MSN Consumer Guide (Robert Christgau)'s Scores

  • Music
For 179 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 86% higher than the average critic
  • 0% same as the average critic
  • 14% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 13.9 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 86
Highest review score: 100 Dear Science,
Lowest review score: 33 Definition Of Real
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 2 out of 179
179 music reviews
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A joyous mishmash.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The entire construction is a thing of grace -- conservative, and new under the sun.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Sure enough, the first time through, too many [of the songs] had faded on me. Soon, however, even ones I'd given up on were bum-rushing my earhole.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    They're unflinchingly unsensationalistic. But it's the beats that turn this into noir worthy of Jim Thompson. [Feb/Mar 2007]
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    They thud rather than thunder. But what a loud and joyous thud it is.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Terse and beaty, with Dr. Dre referral Mike Elizondo going half on the baby, this isn't a pop record, but it does avoid guitar-band shapes, sonics and truisms.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Burbling electronic ticktocks vie with a carillon of bell simulacra, and rarely have vinyl crackle or laser malfunction generated more musicality.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    He's made a novelty record that gets deeper with time.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    OK, 19 songs, gotta be filler here somewhere, and there is, only it isn't melodic -- with all music credited to the band, Shonna Tucker's muzzier lyrics and Mike Cooley's more elusive ones sound as well-turned as those of Patterson Hood, who's never written better.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A glockenspiel in a guitar band? Freshens up the sound, they think. And they're right.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    With an incongruent Fall Out Boy track set aside for single duty and all those rappers a dream community taking the burden off Black Thought, this is the most accomplished pure hip-hop album in years.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Buy it while you can.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Gregg Gillis has plenty to say about music. What he has to say about life, which is that "I'd Rather" equals "Gimme Some Lovin'," remains more limited. Nevertheless, sequences here give me hope.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This vibrato-prone romantic is the greatest melodist in contemporary mega-indie.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Never have his arrangements exploited his soundtrack chops so subtly, changeably or precisely.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    They're too good to be true and plain as the nose on your face.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The thing about the indie-rock life is that even its depressives, not just mere realists like these guys, have a pretty good time.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    He goes Motown with so much joy in one-man-band craft he'll not only convince the girl he's sweet-talking that this is forever, he'll convince you.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The band is on it, the backup singers are solicitous, and Cohen's husk of a voice has been juiced up by the exercise.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    They sure are spry, and Nelson is so delighted to be singing them that the band's expertise lights up.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Half associative rhymes that clock in under two-and-a-half minutes, devoid of hooks but full of sounds you want to hear again, it's like a dream mixtape.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Maybe this album is dumb on the surface, though not as much as fools claim. But sure as showbiz it isn't dumb underneath.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Here's an album where the marriage ballads are so meaty and convincing that the two exceptionally well-turned breakup songs seem like formal exercises, where a comedy number about fishing and beer would sound just dandy if there weren't so many subtler laughs on the agenda.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    xx
    It's hard to imagine their music getting much better. But it's not hard to imagine their lives getting much better. Which may be all their music needs.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Contra establishes that his band has chosen another path, celebrating the world's contradictions, contraindications, and contradistinctions with a new pop sound made up of old pop sounds that aren't the same old pop sounds.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Fortified by his Christian faith, he lends a cracked gravity to souvenirs of cornball sentiment ranging in tone from Ed McCurdy's political "Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream" to Queen Lili'uokalani's escapist "Aloha Oe," which close an album that also includes the traditional title song, a Sheryl Crow number about redemption, "Cool Water," and the tenderest "For the Good Times" I've ever heard.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Once a punky brat, Jemima Pearl now sounds like a punk broad -- like she might join the Donnas if that was a better job. But listen through the bigger voice and louder mix and you'll hear someone who's thinking all the time.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Never rousing and too often glum, the album is carried by its intelligence, integrity and terrible beauty. [Feb/Mar 2007]
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Only two songs ring false. [Feb/Mar 2007]
    • 84 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    As narrative and prophecy, a less coherent response to Christofascism than you might want, but one alt needs, held together and moved ahead by its forthright hooks and beats.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The musical construction is so jaunty that they can't be serious even if they're cutting their alienated fans out of the joke. [Feb/Mar 2007]
    • 70 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    If opulence can signify liberation in this grotesquely materialistic time, as in hip-hop it can, then Beyoncé earns her props with a bunch of songs she says were inspired all in a rush by her "Dreamgirls" character. [Feb/Mar 2007]
