PopMatters' Scores

  • TV
  • Music
For 7,883 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 42% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 54% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 4.9 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 67
Highest review score: 100 Elephant
Lowest review score: 0 Travistan
Score distribution:
7,883 music reviews
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Man Mountain is an explosion of cinematic orchestration and lush 1960s guitars, cerebrally chill and simply extraordinary.... One of the best albums of 2002.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The most striking aspect of Gold Medal is the band's remarkable maturation process over the past two years.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Somehow, it just might be the pop album of the year.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The rock energy that drove much of their early career has given way to a perfect sense for texture and sound. Reveal is a lush, dreamy pop mood-piece that hovers in the realm of rumination and introspection.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The fact that a woman of Lynn's tenure can slide so easily into what is essentially an alt-country environment without losing any of her down-home authenticity simply underscores her versatility and timelessness.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The Shins dare to take some chances on this CD, and their boldness winds up elevating this album over their first one by a considerable margin.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The world of Two Way Monologue may find more by way of endings and duties, but even these can't dampen Lerche's contagious musical sensibilities, exhilarating vigor and downright stupefying songcraft.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Tyrannosaurus Hives lacks its predecessor's cohesive vision, but it finds the band in excellent form, exploring universes beyond their own. One of the year's best.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Sung Tongs is an inch more sublime than anything they've done previously, with more phenomenal use of their manic choir of Motown vocals, less scattered, clique-ish dissonance, and more sideshow bubblegum-pop freaking out on god-knows-what powerful substance.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Plainly stated, Turn on the Bright Lights is the album modern followers of post-punk have been waiting for.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It's startlingly good, better than an eight-year-layoff album has any right to be.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The problem with Madvillainy, if it can even be termed a problem, is that Doom and Madlib just have too many ideas.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    As a singer, Morrissey has never sounded better than this.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Review #1: <A HREF="http://popmatters.com/music/reviews/s/smithelliott-fromabasement.shtml" TARGET="_blank">A decisive triumph, and probably a personal best for Smith</A> [score=90]; Review #2: <A HREF="http://popmatters.com/music/reviews/s/smithelliott-fromabasement2.shtml" TARGET="_blank">May be Smith's finest.</A> [score=90]
    • PopMatters
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The band has never sounded stronger on record as they do here.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Unlike the overstuffed Silver or Seacaucus, The Meadowlands manages to reveal the expanse of the Wrens' vision without trading on their intimate charms.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    <A HREF="http://www.popmatters.com/music/reviews/d/deathcabforcutie-transatlanticism.shtml" TARGET="_blank">This album is a beautiful trek through time that pays tribute to the human condition with simple melodies and honest storytelling, a nearly perfect pop record.</A> [Review 1, Score: 100] <A HREF="http://www.popmatters.com/music/reviews/d/deathcabforcutie-transatlanticism2.shtml" TARGET="_blank">For old-school Death Cab supporters, it's gut-check time: Did you like these guys for their "rock" or their "indie"? While the secret is out, the music is still too emotionally honest and infectiously witty to hold at a distance.</A> [Review 2, Score: 80]
    • PopMatters
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    That level of "realness", the way that the songs ring true whether he's bragging or self-criticizing, joking or praying, is what makes The College Dropout more than worthy of all of the attention that it's getting.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The most musically rich, catchy, smartly written "new new wave" record since Interpol's Turn on the Bright Lights.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    While this album isn't quite as good as the now legendary Stillmatic, it is one of the best hip-hop discs to drop in some time.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    This is without question their finest hour since the classic Emperor Tomato Ketchup.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Concept albums can often be difficult affairs, more geared towards scratching their creators self indulgent itch than providing listeners with an enjoyable experience. While Mount Eerie is not on the same level as The Wall or Tommy, it is a remarkable effort by a brilliantly talented band.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Like the best mixtape, The Magnificent glides from songs that are destined to be underground classics, party tracks, songs to get our swerve on to, and the straight head nodders.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    White Hot Peach proves that they cannot be dismissed as mere one-hit wonders. Primitive Radio Gods have created one of those rare recordings that is not only great, but is nearly essential.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The album's electrifying, hypnotic songs are hard to shake.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Earnest and straightforward, as rock and roll should be.... The Last DJ is clearly an expression of what Tom Petty feels right now, and his honesty -- coupled with his talent -- is revitalizing.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    What makes The Great Destroyer surprising is how seamlessly they balance all these moods and sounds. Not to mention courageously. This is an album, not a collection of Low songs.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It is a fantastic album, no less so than the one before it.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    His appeal isn't just in the wedding of hip-hop to the American folk tradition; other artists from Beck to Timbaland have taken respectable shots into that acoustic barrel. Buck 65 is doing something more ambitious: reading a tradition of American storytelling through hip-hop.