Boston Globe's Scores

For 1,701 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 66% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 31% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 0.4 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 71
Highest review score: 100 City of Refuge
Lowest review score: 10 Lulu
Score distribution:
1,701 music reviews
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Moving from urgent dance-pop (“Bad Idea”), to minimalist pillow talk (“Friends to Lovers”), to bassy underground undertows (“Lost and Found”), Body Music is the sound of AlunaGeorge just getting started--and they could go anywhere from here.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Nothing Can Hurt Me consists of rejiggered mixes of performances released on the band’s original albums. That makes it unessential, but it somehow reveals more new angles on the power-pop standard bearers’ perfect songs than 2009’s “Keep an Eye on the Sky” box set managed over four discs.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Pratt’s home-recorded songs are quiet gems cradled in the rudimentary but delicate fingerpicking of her acoustic guitar.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    In other words, classic Guy Clark.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Bakersfield gives us two current masters paying homage, not through note-for-note reproduction, but by putting their own reverential take on the music of two country music titans.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The tension that fills The Civil Wars, giv[es] the songs a sense of weight and purpose that wasn’t apparent on their 2011 debut, “Barton Hollow.”
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    As debuts go, this is a marvel by a singer and songwriter who has no desire to fit snugly into one category. Her talent isn’t that easily contained.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This is the album for people who used to be Franz Ferdinand fans but strayed. It gives them a reason to come back.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Nobody else is doing what Holter is doing, and it’s well worth following her lead.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This isn’t complicated, just tasty, and performed with wit and expertise.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It’s the work of a talented rapper who takes palpable pleasure in the possibilities of language.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Ferg reaches beyond the boroughs and borrows from various regional musical and linguistic influences to create a set of songs laced with introspection, menace, and smartly conceived verses.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    While they may stretch out for improvisational flights in concert, Made Up Mind is concise and compelling.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Arriving toward the end of summer, Another Self Portrait feels perfectly suited for the type of reflection that accompanies autumn.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    There is nothing hesitant about this collection of songs which manage to be fraught with heated emotions while simultaneously composed of chilly, fidgety grooves.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This is the unusual album that’s beautiful and ugly, tender but tough, and that much more rewarding because of it.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The album has a movie score feel, but this time every track is its own short film.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    All of Legend’s strengths are present: keen melodies, smooth vocal understatement, and artful arrangements.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    She’s the star of her own movie--and that’s very much what this album feels like--and she’s in charge.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The Diving Board succeeds where the others did not. It does so by putting John’s piano and voice front and center, offering memorable melodies, and scraping off the production glop to reveal again the musician, the vocalist, the emotional artist still alive under John’s shiny shell of professional fabulousness.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The three brothers and a cousin reconnect the dots of their career and interrelationships in an impressively catchy set of 11 songs.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It’s prime Mazzy Star, the work of a band that knows what it does well. And then does it beautifully
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Desolation becomes part of the landscape, the canvas on which Drake puts his words front and center. Guests appear on occasion (Jay Z drops by on “Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music 2”), but no one draws focus quite like Drake.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    On tracks like “Americans” and “Along,” this reverence for the synthetic is almost indistinguishable from his zeal for the real, and it’s a tension that gives all of R Plus Seven a unique sheen--and some potent fumes.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This is the rare debut that’s smart and disarming and instantly catchy.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Old
    What unifies the album is the superb production, which marries indie-rock values to street-rap style.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It’s hard to say what is more ferocious on Anna Calvi’s new album: her voice, her guitar, or the interplay between the two of them. Together they launch a formidable assault on One Breath.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Pearl Jam’s not just still alive, it’s kicki
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    New
    While there are a few silly love songs in the batch, some of us still haven’t had enough.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It’s the love-struck youth of their typical songs striking out against the disappointment, and, like the album itself, coming out on top.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It is Perry 101: heart-on-sleeve ballads, bouncy party anthems, and brawny odes to respecting yourself.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The Boys still sound like nobody but themselves, and to hear them making music again is an unexpected delight.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Samson & Delilah casts the English singer and songwriter even further afield, a mesmerizing right turn into the murky waters of throbbing R&B and ambient dance pop.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The follow-up to Robert Glasper’s Grammy-winning breakthrough builds on its predecessor by reframing the sound of contemporary urban music.