PopMatters' Scores

  • TV
  • Music
For 8,856 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 43% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 53% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 4.6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 67
Highest review score: 100 Titles & Idols
Lowest review score: 0 Travistan
Score distribution:
8856 music reviews
    • 93 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The overall presentation of My Dusty Road, however, falls far short of the standard achieved by The Asch Recordings.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Carrie & Lowell is tough to nail down, but it’s also tough to listen to.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Half of the album is magnificent, and stylistically contradistinct, while the other half exists in some offbeat and off-putting terrain that will either elude its listeners, or alienate them.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    It’s a good album, but not a great one, and though the long tail of history will eventually render such a long production time moot, it’s certainly not a record justifying the ludicrous wait.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The Suburbs offers several observations comparable to the ones above but fails to combine them with a greater mixture of moods and topics.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Despite its hype, its expectations, its blown up sound, and its many production flourishes, Bon Iver is nothing more than a solid placeholder album.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    With brevity missing from Toledo’s musical toolkit (see the blame-deflecting “The Ballad of the Costa Concordia” and its 11:32 run time), the pain is exacerbated by songs that are simply too long to be memorable; what few hooks exist on Teens of Denial are quickly forgotten.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Overall, the album has held itself up as a solid rock record over 25 years, and that’s quite the success. The demos are of mixed blessings, to be honest. It seems that they were pretty much just run-throughs for the sake of the album producer.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    So what's the problem? It's too, uh, perfect.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Remastered by Weston as fuzzy or sharp, this generous re-release (the second in a series by Merge Records, founded by Superchunk) should win Vee Vee another devoted following.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Halcyon Digest is, to my mind, the best we've seen from Deerhunter, and a hint that their best is still to come. It's a fascinating document to study, but I'm not sure that makes it all great music.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    At 59 and 48 minutes each, with space left to fill on both CDs, the label’s lack of curiosity about these more obscure sections of the Blur discography seems negligent.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Bleach is a stronger record than it is commonly perceived to be, and does deserve to be checked out in some form by fans of heavy riff-driven rock. Regardless, this reissue is underwhelming, seemingly more concerned with enticing Nirvana completists to purchase it for the live material than in illuminating why Nirvana’s first album was an important step in a career that has helped define rock music for the last two decades.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    It’s too bad really, that Have One on Me is so overdone because there’s a decent album hidden somewhere in there.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Understand that most of the tracks are excellent. If this were a stand-alone record, I would rate it more highly. As an overview of or introduction to Pavement, it is terribly flawed.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    It is an album about the ways in which we recover, the ways in which we find ourselves after feeling loss. It’s also an album that, musically, full of fitful and exciting exploration.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    While Lambert obviously sees herself as the headstrong country rock rebel that all the little girls will understand, the true joys of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend are to be found elsewhere.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Kaputt is eccentric and enjoyable, but it's no Infidels, which is to say it never quite breaks through its sonic limitations.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    A record so concerned with repeating the strengths of an album past that it forgets to chart its own path.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    There is nothing wrong with bands making predictable music specifically designed to be played live; hell, bands like Motörhead and AC/DC have become rock institutions by doing just that. With this in mind, do not expect an artistic revelation from Fantasy Empire.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    There’s enough that’s interesting and/or good about Light Up Gold to give it a solid recommendation, with the caveat that Savage’s voice is likely an acquired taste.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Wildheart is the sound of Miguel fully coming into his own identity. Now, we just have to wait for him to do something with it.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Takk... is in no way a departure for the band, and it's easy to forget that though the music is very different from most of what's out there, we've heard it from Sigur Rós before.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The album is a classy, low-key affair, with solid, tasteful arrangements designed to show off the singers and the songs.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    More than a patchy but occasionally brilliant album, Multiply is the whisper that the greatest soul music, rather than being trapped in our memories of times gone by, may yet play free in days to come.