CMJ's Scores

  • Music
For 728 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 67% higher than the average critic
  • 6% same as the average critic
  • 27% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.1 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 74
Highest review score: 90 Jonny
Lowest review score: 30 IV Play
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 1 out of 728
728 music reviews
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Spiritual-Mental-Physical is occasionally slight, and there are fewer developed ideas than a real album release; for every punk etching on the wall, there is an aimless jam that was undoubtedly more fun to play than listen to.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    D
    While D is undoubtedly a grower, it's unfortunate that White Denim's experimental tendencies don't always lend themselves equally well to good songs.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    It seems like in each song Wiley is talking about a million different things all at once, but there's always the possibility that it's totally focused and you're just not keeping up. It's hard to tell.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    On Skying, the group has definitely matured, jettisoning much of the divisiveness that marked its brash origins, but it feels like some of the edginess that first made the Horrors notable might've been discarded with it.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The back half meanders through woozy loungers like "Chemtrails" and "Sunday Morning" before wrapping up with the spindly, tom-heavy "Neon Dove," which breathes just enough life into the pacing to make you feel like you've listened to something complete by the time the percussion's abrupt exit signals the record's resolution.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Dedication, while a great exercise in atmosphere, doesn't get anywhere past where it started. It begins in gloom and minimal electronics, remains there-hell, it wallows there-and finishes off its life there.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Perfect Darkness becomes half a dip in lukewarm water, when it should be a moody walk on a cloudy day.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Despite its inconsistencies, La Liberacion undoubtedly mixes it up.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The band aims for epic heights but all too often goes with the assumption that grandness is necessitated solely by noise. That said, there are glimmers of great things to come all over this record.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    At every turn and every track the album is pushing up the RPMs to the point the engine begins to whine, smoke and threaten to explode.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Acousmatic Sorcery is an occasionally iridescent collection of songs, but at the end of the day it feels too tasteful, too self-consciously curated.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    So this is the real Temper Trap: less fuzz, more grit.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    On the whole, there is a lack of connection that makes it hard to qualify Synthetica as an entirely memorable album.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    If this album were condensed into an EP, it would be great, but as an LP, the Aussies seem to be stretching the good stuff too thin.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    If the album has a significant weakness, it's that despite the impressive attention to detail and the impeccable production work, the record can't quite shake that side-project feeling.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    While the xx allowed itself to get mildly playful on its debut album, those moments are stripped out on Coexist as the band further minimizes its already minimalist approach.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The album, however, cannot shake off the feeling that it's a melting pot of Segall's previous albums from this year.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Some tracks are wildly successful on an individual basis, but they're cut short or steamrolled right over as Riggins whips through what seems like every sonic concept he's had in the last two decades.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Instead of making the more personal record that he intended by telling his side of the tour story, Owens has created his most detached album yet.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Over the course of 14 songs, when the emotional range is the difference between singing, "I just wanna get really high" and "I feel like shooting up," the content [getting wasted and having a good time] can wear on you--or, much like Andrew W.K.'s party music before it, it can fuel you.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Forming an identity is a difficult task, and Reasons To Live is honest about the painful and revelatory nature of that process.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Smoothing an epochal shift with a sonic mix of new and old isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Arguably, the band did the same thing when it cast aside the spacey sounds of Leave Home for the alt-leaning Open Your Heart. But on New Moon, the transition is rocky, more of a cop-out than a compromise.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Still branded with his punchy, pop-punk melodies, as well as venturing back to the fuzzier roots in several instances, the real issue with Afraid Of Heights is a lack of constraint.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    After so much rapid reinvention, he’s found himself stalled in the middle of a transformation. In his constant quest to learn new tricks, he’s only ended up chasing his tail.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    While the band’s return to its gruffer roots on Desperate Ground has its redeeming qualities, the reliance on pop-punk catchiness feels like a crutch.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    You may find yourself cringing along to these missteps, but the album also a pretty fair split between between good and bad.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The album lacks one basic fundamental of general pop music: lyrical hooks. The primary reason why they’re lacking though is because Wasner’s voice blends so well with Ehrens’ synth hooks that she is at times barely distinguishable from them.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The album doesn’t bring anything new to the table, opting instead to build on established structures.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Smilewound traipses all over the place, sometimes tripping as it finds it’s path. But when it does, it surges with moments of delicate finesse and threatening omnission.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    There’s no doubt that Royal Bangs are fully capable of splicing a broader set of influences into their quixotic mix, and Brass offers several great glimpses into a sonic evolution in progress. It’s just a shame that the metamorphosis isn’t quite complete.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Those with some patience will eventually get a smattering of the heavy, grainy goods on This Song Is Over, Warble Womb‘s tellingly penultimate track. This certainly doesn’t make the album a wash--the swampy tunes are still fairly enjoyable. But it does change the formula for the band.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Even though Because The Internet is kind of strange and kind of a bummer, it does show Glover’s range as a musician.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    When Smith gets a little feistier (his last resort), the songs feel more ambitious; but it’s the more minimal, quiet ones that hit home emotionally.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The music is smart, diverse and tuned to perfectionist standards, but frequently the lyrics leave the listener wondering, “Where is White’s gut on this?”
