PopMatters' Scores

  • TV
  • Music
For 7,217 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 4.9 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 67
Highest review score: 100 Love And Theft
Lowest review score: 0 Travistan
Score distribution:
7,217 music reviews
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    At the end of the day, few people will doubt Pinkerton's power, and whether you're hearing it for the first time or just for the first time in a few months, it remains as visceral a listen as ever.
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Easily one of the best classic re-releases yet.
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    No matter how many releases we get from the Davis archives, no matter how familiar you are with his mid-'60s work, LIVE in Europe 1967 will surprise you and remind you that, even in lean times, even when the trends of the genre he championed were moving away from him, even when his country stopped caring, Miles Davis found a way to press forward, to reinvent, and to give us yet another classic sound, and perhaps the final thrilling word on Jazz as he knew it.
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    In four and a half hours, Wadada Leo Smith writes one of America's defining events in sound, and the story is all of ours.
    • 99 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    These outtakes give a sort of new context for the album itself, which sounds brilliant in this remaster, but they don’t exactly give us a complete story. Even the huge booklet and documentary about the band here don’t exactly give us the clear picture of Spiderland.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This entire collection proves one thing: Paul Simon and Graceland will remain as one of the most relevant pop records of all time.
    • 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.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Each song is a story. And that’s greatness in this kind of music.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The three discs represent lightning captured in a bottle.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It wouldn’t be hyperbolic to declare Keep an Eye on the Sky an indispensable cornerstone of any serious music fan’s collection, and one of the greatest box sets ever assembled. Finally, Big Star get their due chance to shine.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The bonus CD makes it alarmingly clear that the Pumpkins could have assembled another cracking album from the Siamese Dream castoffs before embarking on the road to Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (1995)...The new editions of Gish and Siamese Dream (especially Siamese Dream, which handily outclasses its companion release in all areas) are sumptuous reminders of the heights the group once attained back when it had everything to prove and nothing to lose.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It's heartfelt. It's dark. It's intricate but immediate, rocking but lush. It does all those things at once, and it does them better than most artists could hope to do any one of them.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This is genre-defying music, but anyone with an interest in hearing a blueprint for trip hop or a master class in the depiction of desire in pop music, should be sure to listen to this mysterious, timeless, contradictory album.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This release reorients us around familiar material, but outdoes all previously existing versions in the scope of its execution and comparative completeness.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    This box set illuminates the complicated, tangled bits of history and ideology and personality that connect that man to that myth. Those threads are frayed, tough to follow at times, but strong.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Exciting and stellar... What a way to show the kids both in 1992 and in 2012 how it's done, Bob.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Cryptic and daunting, "Dopesmoker" is the quintessential stoner metal track. Sixteen years since its birth, it remains unsurpassed.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    In their catalog, though, no album stands out more than Satan Is Real, their 1959 masterpiece that outlines and encapsulates the fragile fine lines of good versus evil, and spirituality versus the mundane.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Six years later, Kanye is undoubtedly the most openly self-aware MC. And the music world should be grateful to have him. I know I am.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Icky Mettle might have a reputation for containing a one-trick pony and the band's singular best known moment in the form of "Web in Front," but there's a wealth of material to really dig into and enjoy.
    • 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.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Through music, Kuti received redemption and power. The Best of the Black President gathers his best singles in one place. Here are the strongest moments of a musician that never played a single unnecessary note.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    This set feels like two complete albums-Some Girls One and Some Girls Two-and the sequel nearly manages to match the original's vital power.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    However delayed Live at Reading‘s official release is, thankfully fans can finally rejoice and celebrate its long-awaited arrival. Few live shows are able to communicate a band’s heart and soul the way Nirvana’s is brilliantly encapsulated here.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    "Love and Theft" sees Dylan roaring back from Highway 61 at full bore, reminding us -- as he did on Blonde on Blonde, The Basement Tapes, and Blood on the Tracks -- that, like him or not, there isn't anybody else who can do his job.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Upon further reflection, an Achtung Baby shorn of any extras should be more than enough to satisfy you, after all-that's how it's been served for the past two decades. Everything else is mere garnish on top of a flat-out genius work.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    As the most comprehensive portrait of her significant body of work yet, it’s the perfect opportunity to listen closer to the whole picture, to see what overarching stories Parton’s music offers, to think about the rich bounty of stories and ideas that live in her songs.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Biokinetics remains their unequivocal masterpiece.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Blur 21: The Box documents [the band's evolution] with a staggering breadth of material-even the B-sides and unreleased material feel uniformly strong. It's a complete and necessary document for a band so important to their country's music and to music in general.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Around these four brilliant sets, we also get three bonus cuts from the Fillmore West in April of 1970. These sets [are] a bit murkier in quality--the four proper sets here are pristine--but they make for compelling contrasts.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Deafheaven’s audacity and artistry are hard to deny, which is but one of many reasons why Sunbather is an essential listen, and one of 2013’s boldest works of art.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    If you care a thing for rock ‘n’ roll, country, or American music in general, No Depression is simply essential.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It may never occupy the place in the indie rock canon that "Slanted and Enchanted" has, and it may not be regarded as the band’s high point like "Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain," but 11 years later, this album still sounds great, maybe even better in its old age.
