse"), greasier synths ("The Difference Between Us," "Gasoline") and funkier neo-John Bonham beats from White himself ("Jawbreaker," "Old Mary").
    • 82 Metascore
    • 87 Critic Score
    Entirely produced by the Black Keys (except for the Danger Mouse-helmed song "Tighten Up"), the pair's latest album, Brothers, lures with its spooky throwback sound, preternatural grooves and dark bluesy jams.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 87 Critic Score
    His Bob Dylan-esque voice combined with the hauntingly beautiful arrangement of the classical guitar throughout Admiral Fell Promises is hypnotic, trapping listeners in a melancholy spell of wonder.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 87 Critic Score
    At 16 tracks, this dense, complicated set covers considerably more stylistic territory than either of the band's previous albums.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 87 Critic Score
    There's a musical and rhythmic uniformity among these 13 tracks that might lose ears beyond the album's brisk 29 minutes, but it reflects a consistent summer ambivalence to which most anyone can relate.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 87 Critic Score
    Bluesier and less electronic than its predecessor, "Blood Pressures" is by far the Kills' most accomplished and diverse set yet.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 87 Critic Score
    A playful effort that comes from an ease with pop hooks and power-pop chords, a knowledge of how to employ a steady beat.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 87 Critic Score
    Just like with the Troubadour release, the songs here touch a few nerves and hit a few more emotional spots than just merely the ups and downs of a male-female relationship.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 87 Critic Score
    Clocking in at an hour and twenty-five minutes, Reflektor drags in parts, though it contains plenty of moments (most often in its uptempo, dynamic first half) that sound ready to breathe life into the middling state of commercial rock in 2013.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 87 Critic Score
    Food is just as tangy as the concoctions Kelis whips up every week on the Cooking Channel, in spite of the stylistic departure from her R&B albums like "Kaleidoscope" and "Tasty" as well as 2010's dance-focused "Flesh Tone."
    • 80 Metascore
    • 86 Critic Score
    Girls are poised to take their rightful place as one of the blog-crossover bands of 2009.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 86 Critic Score
    Tempering heavier blues-alternative influences with a softer folk-rock feel, Broken Side of Time leaves an unmistakable mark.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 86 Critic Score
    In grappling with the sudden death of her husband in 2008, the U.K. singer/songwriter has crafted a remarkable set that includes influences from rock and jazz, rich instrumentation and lyrics that linger well beyond the first listen.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 86 Critic Score
    In addition to Rubin's typically austere moods, the set features an all-star core of musicians (including members of the Avett Brothers) and Cash's tasteful renditions of the title track, Kris Kristofferson's "For the Good Times," Sheryl Crow's "Redemption Day," Tom Paxton's "Where I'm Bound" and Bob Nolan's "Cool Water."
    • 85 Metascore
    • 86 Critic Score
    High Violet synthesizes the best parts of the National's past into a fantastic present
    • 92 Metascore
    • 86 Critic Score
    Bowie is back, and thanks to better technology, these special editions of "Raw Power" sound right on the money. But the story here is the extras.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 86 Critic Score
    Plant has steadfastly resisted a return to the Zep fold; Band of Joy makes us glad for that.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 86 Critic Score
    Overall, another solid effort from one of country's finest.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 86 Critic Score
    Trespassing continues the work of the underrated "For Your Entertainment" and allows the singer to keep unveiling his character in broad, colorful strokes.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 86 Critic Score
    The Truth About Love is a peerlessly witty, endlessly melodic tour de force.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 86 Critic Score
    Red
    Red is her most interesting full-length to date, but it probably won't be when all is said and done in her career.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 86 Critic Score
    Unapologetic is Rihanna's most confident, emotionally resonant work since 2009's "Rated R.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 86 Critic Score
    Her fifth and arguably most consistent album to date.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 86 Critic Score
    Ariana Grande's debut LP is a surprisingly varied affair for a 20-year-old Nickelodeon star with a devastatingly strong voice.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    The set is a nice welcome back and a new beginning for the singer.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    Don't mistake the softness for weakness. While nothing is as biting as the aging hipster takedown 'Femme Fatale' (from his 2006 set "At Home With Owen"), he pulls out the knives and slices pseudo-intellectuals on 'A Trenchant Critique.'
    • 70 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    Grizzly Bear contributes a typically gorgeous psych-folk incantation called "Slow Life" (with guest vocals from Beach House's Victoria Legrand), and Bon Iver's Justin Vernon duets with St. Vincent on "Roslyn," which could warm even a vampire's heart.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    And as on "Idol," that aesthetic is most appealingly expressed here in the material that seems the least suited for it-i.e., mushy heartland rock ballads.