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Neon Icon is the weight the internet has left us with. It’s a much-delayed product of Tumblr art, Big Brother reality TV, corporate worship and urban fetishism. Or, maybe it’s pushing against these things. I dunno, whatever, at least it’s pretty fun.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    It’s equally as innovative as it is mundane, equally as ambitious as it is safe, and equally as fun as it is tedious. Well, the last one isn’t quite true, this album is a ton of fun.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Overall though, there’s more comfort than debauchery on Alvvays.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Ab-Soul puts out a solid release here, helped along by some big name features and big performances from his TDE labelmates, but at times These Days feels too generic or just flat out stale, ultimately failing to carry the Black Hippy torch in the ways that good kid m.A.A.d city and Oxymoron did for the crew.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    V
    Despite V’s evidence of growth and energy throughout the first half of the album, excitement drains during the latter half. Kastlander’s vocals are still emotionally pinpricking on each song, consistently dwelling on the subject matter of relationship/post-relationship difficulties on tracks like Full and Be Here Now. Eventually though, just like hearing a friend complain about their ex for three months straight after the split, it gets tiresome.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Decimation Blues has undeniably strong songs on the more experimental end of the spectrum and undeniably strong songs on the folky end of the spectrum. However, their placement together on one album (alongside a number of less successful songs) results in an extremely uneven listening experience.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    On this album, it feels like she had been groping for some sense of direction after an exhaustive smackdown. And she decidedly chose the feminine end of her musical ying-yang, opting for quiet, confounding introspection.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    What results is a satisfying but somewhat uneven listening experience.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Derivative without bringing anything new, Not Nothing is lo-fi at a mediocre level.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The unpredictable mix incites some strange transitions, occasionally cutting off promising grooves to the album's detriment ("Groundskeeper Rag," especially, peaks prematurely). But what Family Perfume lacks in momentum it makes up for in brevity.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    When it works, the noises are strange and exciting, like discovering a dead animal as a child, all over a danceable groove. When it doesn't, it just sounds like a drunken jam sesh over fucked up Casio drum loops.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Not good, bad or disappointing, but frustrating.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Despite its upbeat personality and general happiness, the album doesn’t have a distinct personality or identity.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    With Love is by no means a terrible album, but the bar that Dedication set was in no way reached. It’s worth giving a listen, but be prepared to edit it into a condensed and sensical format.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    It’s a darker, angrier album and it shows that the duo is adventurous, but the experiments don’t quite cohere.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The hype experienced by budding artists like Scott can be unsettling. Generally, it elicits polarizing reactions: listeners are either staunch supporters or fervent detractors. Seldom is there an in-between. In spite of that, after digesting Scott’s debut LP, in-between is exactly where I feel.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    With a mixture of electronic guitars, field recordings and slight percussion, the album is extremely peaceful--maybe a little too peaceful.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Like the previous three Crocodile outputs, Crimes of Passion is forgettable like a party might be. Some may get sick of it and leave early, and others may find the album similar to a one night stand who says all the right things.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Sleeper will probably be viewed in hindsight as "That kinda boring Ty Segall album."
    • 78 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The Silver Gymnasium has Sheff getting increasingly personal, though it sometimes seems as if he has no more personal secrets left to reveal. The new experience is stunted by the fact that everything really just sounds like a memory.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Too much of the album feels as if she’s chosen the comfort of being back home, retreating from the brief spotlight she’d been slowing stepping toward since 2008.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The album a treasure, yes, but unarguably generic too.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Painted Palms’ strength is in their balmy, unhurried melodies. But even such melodic virtues are no match for the sexless nothingness that permeates this record.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Where Tim Cohen’s vocals should soar, scream or sink low, they remain at a consistent monotone, rendering his occasionally poetic lyrics into lukewarm sentiments that do not invite further investigation.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Tropics Of Love is an experiment in inertia. When it’s good, it stays good, and when it’s not, it’ll be over by the time you swallow your pina colada.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    While the songs on Lights Out would certainly suit a fine live atmosphere, their simplicity, repetition and generic nature create a rather weak album that fails to hold its own in today’s complicated indie rock landscape.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    The passive, languid tone of this album often translates into emotionless muck.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Long.Live.A$AP, his major-label debut, is both cunning and desperate in its attempts to please every possible demographic without looking like it's trying too hard.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    For the most part, songs come off as vapid and barely take a knife to the surface of his earlier work.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    NONONO are Swedish afterall, so while uneclectic, the album is not without its well executed, catchy genre charms. But what NONONO does well on We Are Only What We Feel, other people have done better time and time again.