Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 1,315 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 62% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 36% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 0.1 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 71
Highest review score: 100 Shadows in the Night
Lowest review score: 25 Based on a T.R.U. Story
Score distribution:
1,315 music reviews
    • 98 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The new box set does indeed help shed new light on the music and the entire project by way of the various bonus features that now accompany the original album... To paraphrase Rod Stewart, every album may indeed tell a story, but some stories are dramatically more compelling than others. The story of "Graceland" is one of the most compelling in all of pop music.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    "Smile" emerges as a beautiful and cohesive work, at times deeply moving, at others oddly whimsical, at still others eerily disturbing but celebratory. [27 Sep 2004]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 97 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    This record is so expansive that it's tough to wrestle into shape, even as it overflows with wit, smarts and a masterful skill of the language and phrasing.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    He [Brian Wilson] more skillfully balanced inspiration and aspiration elsewhere.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Rife with the kind of sublimely loose grooves achievable only through instrumental precision, Black Messiah is as vital as it is sublime.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    You want immaculate structure and production, there are plenty of albums available. You want the sound of life, of a voice summoning all its powers to shake a room and be heard, this recording is waiting.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The Promise album, with gems like the Crystals' homage "Ain't Good Enough for You" and the lilting ballad "Candy's Boy" (a far cry from "Darkness' " aggressively lustful revision "Candy's Room") showcases the danceability, catchiness and even sentimentality Springsteen had to rein in to create "Darkness."
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's almost too much, really, but Waits doesn't release albums very often, so you can make it last.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    A dance syncretism made of menacing beats skittering from dark dancehall to mashed-up jungle, super-warped bass frequencies, stark anti-hooks, and a voice that is the most authentic to emerge in years. [18 Jan 2004]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    OutKast's duo have made a cohesive statement that not only cries at the boundaries of rap music but vaults over them to a place where the music sounds like neon colors and the only rule is that you must free your mind. Your ears will follow.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    It's a masterpiece of storytelling, empathy in the midst of chaos.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    The production is as dry as old wallpaper. But as a kind of Art Brut storytelling, it is magnificent.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    While hearing the band tear through early takes on pillars from the trumpeter's electric period such as "Miles Runs the Voodoo Down" and "Spanish Key," it's hearing the band upend some of Davis' older material that may be most striking.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    At times, the fumes of ambition are so thick off "The ArchAndroid," it's hard to absorb in one sitting. All the same, it's a star-making debut.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    With The Guitar Song, he's made an ambitious work that goes down easy. Johnson may masquerade as a throwback but what he really aims for is timelessness, and he usually hits his mark.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The tone of subdued romanticism is balanced by a fine, seductive sense of melody and arrangement. [3 Jul 2005]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 90 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    While it's great to have the old albums re-mastered, the real draw here are the remixes and the concert performances.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Tasty cuts abound here, but Sir Lucious is most enjoyable as a complete listening experience.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Tom Petty, another classic rocker, has assembled an impressive collection of his live work with his band the Heartbreakers that's similar in spirit to Young's remarkable anthology if not quite as expansive.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Z
    "Z" moves away from the more overt Band and "The Notorious Byrd Brothers" references, closer to a convergence of Who-like playfulness and drive with R.E.M. mystery. [2 Oct 2005]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 89 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Headphone rap of the highest order, tracks on this sequel hum and groove, laced with texture and hidden sonic accents.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    This swinging, sometimes mournful, often tender set of 10 songs proves an easy album to, well, love. [25 Aug 2006]
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's essential 2012 listening for anyone interested in popular music as art.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Animal Collective still struggles with effective counterweights to its euphoric beauty--the attempt at romance on 'Bluish' is off-putting and some of the murkiness can exhaust and undermine--but it shifts so rapidly, with such conviction, that it's more fun to hunker down and surrender.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Clark wrote or co-wrote all 12 of these songs with the feistiness of Loretta Lynn and the songwriting gift of Dolly Parton.... This is the country debut of the year.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    This 11-track album--the second collection of collaborations by Touré and the Malian kora player Toumani Diabeté--doesn't sound like death. Rather, it's an early contender for the warmest, most life-affirming listen of 2010.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    There's a cold efficiency in how the Clipse delivers songs built on street-corner cockiness and billfold bluster. It's all shamelessly amoral, but the Clipse wouldn't be such savvy hustlers if they didn't know how to sling with style.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    As spread over four CDs and a DVD, "There's a Dream" is a lot to consume, especially if you're not into Hazlewood's in-your-face approach.... Best, though, are some of Hazlewood's sides with Ann-Margret, recorded in Nashville.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Brash, polarizing, fearless and filled with a purity of vision that would make Col. Kurtz blanch.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Accelerando is a rambunctious yet nimble celebration of the groove that turns as much on the fulcrum of drummer Marcus Gilmore and bassist Stephan Crump as it does on Iyer's restlessly inventive piano.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Dear Science, the third album from the Brooklyn-based art rock band TV on the Radio, is a vivid, angry, sensual soundtrack to the haunted life.