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    For anyone who loved Emergency and I, or any of the Dismemberment Plan's other two records, Change sounds like The Dismemberment Plan on Quaaludes.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Sub Pop commendably delivers an anthology from a prime influence on their hometown heroes Mudhoney, and Feedtime's return to the shelves proves timely.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    In their multi-ethnic make-up, the face-painted, twenty-something strong Allstars chant a slightly more devolved game than fellow marimba manglers Konono No.1, but the cumulative effect is similar, a sustained concussion of sound, a kind of sonic vertigo that subverts the cliché of Congo as perpetual victim.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Despite all the critics desperately wanting White to continue being our modern-day rock savior, the record can't have it both ways [being both a pointed statement about the pains of a break up and a collection of daring, wacky and eccentric songs] -although it's still a blast to hear it try.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The intricacies of the original Beatles recordings are easily overwhelmed by the cake-layer construction of Love‘s fantastical jigsaw.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    This album is worth a listen. It's too watered down to stand the test of time, but right now, it hits the spot.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Despite the individual quality of almost every song and performance, there’s simply not enough variation of style, rhythm or mood on Like Red on a Rose.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    It's hard to scrape the sensation that there's something a little inadequate about Tryptych, even as immersive headphone sessions reveal new levels of depth within the productions.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Despite such strong material, it’s a shame it has to be bogged down by a good six or seven tracks of filler.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Overall, this album is sure to divide opinion on the band and its future; it will more than likely continue to raise Mastodon's star higher in the sky, enough to get the non-metalheads interested, but not enough to pull the group completely out of the sludge where it belongs and where it works best.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    While the songs on Peace Sells… hold up exceptionally well to this day, what the "special edition" fans were so looking forward to is nowhere near as special as it should have been.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Cliche love songs, too many similar beats and melodies, and a lack of energy all pull the album down, and when the album is composed in a way that should be fully appreciated in its entirety, the lack of variety affect the album’s success even more.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    One is left feeling that the Dodos are selling themselves short, hanging onto prettyboy singer-songwriterdom when they should be letting their freak flag fly.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Accelerator is a confounding album, even a decade and a half later. It's a clear representation of what made Royal Trux so good, but you can also see the limits of their stubborn approach on this album.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    There’s simply not enough sonic variation going on here to make Soused nearly as compelling as its respective creators’ past efforts.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    This is the weakest of Lambert's four big solo records, and overall it lacks the lively charm of Hell on Heels, her excellent August album with the supergroup Pistol Annies.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The Foundling is certainly Gauthier's least showy album, which is saying something. It's also a notch or two down from her best, due to a handful of songs (mostly in the album's latter third) that aim for Gauthier's typically hard, simple honesty and instead land in the territory of gloomy repetition of aches and pains one would expect from this type of project.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    It ain't a perfect, cohesive statement, but Major/Minor packs too much power to be ignored.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    There are good songs here to be sure, but a measure of skepticism shouldn’t just arise from the band’s original fan base.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Broken Social Scene is a gratuitous collection of repetitive pocket-symphony anthems for the indie set and an unsuccessful regurgitation of You Forgot It in People's rareness.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    He's produced an album that takes his current style just about as far as it can go. At the very least, those who have followed him this far should be satisfied.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    There could be some discomfort initially, but it's equally likely R&B fans who give Back to Love a shot will soon have it stuck in their rotation, learning to accept the quirks of its lesser tracks and falling more and more for its standouts.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Neither a home run, then, nor the dreaded sophomore slump, The Monitor is, it is probably more fair to say, the album that finds the band maturing beyond the precocious triumph of their debut by first having to pass through their awkward, gangly adolescent phase.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The greatest fault of Do You Like Rock Music? is that it is a statement album without a statement, only a response.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Sunken Condos is the kind of album I wasn't sure Fagen still had in him: surprising and yet sophisticated. Sometimes it does feel that Fagen is running through the motions, but it sounds like he's actually having a bit of a great time with the material.