    • 74 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    None of it means a damn thing beyond what it is. Which is just what they were trying so hard to achieve.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    What's most remarkable about this stylistic portmanteau is that every song is an original even though you assume several are among their shoulda-been-a-hit-but-wtf-is-it? covers.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    This album lays it on too thick... and declines the thematic burden of "Separation Sunday." As stories, on the other hand, the songs could convince anyone that kids have a hard time.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Though I wish the beats were less corny-orchestral, Fiasco marks his own turf in a three-song sequence that would have led the second side back in the day. [Feb/Mar 2007]
    • 74 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Though smarty-pants Lemony Snicket fans may get references I miss, in between there are times when Stephin Merritt's monotonous low baritone seems merely inexpressive.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    This isn't the gauntlet "Fishscale" was. It's just a good bunch of songs. [Feb/Mar 2007]
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The fun comes easier when he fools around with the title conceit, and even sometimes when he thinks about it.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    I still prefer 2004's disreputable "Winchester Cathedral." But this is a proper guitar fix nevertheless. [Feb/Mar 2007]
    • 80 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Playing at world, at heavy, at soul, [Jack White] arts it up plenty and protests a little.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The best music here is so deep it's more powerful than the rhymes.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Polysyllabic and self-aware, this is the best political punk in years.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    There's no denying her eye for out-of-the-way details or her ear for a decent tune.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    She remains a nice kid whose knowledge of her own limitations doesn't interfere with her self-respect. That's not just because the knowledge helps her make catchy music out of it, either. But the music helps.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    This is a speedier pop suite suitable for dancing or straightening up the flat.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Every single track offers up its momentary pleasures--choruses that make you say yeah on songs you've already found wanting, confessional details and emotional aperçus on an album that still reduces to quality product when they're over.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Just when you're ready to give up and apply to graduate school, along comes a simple band who get everything right.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Once again its vagaries are its distinction. Doherty makes a case for flat-on-your-ass alienation in an insane wartime culture.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Loaded with talent, heart and personality, he's an eccentric who still thinks the world is his friend, and one more sweet argument for the civilized compromises of democratic socialism.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Timelag-wise, the 1957 concept is as if some '60s songpoet had conceived an album about Armistice Day, influenza, the Palmer raids and Mary Pickford. Only that would have been a milestone and this isn't, which you can blame on heightened aesthetic expectations rather than the potency of this Canadian rapper's literary mojo.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Through almost as many producers as Mary, this album has a single identity, a contour and a groove that suits its well-inhabited breakup concept.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Deconstructing and recontextualizing their tune stock "mais oui," these robot wannabes bathed the unwashed in the blood of the synthesizer, broadening and lowering sounds that in their original substantiations owe not just Detroit techno but Ramada Inn lounge.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    By dint of hard work, Ghost now has him a minor career as the classiest crime story writer in a genre that supports plenty of them.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The album belongs to the hip-hop hippie. And an album it definitely is.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    There are enough sonic strokes here to keep the wrong bizzer in ringtone rappers for a year.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Busta Rhymes and Ludacris get her back to where she once belonged for the duration of their openers. After that, it's an expensive, honorable, credible sampler of the hottest current R&B brands.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    He makes UNKLE and Fall Out Boy sound fresher than Tricky Stewart.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Affecting a clarity and delight that pleases the many and confounds the some, their lyrically alluring, structurally hop-skip-and-jumping songs aren't deep. They're just thoughtful fun.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    As vision, still somewhere between narrow and ignant. Yet not a boho archetype for nothing.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Finer minds than mine may find these pieces worthy of continuous attention. I say they're background music, there waiting when your mind drifts speakerward, just distracting enough to change up your mood in a useful way.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    These nutty kids turned DOR nostalgia act make their first album in 16 years their sex album. Eeyew, say today's normal kids. 'Bout time, says anybody old enough to know that one lure of the flesh is that it's always decaying.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Very minor, rather lovely and it rocks.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Right now her main message is just to do all this. If enough people like it, she has the aura of someone who might push the envelope.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    This one's solider, more concrete -- even beautiful sometimes.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    As on most Go-Betweens records, the melodies take time to sink in, though not the Grant McLennan legacy retrofitted with a Robert lyric about Grant's affinity for melody.