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    [It] could be annoying if it turned into a game of "spot the references", but somehow it never does.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Woman King is, in essence, the sound of a songwriter with an intuitive grasp on his craft, swiftly acknowledging the studio's crucial supporting role in his songs' structure and rearing.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It's an accessible album, but one containing challenging contrasts. In the end, what's most impressive is how Arulpragasam powerfully weaves a consistent theme of rootlessness throughout the record, drawing on her experiences in both the third world and modern London, from civil war to Western urban culture, and her own, highly unique, bastardized form of pop music is the extraordinary end result.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Rarely do records come around that are such a great mix of a physical adrenaline rush combined with intellectualism.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The effect is one of musical theater.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Chesnutt has rarely sounded better... expressing a full array of vivid and contrasting emotional states.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    [A] freedom to push things to extremes is what makes In Case We Die such a thrill ride.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    E is one of the best songwriters America has to offer, and he has made as personal, poignant, and ultimately redeeming an album that you are ever going to hear.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Ultimately, Devils & Dust does not break new ground. In many ways, it is rather conventional -- a mostly acoustic collection that hearkens back to Bruce's origins as a singer-songwriter -- but it is this conventionality, in its acceptance of older American forms of music, where the disc hits its mark.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It's already on my list as one of the absolute best albums of 2005.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It's her darkest and most complex record to date, an examination of the centripetal destruction that consumes lives at the point of no return.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    <A HREF="http://popmatters.com/music/reviews/s/spoon-gimmefiction.shtml" TARGET="_blank">Review #1:</A> The sound of Gimme Fiction is as ideal a conceptualization of the band as could be imagined. [score=100]; <A HREF="http://popmatters.com/music/reviews/s/spoon-gimmefiction2.shtml" TARGET="_blank">Review #2:</A> "Gimme Fiction" has a sense of mischief and curiosity that renders it more consistently varied and just plain more listenable than "Moonlight". [score=80]
    • PopMatters
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    There is no other hard rock band around who can match the audacity, intensity, progressive nature, and accessibility of System of a Down, and with Mezmerize, they've simply topped themselves.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Demon Days is fantastic.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    A record that sounds as if it would be very much at home on any AOR radio station in the 1970s.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The results are less like a rarities collection and more like an unlikely greatest hits album.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    An early frontrunner for the UK album of the year.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Consistently excellent, Okkervil River's Black Sheep Boy is a record that stuns on first listen, then manages the elusive -- it sinks deep into your soul.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    A big leap from the already high elevation of Michigan.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Kano's album is ridiculously good.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The New Pornographers are a recurring reminder of how ebullient this kind of music can be, which makes them radicals of the form.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    At once hip-shaking, high-brow, heartfelt, hallowed, and a hell of a good time.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The Craft stands as an example that it is possible to successfully branch out while keeping the roots of your culture alive.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    What really distinguishes Apologies to the Queen Mary from just another ambitious rock album though, is the dynamic and accessible songwriting -- and the voices that propel those songs from the streets to the stratosphere.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The tracks here each carry a specific style and personality that speak to its theme of exploring love in all its forms. It's the usual theme for a country record, especially a modern one, but Yearwood's class as a performer shifts even the most standard dedication to love lost, contained, empty, potential, new, or dead, into an area all its own.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    All in all, The Naked Truth is a great musical and lyrical effort, as well as a timely response to the media and the peanut gallery.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The finest mainstream hip-hop album of the year.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    What is great about this set is that one disc feels like enough, but once you hear the second you know it's necessary.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Full of Light and Full of Fire is easily one of the best albums of the decade.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The best pop record of the year.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    70 minutes to savor, to let the words run through you, to let the melodies wrap around you.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Donuts is hip-hop, then, like “Howl” is poetry or Guernica is painting: the best aspects of a particular style, developed to their fullest and executed masterfully.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It is astonishing that after a 10-year long affair Arab Strap can make a record as compelling as this.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    These are great pop songs put across in fantastic performances.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Live it’s easy to ignore the subtleties of the songs, which makes Six Demon Bag a different, but equally great experience.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Only about two hairs-breadth away from being a masterpiece.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    T.I. is the whole package: gritty, smooth, smart, dangerous, introspective, and wise.