HOB.com's Scores

  • Music
For 101 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 51% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 46% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 4.3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 67
Highest review score: 90 Closer
Lowest review score: 0 Duke Lion Fights The Terror!!
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 74 out of 101
  2. Negative: 3 out of 101
101 music reviews
    • 64 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Closer is classic BTE: hopeful melodies, lead singer Kevin Griffin's uniquely sweet voice, enough pop to make you sing along and smile but thoroughly substantial and rewarding.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The White Stripes' songs are so strong, so deliciously simple, it's genius.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Rainer Maria still sit solidly in the emo-core genre, yet avoid producing music that is maudlin or obvious. In fact their graceful approach to music is exactly what disguises their insightful and detailed lyrics.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Not as immediate as Keep It Like A Secret, or as unified on the sonic surface, but with enough patience, Ancient Melodies of the Future resonates on a level that connects the band's body of work, while also taking it a step further.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Adam's milked a meaty, soulful rock album out of the band…and it is good.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A collection of near perfect (and brief, yes!) lo-fi pop tracks that openly mine the sonic groundwork laid by The Cars, Squeeze and even Led Zeppelin.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Even the ample cast of guests on The W seems less like a blatant attempt to boost its first week sales than simply a welcome attempt to add to its stylistic diversity. The result is something almost as rare as getting the entire Wu-Tang Clan together: a mainstream rap album that actually sounds like an album instead of a long-playing single.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    So at 68 he's still able to churn out songs that are immediately likable, if not instantly classic. For a man who's seemingly suffered from every ailment imaginable in the past few years, his signature baritone remains as strong and expressive as ever, too.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    What's most striking is simply that they are able to take such a drastically different tack with this album and still end up sounding like the same band.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's impressive enough that Wainwright doesn't have the whole orchestra playing at once. But his well thought out arrangements are only the finishing touches on songs that would have held up even if he was given little more than a guitar and a pocket tape recorder to work with.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Alison Krauss & Union Station has a voice like honey, raw and honest and sweet, and she wraps it lovingly around these achy ballads and American Gothic lamentations.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Refreshing and ultimately brilliant premiere.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    In twelve brutally honest and dark tracks, Reed revisits the best elements of his early work...
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    What is most striking about The Sophtware Slump, besides the band's resonating compositions, is its subtle approach towards invoking a strong cathartic response. It's at times a sleepy record with songs that only work as an afterthought, or only make sense when you can focus enough attention on what the band is actually saying. But it has just enough on the surface to strike an initial interest that unfolds, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly, into the many brilliant aspects of this album and band.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Bold forays into gospel, R&B and even a little soul (complete with ooh-oohing singers backing Burgess) display a far reaching confidence that rises as the album reveals itself to be not only something swimming in classic influences, but also a path-carving groove maker that falls in line with the likes of Stereo MCs and Jamiroquai.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Ultimately, there's a lot to be said about G Love's consistency and the way that amid a steadfast formula he never fails to feel fresh.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    One of the better albums released this year...