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Live, McMurtry can still be way too strophic and trad. But he's never made an album so loud or hard.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Only one thing's certain -- his songwriting.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    True, Green spends more time supplicating than celebrating, and probably fabricated the whole scenario. But he knows his subject, and he doesn't need Jesus to lay it down.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    From the start you know this is no mixtape because it's clearer and more forceful. Every track attends to detail, with fun tricks like the chipmunk-chorused "Mr. Carter"'s sudden descent into screwed-and-chopped before Jay-Z comes in.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The sound is bigger too, strengthening a band that's all guitars-drums-vocals sonics -- including Molly Siegel's yelping vocables, without which the sound's faux-tween soul and wise-ass tempo shifts would evanesce into abstraction.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Listen to your body tonight. They made themselves up, and they're strictly for real.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The beats beat Green Lantern's. And what the finale has to say about Obama is so sane I may just check out van Sertima myself.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Clipse's smarts and purity are seductive in the manner of a Jim Thompson novel, even a John Donne meditation.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    It's also the rare work of art that captures the dizzy infatuation that is dedicated infant care. All that's missing is a song about sleep deprivation.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    No Age too brutalist for you? Here's a heedlessly beautiful alternative.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    If you can't get with this expediently excessive piece of rich-get-richer, commercial rap albums are beyond your ken.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    It's Buenos Aires' Gaby Kerpel without irony, maybe even Barcelona's Manu Chao without hooks -- ecstatic yes, escapist no.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Elegiac rather than dancey, but elegiac about the preconditions of the dance, it states, sustains, and varies a bracing mood. It even has an ending.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    I'm moved nevertheless by what can pass for a concept album about the romantic life of an uncommonly-to-impossibly strong and gifted teenage girl, starting on the first day of high school and gradually shedding naiveté without approaching misery or neurosis.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Tune and tempo conquer all even if love doesn't, and soon, if you listen up, you'll hear her toss her head and move on, jubilant in her capacity for jubilation.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Altogether as slow, sad-ass and self-involved as reported, this is a breakup album there's no reason to like except that it's brilliant.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    They're still true believers in the cleansing if not excoriating power of rock and roll.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    After what K'naan has been through, bless him for trying--the ebullience he extracts from a life much tougher than North Americans can know is worthy of soukous, mbaqanga, the highlife of Ghana's most punishing inflationary spiral.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Muffling their excellent knowledge of English in jangle and reverb, four theoretical nerds demonstrate why a band is better than grad school.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Actual musicians help -- world-beating T-Pain more than world-weary Julian Casablancas. So do other actors.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Even the now-obligatory vulnerable one, where Karen tries to prove she's not only human but nice, is... well, not a cartoon, but at least a bedtime story.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Striding forward, Cooper won't let that stop her. She hurts, but her chin scarcely trembles at all.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    In the wake of three questionable albums, shtick is a relief, not just because it's really great shtick but because after all these years we're happy to be clear about whether she's performing or expressing herself.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The clincher is how gracefully this klutz skates over the oddly rolling beats of J Dilla, Jake One and the Metal Fingered Villain... Doom (ellipsis in original).
    • 57 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Soused at the student union bar, licking Haagen-Dazs off her beau in literally filthy foreplay, she's weird and you're weird. That makes you mates.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Songs are his job, and his reserves are apparently inexhaustible.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    He's so psyched as he watches those houses get bigger that he invests his excellent story-songs with an emotion their excellent studio versions have never matched--though maybe now they will.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    How many great songs about rock and roll can one man write before he gets tiresome? We may find out.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    It defines vicinity so broadly that you'll also find Beiderbecke and Reinhardt, two Ellington tunes, songs by a jazz critic and Ed Sullivan's bandleader.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The sound is so scrawny it can wear on you, meaning their 34-minute album is probably two songs too long. But there's only one I'd scrap.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The fourth Dolls album and second of their second life is the first one that's less than epochal. Not all the tunes are surefire.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Over Thurston and Lee's combustible tunings and Steve's strong beat, they've long since learned to construct memorable tunes track in and track out.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    On his third solo album, the thematic focus is intense enough to ignite kindling.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    At his worst, Lewis can be a wise-ass scold. At his best he's a vulnerable master of the humorously ineffable and a tribute to the humanism of a SUNY education and the Lower East Side.