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Incisive, cutting and verbally dexterous, if a little overwhelming in a single sitting, Barnett's best new songs — "Pedestrian at Best," "Depreston" and "Debbie Downer" among them--inject memorable heft into timeless rock terrain formerly explored by Polly Jean Harvey, young and angry Elvis Costello, Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    It's both bleak and unexpectedly beautiful.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Freed from the more formal sound and circumstances of his previous work, Smith indulged without being indulgent, and the revelation here is the exuberant, instinctive, playful and daring sonic pilot who was hidden inside the meticulous craftsman of such albums as "XO" and "Figure 8." [10 Oct 2004]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The first time I listened to Radiohead's In Rainbows, I loved it, no holds barred.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    With this second full album, the singer and songwriter stakes a claim on a unique and fascinating turf, a sort of avant-cabaret musical theater that embraces a David Lynch-like moodiness and experimental-folk mystery, intimate confession and theatrical grandeur. [20 Mar 2005]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Will certainly stand as one of the best rap albums of the year. [26 Mar 2006]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 87 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    West does tend to overextend his songs.... But it's a forgiveable sin for a man whose music and message is so powerful. [12 Feb 2004, p.E16]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 87 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    It's everything its fans have been pining for the past two decades.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Ribot's work here may not always cry for attention like some effects-laden summer blockbuster, but it can be a quietly immersive art house favorite in the right hands.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's an album we'll be looking at in December when it's time to single out the most powerful works of 2014.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    At times Iyer and his charges exhibit so much virtuosity and skill it's almost overwhelming how quickly ideas rise and fall through a given track, but attempting to parse all this trio is trying to say is well worth the effort.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    This is an album in the classic, pre-digital sense, in which the very sequence of songs suggests meaning and connection. [12 Sep 2006]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 87 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Vulnicura is a serious, heavy journey through a rough ordeal, a work certainly too deep to fully absorb so quickly after its release. Like many of her recent records, it's not toe-tapping beat-based music. But fans like myself will find much to love as we explore its many peaks and valleys.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    In a few tracks, you sense this band is still at the mercy of influences as it searches for its identity, but the best moments are wonderfully promising.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    His songs are lyrically simple yet emotionally and sonically resonant enough to envision listeners being drawn in even if they don't know the language.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Their switchblade-sharp vision incorporates acute observational powers about the human condition and savvy compositional skills that come together in songs that are piercingly honest, funny and sometimes both.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    The Suburbs is an accomplished love letter that radiates affection as much as bitterness.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The album hits hardest by embodying the process by which certain voices are bottled up and distorted within the global noise of what M.I.A. calls "Third World Democracy."
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The double in the room on Let England Shake is the whole modern world. PJ Harvey has given us a righteous scare.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Murphy succeeds by stretching in two directions — finding a new musical center, and showing his humanity beyond the laughs.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    It's a portrait of an English radical at 62, but it's personal and emotional and neither strident nor stodgy.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Vernon on Bon Iver solidifies his place not as innovator, but as someone who's found a nice, fertile plot of land somewhere near where folk, rock, R&B and indie rock intersect, and is happy to wander across its great expanse honoring all of it.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    The artist has presented an utterly human, mostly nonverbal defense of his aesthetic: atmospheric, occasionally funky and meandering instrumental electronic tones, lovingly crafted, with imaginative internal logics.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    While the album is daunting to absorb at a sprawling 77 minutes, the results are well worth it.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    "Estudando"... turns mere ideological target practice into surreal and kaleidoscopic musical theater. [9 Apr 2006]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 86 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    With Once I Was An Eagle, she's finally made a record that matches the magnitude of her vision, and puts her well ahead of almost any twentysomething singer-songwriter peer working today.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    It's largely a tour de force that speaks of love and life with an honesty and clarity recalling the optimism of Curtis Mayfield and the occasional dismay of Marvin Gaye. [5 Sep 2004]
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Dismissing it as overly familiar obscures the point. Saadiq is a classicist of the best kind - one who not only carries on tradition but expands it.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It is one of the best of his career.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Cooder manages to make his work both cynical and idealistic. But most importantly, it's authentic. [12 Jun 2005]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 86 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Akinmusire generally resists the swaggering shows of force that can mark some young talents, but the record is loaded with strikingly expressive highlights.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Fats Waller never sounded like this, but he sounds more alive than ever.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    They've captured a sound as tangibly uplifting as pop music gets. The Mavericks are back and indeed, just in time.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    At times, Cee-Lo does show the value of holding on to some of his rap. But he is more distinctive and effective as a singer, which makes part of this long, 65-minute CD feel like wasted time.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    For those who like their pop delicate and unapologetically deep, this is one for turning up loud and wallowing.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    With all seven of the songs clocking in at six to 10 minutes each, Bush takes her time, but the songs aren't built of different parts; it's more like mounting meditations on one theme.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    An album with the simmering glow of a masterpiece.