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The combination of bombastic musings and ethereal compositions is not simply a grab bag of past accomplishments, or a recycling of what works, but a record that yields a wholly different result: An easy sounding album, upbeat and surprisingly positive with not much forced.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Lyrically, Haunted progresses from timid to defiant, and ultimately to triumphant. Musically, Poe drifts confidently from trippy beats and spacy sounds to straight ahead rock and mellow, melancholic numbers, though not always in such a way as to strictly parallel the dramatic flow of the album's lyrics. All that means, though, is that this is a dynamic collection of songs and not merely the kind of high-minded rock opera that quickly goes from interesting novelty to pretentious joke. Ignore everything but what comes out of the speakers, and you've got a pop treasure that is as innovative and insightful as it is immediate and unforced.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This is more of simply Hersh and an acoustic guitar than her last effort (1999's Sky Motel), but that just gives the appearance of other instruments greater effect. The emotional weight of her often unorthodox sentiments comes from subtle mastery of dynamics.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Frank Black has dug in deep for this one, and come up with an album that captures the essence of his roots while expanding the realm he's been entrenched in over the last few years.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This self-titled effort is the kind of wall-to-wall spitting, snarling aggression that they haven't fully unleashed on the world since Let's Go.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Here the trio trade in the constant reliance on the fuzzed out guitars that led the charge of their steady rise through obscurity for the more subdued moments that have occasionally reared up in past projects.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Alvin injects these historic tunes with his own modern flavoring that keeps them fresh in light of their aging repose.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Rather than dwell on tragedy or sulk through an album of moodier blues, they deliver a batch of radio-friendly tunes reminiscent of their commercial breakthrough, Four.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    This of course is the power of mountain music, the weight it gives to simple instruments and simple folk, and for all of Parton's talents, singing in this medium may very well be her best.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The album is often angular, odd, and unpredictable, but always contributing to a relaxed atmosphere.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Testing the limits of what people might want to hear at first, Fisk arguably re-educates us on what music is, and where it comes from, finding rhythm and melody in what many now call Intelligent Dance Music.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The good thing with Mascis is that, even without straying in the least from his recognizable sound, he can maintain some degree of unpredictability in his songs.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    This album is nothing but a parade of their '70s and '80s hard rock influences worn proudly on their sleeves. And for that, rock 'n' roll fans should be grateful. Time Bomb is one romping anthem after another almost clear through to the end, a "hidden" piano ballad that serves only further cement the band's status as a throwback to the days of overwrought arena rock.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The material is perfectly suited to Hammond's subtle syncopation and sauntering vocals. The warmth of the recording makes it seem all the more like listening to a master storyteller sharing tales that have been passed down through generations.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The compositions are sharp enough to cleanly burrow themselves into the subconscious; only to rise up at the most unexpected moments and potentially leave you wondering where you heard that funky little beat.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Survivor is the type of record R&B and pop have been missing since the fade out of such modern predecessors En Vogue.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The result of all this glorious epiphany is a record that remains on par with the last few DMB albums, filled with laid back grooves that beg for volume.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    As the tracks shift from smooth R&B to frantic, drum machine driven beats, Outkast prove able to pull from a big enough bag of tricks as rappers to remain unpredictable. The problem is that they come out of it all without having left any defining mark on the songs. It's almost as if Stankonia would be more memorable if the duo stuck to one sound, one rhythm, and one train of lyrical thought.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    He has created a record that fully embraces the inclinations we all sometimes have to find a tune with strong enough melody to hum through the day.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    God Bless The Blake Babies is more refined, more textured, and more produced than anything from the band's heyday.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    If a weak link exists it's only that the surprises are few, but in reality it's for that very reason that Cole's music is so comfortable.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The weaknesses of this ten song collection come in the occasional over orchestration found on some tracks that would do well in succumbing to the subtlety that Lynne and her producer Bill Bottrell have mastered in other spots.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    A haunting through line of notes that impact wonderfully in stirring the darker recesses of the mind.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    If there is one drawback to this album, it is its somewhat overproduced nature. A little too clean and a little too short, Milk Cow Blues shows glimpses of what could have been, an all-star cast jamming to Willie classics and traditional blues like "The Thrill Is Gone" and "Ain't Nobody's Business."
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    For all her concern with the power of language, she seems to forget that in music, that language loses strength exponentially with each layer of music added.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Emotionally generous to the point of near biography, the Red House Painters win over listeners with their ability to dress even the most depressing song in lyrical warmth...