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Echoes of Silence shows that Abel Tesfaye continues to evolve, and it offers a glimpse of potentially exciting future.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Like Remedy, Rooty is either a brilliantly innovative record, or an unlistenable mess, depending on your point of view. To my ear it's somewhere in between, the work of two very talented house producers and songwriters with a taste for old-school sounds that's sometimes entertaining, but often unfortunate.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Some of the music on A Very British Synthesiser Group is as good as pop music gets, but as a package, you would be better off spending your money elsewhere.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    These guys claim to be mad crazy; they just don't sound like it here. Their largely instrumental songs are about parties, but they don't bring the party itself. They've premeditated every "Hep!" and "Hey!" [But] that's not to say I couldn't listen to them for a while.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 45 Critic Score
    REVIEW#1: <A HREF="http://www.popmatters.com/music/reviews/n/national-alligator.shtml" TARGET="_blank">Over 13 doing-nothing tracks, Matt Berninger bumbles out useless lyrics that he doesn't have the guts to put across.</A> (Score=20); REVIEW#2: <A HREF="http://popmatters.com/music/reviews/n/national-alligator2.shtml" TARGET="_blank">Alligator is one of those albums that slowly dawns on you. Given half a chance, it's ultimately a very rewarding listening experience that I predict will continue to grow in stature as time passes.</A> (Score=70)
    • PopMatters
    • 82 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    At times exhausting, at other times exhilarating, Primary Colours is more an experience than an album and, despite its flaws, one that deserves to be heard.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    An impressively silly little pop album devoted to happy dance grooves.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    If the execution isn’t fully there, however, it’s still more fascinating to hear Deerhunter take on whatever style Bradford Cox endeavors than most other upper-tier indie rock bands.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Put quite simply The Next Day is dull.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Lloyd's most interesting work can be his most rewarding, and Mirror is an example of how little ventured equals little gained. If it weren't for the final two songs, I would say nothing ventured equals nothing gained.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    There’s a tendency for Crowell’s music to be a tad too literal from time to time and a few tracks suffer from this perspective. The hits outweigh the misses, though.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Unfortunately, a talented producer doesn't a great album make, as is the case with the shabby Under Construction.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Before, the most crazed cacophony could impossibly capitulate into swooning grandeur, but now that disparity just isn’t so striking. The dynamic is still in play, but with the edges rounded off, any tension is diminished.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Too much of it -- both on the "experimental" tracks and the "traditional White Stripes" tracks -- feels like unfinished sketches.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Morning Phase very much burns low, differing from Sea Change in notable ways while at the exact same time robbing that album of so many textures, ideas, and poses that Beck’s own claims of this disc not being a sequel to Sea Change prove to be downright laughable.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    So Life Is Good becomes the latest Nas album that doesn't quite do what it could. While Nas is rapping as best as he can here, the album as a whole is decent but too inconsistent to be anything more.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    In its least engaging moments, Platform feels more like a homework assignment geared to some equivocal set than an album. In its better moments, it’s electronic music for the fourth-dimension.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Goon isn’t great, at least in terms of its ambitions, but it is a fine example of what might evolve from pure pop purpose.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    At 15 tracks, Kaytranada could’ve easily cut out about three of the lesser songs here and had a better album.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The likes of Velocity Girl, the Sunflowers, and the Belltower are indie pop that happens to use the odd distortion pedal. Not unpleasant, but only marginally part of the story, if that. By the last couple discs, you have bands like Blind Mr. Jones which are rehashes of the “classic” sound of Slowdive et al, but with a flute.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    It's still nothing I'd recommend to the casual listener, but there are interesting ideas at work here.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    For the first time in their career, Built to Spill have made an album that is both lyrically and musically indifferent.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Country is a hard genre to screw up, and if there’s anything that this album proves, it’s that Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs have a pretty capable handle on the genre, even if it isn’t quite as perfect a handle that you would come to expect from someone of this pedigree.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    If anything clouds the reflection offered by The Boxing Mirror, it comes in the form of a couple of odd production choices.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    What really lifts this out of the ordinary is the undeniable craft that has gone into the song writing.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    J$P‘s strengths might outweigh its weaknesses, but it’s just not enough. Also, this album feels far too long at a mere 60 minutes’ runtime.