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    On a very basic level, this CD is a fun, weird, nifty album of Brazilian pop music, and can easily be enjoyed as such. Unpeel the layers, and you will reap even greeter rewards, revealing a creative treatise on the rights of women in society.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Devastating and exquisite, You Are There is the pinnacle of MONO’s discography thus far.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    But this isn’t a hoary breathing of air into faded songs; this is a sonic transfusion on the order of the Mermaid Avenue records.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Pearl Jam is another straight-up collection of raw, blistered rock and moody mid-tempo balladry. The difference here, and the reason for excitement, is that the self-titled record more consistently achieves the grandeur, rage, and beauty they’ve always pursued, throughout its entirety.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The Drift--in all its nightmarish, bloody glory--is as bold and profound a comment on our times as has emerged so far this century.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    With a new album of expertly-crafted, touching, and refreshingly honest odes to life, Regina Spektor has grown without growing away from what makes her so special.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Amputechture is the most complete, most listenable, and most accomplished album from the band to date.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Lambchop have long been one of America’s greatest bands, and Damaged is their greatest achievement.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The new album may be very No Wave and avant-garde influenced but it is a truly original record.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass is nothing if not dazzling.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The Trials of Van Occupanther is such a nuanced, finely layered work that Midlake has certainly crafted one of the best releases of 2006.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    You can call it selling out. You can call it mainstream. Just don’t call it bad. Call it the best album of their career. Scratch that: call it one of the best of 2006.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    I’m not saying this is the easiest music to deal with; those with more vanilla tastes will not want to come anywhere near this. But for avant-garde multi-genre music from Japan, it’s awfully cuddly and adorable.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Quite simply, Nashville is a necessary addition to the collection of anyone who respects the tradition of great singing and storytelling.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Compiled from various stages of his career, with varying fidelity but weirdly without varying quality, Orphans is the singularly odd cutting-room comp that serves as an equally decent introduction to a career.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    This is a cohesive, serious album. It is distressing, depressed, isolated, alienating, and probably the best Of Montreal album to date.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Her voice shares the same dusky, stained-glass quality as Chan Marshall’s, strident but capable of fracturing at any moment.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It’s a rare album that is not only great on it’s first listen, but just as remarkable on it’s tenth.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    By taking the piss out of himself and the cynicism out of his outlook, Bird’s songs are not only smart and sensible but joyous and full of hope.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    As great as Chavez Ravine was, My Name Is Buddy is more thoroughly successful, possessing a stronger musical identity and top-notch songwriting throughout.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    For anyone who has enjoyed even the briefest of flirtations with pop music, The Magic Position is as bold and captivating a record as you will surely hear all year.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Cassadaga is an assured and accomplished album; a classic constructed from classic elements.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The Reminder is an exceptional album that should be experienced solely on the merits its stunning musicality.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    A soulful, sad, yet ultimately hopeful document largely about putting a brave face in the midst of a dissolving relationship, indulging influences from Bill Fay to Charles Wright to Steve Miller, Sky Blue Sky is the rare, mature album where said maturity is seldom compromised by banality.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Because of You might end up being the best R&B album of the year.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    This album, like all great albums, somehow transcends all the factors that makes it work, absorbs them in a seamless whole and breaks your heart in the process.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It’s a demanding and complex album that has proven to be one of the best albums I’ve heard in years, a universal soundtrack to a life that requires no visuals to imagine.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Fresh and familiar is a consistent hallmark of the Austin band, and Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga proves to be no exception.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The only thing that prevents Fantastic Playroom from being a wholly perfect creation is the simple fact that, as good as it is, this is still only their first album.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The sequencing is what makes this disc such a divine pleasure: we get to hear a band grow from grinning upstarts to tension-battered road warriors.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It never feels like those doing the picking had to lower the standards or tack things on to fill out a weak selection, and like a greatest hits album from any band worth its salt, the biggest criticism to be found here is the failure to include certain songs.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The entirety of Emerald City seeks to elevate to the personal and the timeless, and top to bottom it is a success.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    There are a lot of clever, cutting lines in this album, lots of references to taking many drugs and then taking even more, and in the hands of a less assured band these things would come off sounding callow and glib.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    M.I.A. has given us one of the albums of the year. Bravo.