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The album lacks nothing in substance, but in edge it could use a jolt.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    There are times when a few rough edges might make these songs more compelling.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    It's not a bad record, by any stretch.... but The Crystal Method are still falling shy of the bar set by the Fatboy Slims and the Chemical Brothers of the world.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    This is decidedly not for those who require slick and flawless recordings. It's not particularly an album for those who demand sheer brilliance every step of the way, either. For all its sonic oddities, The Golden D doesn't always have songs that rise far beyond mere ambition.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The addition of remixed or alternative versions of favorites like "78 Stone Shuffle," "We Haven't Turned Around" and the complete Gomez rendition of "Getting Better" (featured in the first wave of the Phillips ad campaign) makes this project something for the fanatic to salivate over. As for the casual listener, ASTH could possibly leave you wondering what all the fuss is about, but at the very least gives a slight glimpse into the future and of things to come.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Though not in the same league as Some Great Reward or Violator, Exciter is a solid effort and refreshing reminder of the variety of pop music.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Even as they approach epic length, the songs remain beautiful, dramatic, and above all else simple.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    A small, intimate record that not only reminds us of Hatfield's sweet-n-wry junior high voice, but also her mature lyric writing.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Fans of the The Verve, or just plain fans of "Bittersweet Symphony," may feel a little let down as the record as a whole, though still steeped in a love of strings and complex arrangement, does not carry the same sonic weight of previous work.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    A flawless blend of acoustic-turns-into-fuzz guitar work and backbeat rhythms that create the aural equivalent of fog.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Much of the time, Amnesiac ends up sounding more like a work in progress than the band's crowning opus.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Yes, they tried something different, but they kept it accessible. Just as with the last album's guitar-rock-on-tranquilizers, if Kid A's mood music changes the world it will be precisely because it is mainstream, not because it is revolutionary.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Orbit tackles the classics with a reverence that occasionally calls to mind the original work of Vangelis with it's sparse and delicate blips that are more refined than you would expect even from the most devout music historian.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    This record is strictly Music For Adults, with songs about kids and real love and life.... Essentially, it is soothing background music for troubled times.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Furtado occasionally comes off sounding like a modern day Billie Holiday with her crisp, yet subtle vibrato filtering through a slick production that holds the record together. But while one can easily detect a smattering of her worldly intentions, it's the big one eyed pop monster that seems to win out in almost every instance.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    What this album lacks in a standout track it makes up for in consistency.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The tight focus on craft and detail within the simple compositions and deep emotions Mojave 3 display on their third album, Excuses for Travelers, is something to take note.... Halstead's writing compares closely to Wilco, and Hank Williams on occasion...
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    On God Says No, Monster Magnet sounds more simply like a cross between Soundgarden and any of a dozen longhaired stoner rock bands.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Their album is little more than thirty minutes and eleven versions of the same song. But damn if that one song isn't a good one.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Smith makes a valiant effort to match the austere beauty of XO... Still, he falls short on the most important element of his songs, the vocal melodies.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    In The Mode is far from an innovative lyrical masterpiece. But then, it's not supposed to be. The rapping, singing, and general noisemaking of vocalists Dynamite MC, Onallee, and guests Method Man and Rahzel serve a far more critical purpose than merely adding hollow words. Unspectacular in their own right, the vocals here are what bind together the bursts of musical thought into a fluid whole.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Holy Wood is strictly derivative, but done with enough skill to stay entertaining. Even when the borrowing is more blatant (the guitars of "The Fight Song," for example, sound like a cross between Hole's "Plump" and Blur's "Song 2"), the album doesn't suffer noticeably.... As hard rock albums go, this one's a keeper. The problem is, Marilyn Manson aspires to something greater than that. He's plenty articulate next to the competition, and plenty adept at selling his message with powerful imagery and catch phrases. But strip away those ornaments, and what he's saying seems a bit too obvious.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Shortcomings like the aimless ambience of "Nightvision" don't seem like total failures simply because the duo's attitude remains intact even when their songs fall short.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Know Your Enemy loses all its momentum when Manic Street Preachers decide that they have something to say.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Restless isn't about explicitly depicting the good, bad, and ugly of street life. It's more like a hip-hop carnival, with Xzibit acting as both ringmaster and main attraction.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    It's the lighthearted nature of it all that makes it work so well...