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    An Introduction to… may well lead new listeners to Smith's back catalogue, but hopefully they won't stop where the compilation does. Smith's entire recorded works are worth exploring, even those not technically independent releases.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    On Lullaby, the vocalist and songwriter certainly makes good on that declaration, his refreshing lack of desperation taking shape in a melting pot of Americana, new age and electronic music.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The material on show may be uneven, but there is more than adequate promise and sheer ability to make you think that one day Bill Ryder-Jones may deliver an absolute masterpiece.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Anniemal is pleasant enough to listen to; when I played it in my car while I was stuck in traffic, it helped take the edge off. It reminded me of music heard in malls, peppy and buoying, but not so compelling as to distract you from the clothes.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The banality here neutralizes the complexity and thoughtfulness one finds elsewhere on this record, giving the false sense that the whole thing is more saccharine than it really is. Sadly, that's what happens when the good songs are as forgettable as the bad.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    While Forest Swords isn’t going to be an easy listen for the average music fan, those that are already predisposed to this type of material will probably get a lot out of it.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Sure, the quintet has gone back to the cookie-cutter sound of twin leads, hardcore breakdowns, and alternating clean and harsh vocals, but by essentially admitting that they have no innovative ideas whatsoever and are content to work within that metalcore template, they actually sound like a band liberated on The Powerless Rise.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    It’s good to know he’s still in fine form and is going to keep on keepin’ on, but for now I’m more left waiting for the next Robert Forster album than able to really love this one.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The band is more than mere axe-bludgeoners. They've got original ideas that show a willingness to experiment with music beyond speaker-hiccuping thrash; some ideas pan out, others, not so much.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Like its concluding song, The Age of Adz is occasionally transfixing, but overall inconsistent.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The best parts of this record recall Bird at his finest, tweaking his sound just enough to freshen it up, but unfortunately they're surrounded by too many songs that end up as pleasant background music.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    The Crying Light is a record that effectively changes Antony’s character and makes him a difficult entity to relate to, forcing him more into the realm of animatronics than human existence.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    As with most of Hart’s work, The Argument is an ambitious album that is often brilliant when it isn’t tripping over itself.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Nothing on Real Life is No Cool is unlistenable, but the songs are devoid of much of the industrious guidance of previous Lindstrom work.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    If Hairless Toys is the sound of an artist with absolutely nothing to lose, then it also is the sound of an audience with little to gain.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Like many of his more divisive albums, A Treasure finds him digging into a musical itch he needs to scratch-here, the country and western tradition--and while it works better than those records, it still might be more of a compelling and curious piece to the Neil Young story than it is a great live document in its own right.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    There's very little variance in tempo or tone from track to track, the shadings almost imperceptible to the casual ear. At times You Win Again, Gravity! seems more a study in monochrome than an album in full living Technicolor.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    On this disc, Beirut is a one trick pony, albeit one with a pretty good trick.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    In cleaning up his act and focusing his attention on socially relevant soul music, ChesnuTT left behind some of the experimentation and sense of playfulness that initially made him so beguiling.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    It is a thoroughly likeable little trifle of a record, valuable even if only for having produced what is undeniably The Single of 2010, but one wishes that Cee-Lo had not been nearly as content to work so comfortably within the confines of his considerable range and talent.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    All the songs on Big Black Coat sound like love songs, all eleven of them.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    This Liz, however, can still produce a satisfying forty-five minutes or so of 4AD-styled mysterious, drifting amorphia (complete with acoustic guitars and pretty vocals), and that’s rare enough that Grouper are worth watching.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Reflektor doesn’t contain any actually bad songs (the closest we can peg on the collection would be a small amount of filler material), but the impact of a full listen is one of catchy excitement and impressive pop rock which slowly rolls downhill into the murky sonic depths of the more somber second half without any truly punctuating final moment of the record itself.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    It doesn't take a genius to see that this is a wicked concept on paper: Marshall's got the voice and the vibe to make it work, but there's a nagging sense that it wasn't properly planned out.