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The middle of Matangi, including the masochistic grind of “Bad Girls” and the hard dancehall influence of “Double Bubble Trouble,” contains uncommonly straightforward songs that would’ve fit easily on Rihanna’s last two albums. M.I.A. doesn’t stint on the bangers, though.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This Welsh singer-songwriter wears her love of the Velvet Underground proudly, particularly on Mug Museum, her third album, which jingles and jangles even when the subject matter turns dark.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The whole set is a treat.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The album was 33 songs a year ago, and it’s 32 now, yet it unfurls cohesively like a film.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Upon first impression, Milosh’s latest solo effort appears somewhat slight, but it deepens and reveals multiple layers with each listen.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    These “lost” recordings are generally better than anything the band has done since.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Despite comparisons to Bon Iver and Sufjan Stevens, Lee creates folky, orchestral, synth-pop soundscapes that are uniquely his own. Where similar music can sound overproduced, Mutual Benefit has an organic, intuitive quality, more like a hearth-side jam session with friends in a woodsy cabin.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The result is a soulful reading that, driven by the sax of the Big Man’s nephew and exhibiting Henry’s characteristic resonant ambiance, ends up on a corner where the Boss and Van Morrison meet.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The production is as rich as the raps, spanning pop, underground R&B, club music, and psychedelic experimentation. The project is further heightened by Glover’s knowing irony, his gift for hooks, and his visionary theme.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    In addition to producing the set with an ear for warmth, Grohl plays drums on “Let It Rain” which definitely gives the band some extra snap. And the group’s signature harmonies are lush throughout. Given the title, we look forward to a possible “Vol. 2.”
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Jones and company sound at the top of their game.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    While several tunes could appear on a Sugarland album, it is a less commercial, contemporary country-sounding release and there is a sense of individuality stamped on the songs.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Another beguiling collection that merges New Wave and dance sensibilities with winsome pop melodies.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Appropriately, each track on the debut from this masterful quintet of Irish and American musicians feels like a freshly flipped spade of sod--its ripe turf’s most ancient facets made new just by touching air.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Sleek and sophisticated, this third full-length careens from muscular blasts of ’80s guitar rock (“In the Wake of You”) to spectral ballads (“Are You Okay?”).
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Eve
    The songs are crisp, uptempo, concise.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A great overall effort.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    ["Windows"] sort of upends the rest of Burn Your Fire, an otherwise intensely focused record that sounds like it was written and sung through clenched teeth.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Morning beautifully captures what makes this album so rich: that delicate divide between grandiose and intimate.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Recorded in five days with producer Four Tet and musical duo RocketNumberNine, the disc maintains a raw, improvisatory feel.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This isn’t a blockbuster--no Drake cameo, no Dr. Dre co-sign--but that’s the beauty of it.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Those elements [musicianship, emotional integrity, and hard work] again make themselves known on his stirring seventh album, Riser.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Atkins’s songwriting has since mutated, so that even songs that would have fit on “Neptune City” (the remix-ready disco track “Girl You Look Amazing”) or “Mondo Amore” (the stomping country-gospel “Sin Song”) represent a progression.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The 40 minutes of Guilty are a storm of shoegaze, noise-rock, and slow-core, surging together into something lovely and lethal.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    They recorded this in James’s studio in Louisville, Ky., and nearly each song has a compelling depth.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Tone is everything for the War on Drugs. You hear tone, a silvery shade of effortless cool, in the electric guitars that ring out in ricocheting patterns and in singer-songwriter-visionary Adam Granduciel’s expansive vocals.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The group deftly submits to the forms and tropes of electro-pop and vintage EBM.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The rock quintet wastes no time reestablishing its high-energy bona fides on Teeth Dreams.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Arc Iris puts Adams through the paces, as a composer of mercurial melodies, a nimble singer, and a force to be reckoned with.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The time away has done the California-spawned group good, as the conversation is familiar--intricate instrumental phrasing, pristine harmonies--but also full of fresh energy that lends everything from the buoyant gospel bluegrass of “21st of May” to the joyously bleary “Rest of My Life” an air of excitement.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    When the fireworks gently pop and fizzle out in the last breath of EMA’s new album, it feels like the only way to close such an emotionally visceral set of songs.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    When everything coalesces to take the songs up a notch, especially on “Death Trip on a Party Train” or “Meet Your God,” they prove punk rock knows no age limit.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This may be the best record this Carter girl has ever made.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The duo’s self-titled debut’s greatest strength is the pair’s hand-in-glove harmonies. Coupled with Mann’s gift for a pop melody and Leo’s penchant for spiky, urgent guitars, the end result is a best-of-both-worlds situation.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    As Kelis herself once said, “Tasty.”