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    What it all boils down to is songs. Just as overproduction provides the perfect mask for some bands' mediocrity, the utter simplicity of this recording is the ideal way to reveal Semisonic's renewed inspiration.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The album is in some ways visionary, but it many ways it is just another Morphine album.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Bringing some rock into swing is clearly Setzer's forte, and he blurs the lines between swing, rockabilly, and surf with ease.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The modern touches in particular - set in such sharp contrast to the rawness of the more human elements - make this an artistic statement worth hearing. If it can't quite match the cathartic experience of listening to some of the early masters, it still beats the increasingly slick face much blues music has taken on in recent times.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Teddy Thompson is able to distinguish himself from the crowd on his self-titled debut. Not all the way through, mind you: he has his moments of tedium like any other. But when he has his mojo working, it's not to be missed.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    He's arriving a bit late to the party, as his union of the electronic and organic is yesterday's news to anyone residing within a few miles of the cutting edge.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Plays like a perfect meld of old school soul, modern day hip-hop and trance like hypnosis, with guest vocalists from all ends of the spectrum binding the event into a surprisingly cohesive whole.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    For all its merits, though, Matriarch is enjoyable but not quite the transcendent experience its title would suggest.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    An album that when all the preconceived notions and over baring expectations are stripped away, boils down to a good old fashioned soul record, filled with all the accoutrements that call to mind the glory days of 60's R&B.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    [I]f anything this album is less rock than the last one, while the droves of extra instruments are used more as decoration than as tools to create broad soundscapes.... Ultimately this album might be a step forward for Fastball, but they end up in essentially the same place.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Rockers and ballads are both delivered with pure '80s polish and shine. It doesn't make for as interesting a listen as the folk and funk of this year's Vol. 1, but that's not the point. If that was the thinking man's Everclear, this is the purely visceral edition. At the very least an exhilarating, fist-pumping ride, Vol. 2 is proof that a little energy can go a long way.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    It's not a perfect album, and it's second half plays too openly with synth pop elements. The subtle beats and loops feel forced. But it has its moments of beauty, its songs worth listening to more than once.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Turin Brakes' music consists largely of the same kind of contemplative minor key laments that one might hope to hear from Elliott Smith...
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Like Radiohead with Kid A, Air benefits greatly here from the extra slack given only to those somehow deemed "artists" rather than mere musicians. Coming from almost anyone else, this album would end up in the trash heap long before it had a chance to sink in.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    In spite of cosmetic differences, though, much of Vapor Transmission hints at a gaudy, synth-driven interpretation of Korn.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    With all that studio experience and expertise, Garbage inevitably sounds slicker than a bobsled track. But it can become a little too slick: the flawless sound often only exposes and exacerbates their shortcomings as writers.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    But, while they might benefit at times from more distinctive guitar riffs, AAF's ability to dot the map without losing focus makes ANThology the kind of debut that gives cause to look ahead in anticipation of where they might take things for album number two.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Placebo's indie-glam rock fusion still sounds on CD like a good idea, and little more.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    What's lacking, though, is context.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Pop Trash plays out with a quiet, digestible ease that stays firmly grounded in the comfort zone they have managed to create for themselves.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    And the songs are catchy, yes. Just not so catchy that you're already singing along with them the first time you hear them.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Taken only for what it is, Gorillaz is an engaging, if not entirely arresting, journey through sluggish mood rock and jazzy hip-hop. Taken for what it aspires to be, though, it's more disappointing than awe-inspiring...
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    PRG has obviously matured to a point that allows them to avoid formula and the pressures of writing another hit song. This is both for the better and for the worse as PRG deliver an album that at times is both graceful pop art and long-winded pontification.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Cherry Poppin' Daddies pull off decent songs even when they aren't the most convincing of exercises in genre - and better than decent when they let the horns loose. Soul Caddy just can't live up to the swingin' good times of its predecessor.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    A Rollins in the Wry stands on its own two feet not so much as a spoken word album chock full of hyphenated poems about how "No one knows me; I am the enigma," but more as punk rock comedy, or hit-and-miss Bill Hicks with tattoos.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Why, after going through a small army of producers and making us wait for half a decade, do you come back with a second rate album that seems geared towards the 13 year old girls in your audience?
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Nowhere on Breach are the Wallflowers offensively bad like Matchbox 20, but the songs would be better described as lullabies than rockers.... It's pleasant stuff to keep in the background, but for all that pleasantness nothing stands out as especially beautiful or even memorable.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Happy Ending is mostly generic, but far from your typically embarrassing thespian rock...
    • 78 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    The problem is that he's just not that funny. For someone who takes such pleasure in spouting off on everything and everyone, from fans and critics to boy bands and label executives, Eminem really has nothing to say.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 20 Critic Score
    This is purely a marketing scam gone too far.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 20 Critic Score
    The very concept of Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water might be brilliant if it was a work of absurdist art. But this album is just absurd.