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    For Simon, the divine isn't in the persistent hook of pop music but in the most far-reaching of global folk, where sounds, structures and techniques long ago abandoned can be employed in the service of something new and unknown.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Though several doses of this languid, tension-filled music get a tad draining, taken altogether it is a suitable sound for our troubling times, and there's an invigorating mysteriousness.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    [An] even more ambitious, superbly crafted follow-up. [28 Aug 2005]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    The sound is more varied and lighter on its feet with touches of harpsichord and banjo but anchored by the Hold Steady's signature: thick, humid arena rock, a high-pressure system of cresting guitars and pianos that injects these dramas with tension and embraces all their contradictions and ambiguities.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    In its best moments, "Helplessness Blues" sparkles like some sort of divine plan, but a plan that knows the value of mistakes, surprises and even regret.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    Lacking a central, prominent voice, "Twin Cinema" is frequently the schematics without the soul, a formal tour de force with bravado to spare but not a lot of inner life. [4 Sep 2005]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 85 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    It does reveal how thoughtful and meticulously pretty his songwriting was, even on his most intimate recordings.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    She goes deep, as deep as any artist working today, into the loud forest of stories where our ideas about love and the self are born. Her trail of crumbs isn't always obvious, but you can follow her there.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    A feast for repeated listening, Veckatimest yields the kind of eccentricities a fan can spend months winding and unwinding.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    It embraces both Tweedy's classicism and his refusal to settle for the familiar. [20 Nov 2005]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    An album that seethes and rocks with real energy and depth. [22 Aug 2004]
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Calling an Eels album personal and somber seems redundant, but compared with the guitar-rock discord of the two preceding albums, this return to meticulously crafted pop miniatures seems even more inward-directed. [24 Apr 2005]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 85 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Packed with forceful, nuanced songwriting that makes room for face-melting guitar riffery, lovelorn Midwestern teenagers and even, by Hold Steady standards, a bit of actual singing.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Any of these songs could have appeared at any point in the group's discography. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. A full-body massage, after all, is just as pleasing the fourth time as the first.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    On her third work, Strange Mercy, her facility with song craft is no less compelling for its cerebral beauty, but too often that cool, constructed quality stands between its maker and the wild bramble of the song.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Long trafficking in a sometimes spare yet intricately drawn sort of Americana that could fit just as comfortably at the turn of the 20th century, their latest delivers the same deceptively simple alchemy of dustily lilting voices, vivid lyrical twists and crisp acoustic flourishes.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    The pleasure is in listening to how often the National scrapes up close to maudlin, only to retreat in the nick of time.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    What’s exciting about the record, beyond its means of delivery, is how the music similarly blends the intimate and the extravagant.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Kaputt is hallucinatory and unstructured, grabbing for whatever it likes in the moment -- it's the radio of Bejar's mind, floating off to sleep.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    He sings of the land and of people who struggle to hold on to some small piece of it. It's especially powerful considering the ways in which he's transcended significant struggles of his own.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    The luminosity of her performance counters the album's tendency toward dry formalism. [5 Sep 2004]
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Apollo Kids shows that one of rap's company drivers is still on the speedway--zooming slightly slower than before, but with better pacing and control of the wheel.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Ace producer and longtime champion of underground hip-hop El-P walks a fine line on Cancer 4 Cure, crafting aggression with militaristic precision.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    This Is Happening brims with smaller joys: the contrast between the wafer-dry vocal harmonies and funk-sopping synth bass on “Dance Yourself Clean”; the cut-rate laser noises on the calisthenic banger “Pow Pow.” These things accrue into a wry loveliness that’s never easy or expected.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    It's filthy, audibly painful and it makes every wrong decision imaginable in the course of producing an album. It might also be the most delirious, joyful and defining album of 2010.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    To the National's credit, its exploration of the dour has never been this subtle, but by never shifting the mood, the band has also never been this draining.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    There's not a cut here that will make anyone think differently about the Baltimore-born outfit but it's a worthy addition to their catalog.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    What could have been a random collection of odds and ends--or worse, a nostalgia grab--isn't so much a look at Wilco's alternate-history past as it is a glimpse at ground the band still has to cover.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    It's a lot for anyone to get their hands around, but Cash grips tightly to the aspects of loss she has been able to process, even if the enormity of that task escapes her grasp at times. [21 Jan 2006]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Though a showcase for history, Lovano and his band expertly show the many ways these classics can still throw sparks.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Yeezus is minimal but powerful, a record filled with more aural space than anything on “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” his excellent 2010 album.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    Too little progress and too much mood. [4 Sep 2005]
    • Los Angeles Times