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    You might expect a schizoid clusterbomb from Lights Out, but instead it’s an impressively seamless mix.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Even better is Wilson’s return as a performing singer-songwriter on his second solo album.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Allen has been out of the game for a while, at least by pop standards, but she knows how to get back in the ring.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Most Messed Up is a full-blown, album-length expression of the Old 97s’ vintage, railroad-beat careen stripped of all embellishments.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Li virtually proves to herself that pop need not be soulless and manufactured.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It’s an accomplished, enjoyable record from start to finish, regardless of references or lineage.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    His recorded output is sporadic, which makes his latest, Red Beans and Weiss (terrible title, terrific album) such a welcome pleasure.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This is the kind of artistic leap every band hopes to make.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Her fans will be glad to hear the muse has finally led Amos back to making the type of carefully crafted but pleasingly quirky pop music that helped make the singer-songwriter’s name in the ’90s.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Conor Oberst has long exhibited an affinity for reinvention. One thing remains consistent, however, and it’s abundant on his latest: a raw laying bare of emotion delivered with a poet’s ear for lyrical specificity.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This is Holland in full bloom: singular and wild-eyed.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Trans Am has proven more complex than most critical reductions would suggest, and its 10th album plays like a highlight reel of the band’s best facets.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Each song’s darker instrumental aesthetics balance the fun with an undercurrent of rumination.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Composition is just part of what makes pop music work, and the best tracks on In Conflict succeed on the arrangements and production as well as the writing.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The daughter of Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook continues to find the sweet spot between reggae and dub’s poppier elements and the sheer breeziness of her voice.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Like much of this mini album, “Monument” is not thumping music for the club; it’s the soundtrack for when you get home.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    With a voice so capable of effecting pathos as the veteran K Records artist’s, the canvas on which it colors is almost beside the point, but while the tone remains largely lachrymose here, there’s extraordinary variety in its musical accompaniment.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    With these songs, Bains surely wants to make you think; he surely will make you shake.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Platinum is a worthy follow-up; Lambert wrote or co-wrote half of the album’s 16 tracks, which bounce from humid honky tonk to glossy arena stage to rustic front porch with sass and ease.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Fields showcases a burnished voice that quakes and quivers with the wisdom only age and experience can afford.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Compared to James’s 2013 breakout “No Beginning No End,” this one is bigger, thicker, less sensual but arguably just as sexy.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    More important, the intimate atmosphere and the effortless rapport between Jarrett’s radiant chords and Haden’s eloquently simple bass lines remain.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    He still flashes his intellect--two songs are inspired by poets--but most of the album reveals a romantic and spiritual bliss that feels just as good as it sounds.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The new music is more song-oriented, with a verse-chorus format versus some of the loosely knit, stretched-out mayhem of the past.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    X
    Taylor Swift bestie and duet partner, writer of songs for One Direction, management client of Sir Elton John, British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran comes into his own on his sophomore album x--pronounced “mulitply.”
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    On this debut, not a single note is out of place.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Gamel melds past and future, resulting in a present joyfully reconfigured.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Riding in on a humid wave of 1990s guitar rock and ’60s girl-group harmonies, the debut from the new project of Frankie Rose and Drew Citron is pure ear candy.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Their catalog is crammed with albums that replicate the unbridled joy and communion of their live shows. Remedy is the newest one to do that.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Common Ground has the pluck and swing of a porch pickin’ party, with the Alvins swapping licks and vocals on a number of Broonzy classics.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Luckily, Sia also puts those pipes to good use on her own material, including her dynamite new album, 1000 Forms of Fear.