    • 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.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    If none of the new songs are essential, they'll still be a boon to completists, while those who only know Guthrie's most famous songs will get a much more rounded overview from Woody at 100.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    At Carnegie Hall staunchly carries with it the brand characteristics that launched this cultural exchange.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It is an album that can be loved as both an achievement and an experience, a document and a revelation; it is simultaneously a problem to be solved and a spectacle to simply witness.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Because half these songs are already widely available elsewhere, this collection has slightly less archival impact than the Gentile Elvis's Sun Sessions or last year's widely-circulated Never Mind the Bullets, Here's Early Bob Seger. Musically, though, it's in their league.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    These discs should be played loud, but not to ramp up the cinematics. Rather, they should be played loud to highlight the intimate details, to convince you just how uniquely, impossibly good these guys were when they played together.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    You will be hard pressed to find another album that is as essential and equal parts human and inhuman as The Satanist, a world-beating return from near death for Behemoth’s enigmatic emperor.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Each album, from the White Stripes to De Stijl to White Blood Cells, has shown their evolution from Blind Willie McTell cover band with a pop sensibility to full-fledged, honest-to-goodness rock 'n' roll gods, a status finally reached on their latest disc.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Raw Power is one of his definitive statements, and it is presented here in superb form. You owe it to yourself to get this.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Imperfect and ambitious, sometimes startling and always smart.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Lamar concentrates the ideas of hip-hop narrative and nonfiction into such a form that's shocking for how simultaneously accessible yet full of depth it is.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    With this record, Skinner is now in a class all his own; nobody else is making music like this.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It was as powerful a set of players as Davis ever played with, but it also did its own thing, carving out a space that was equal parts eccentric and classic, innovative and authoritative.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It's funky and fantastic, futuristic but retro. It's in a category of its own.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The Guitar Song quite firmly cements Johnson's place at the forefront of today's country music songwriters, performers, and singers. The fact that he had the courage to put out a 25-song album after achieving some success is not as significant as the courage he had to keep following his vision of what country music can and should be.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    A big leap from the already high elevation of Michigan.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Despite its girth, Shout! Factory's The Complete Beat isn't really complete....Complete still gives you three Peel Sessions, a mini-concert, and some fine dubs and 12" mixes along with the original albums.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    This is essential for fans of Texas singer-songwriters, Americana, idiosyncratic albums, or for anyone looking to have an intimate exchange with a sensitive man during a turbulent time in American pop culture history.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Rio is a full range of emotion, created on the spot. All these years later, Keith Jarrett remains great.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Original Pirate Material, to put it plainly, is the most vivid evocation of life as a young person in the UK since Blur's Parklife, and yes, even The Clash's first album.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Tom Waits has never made an album quite like Alice before.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It's a shame only Church and Remy Zero fans will be inclined to check this out because it is a masterpiece lying beyond the power of the descriptive word.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The vastly competent array of MCs each have their own distinct flow and pace, but very little--from Flowdan’s lightning-fast verbal gymnastics, to Rick Ranking’s slow-cooked esophageal rumblings, to Roger Robinson’s soulful melancholy--clashes in a way that dulls or vitiates the album’s impact.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The human voice, the most striking change in Burial’s sound, renders Untrue superior to its predecessor.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    If, by chance, Spaces happens to be the very first record which you pick up by Nils Frahm, I must proclaim to be extremely jealous--you have a beautiful and highly rewarding journey ahead of you, my friend.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Clark’s songwriting has a peculiar gap to it, and St. Vincent’s best moments are the ones that happen between sense and nonsense, between the long story and the primal reaction to it.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Neon Golden is one of the most exquisite electronic albums to come out in ages.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    A charming, witty pastiche of mashed up samples, beats, bangs, and bobs.... Truly a breakthrough in the world of dance music.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    In the end, though, it may be the power of the sound that undid this two-minded performer. Two decades on and that power, tragic as it is, has yet to diminish.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Last Exit, while being one of the year's most cutting-edge releases, is, most importantly, a warm, friendly, entirely accessible pop album.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Merriweather Post Pavilion finds Animal Collective tight and sharp, and it suits them. Animal Collective’s music is for everyone’s world.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Whether or not Songs for the Deaf manages to break through to the ever-fickle TRL crowd remains to be seen; those people with the patience to sit through this remarkable album a few times, though, will know the score.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    This is a deep, darkly beautiful work. The interplay between these two men is exceedingly rare in any type of music. Ali and Toumani is profound and powerful, with a soft accumulating force, like the individual drips of ice that form a river.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Those who bought the album first time round may well feel tempted by the goodies on offer in the second disc. But for those unacquainted with High Land Hard Rain, or know Aztec Camera only from their 1988 hit “Somewhere In My Heart”, you are in for a treat.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The results are less like a rarities collection and more like an unlikely greatest hits album.
    • 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.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The result of this incredible journey, Memorial, is the first landmark post-metal release since Isis’ Panopticon, Russian Circles’ greatest achievement, and unquestioningly one of 2013’s true artistic masterpieces.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It’s an impressive record to listen to--the compositions are even more beautiful than Ekstasis, even though they’re often more fragmented--but it’s also a frightening depiction of what it feels like to have a whole population making you up in its head.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    There’s a sense of purpose here, of direction and clarity, shafts of accessibility that relegate the din to the background without ever compromising the potentially hostile underbelly of the band’s core sound.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Some of the most euphoric, mind-blowingly beautiful music we have heard in years.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The 16 songs that appear on Rejoicing in the Hands, are so striking in their sound and so original, that no producer could've have imagined them. If anything, they affirm Devendra Banhart as one of the most unique musical talents to emerge in quite some time.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The best album of Björk's career
    • 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
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The album proves itself to be what we all thought Radiohead couldn’t make again: a masterpiece.
    • 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.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It is fresh, original, and points the way.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Meticulously choppy and frequently free of inherent genre boundaries, it's an askew masterpiece of brains, brawn, heart, and soul.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Black Tambourine is indispensable listening for anyone with even a passing interest in indie pop's past or current renaissance and a wholly welcome reminder of the unwavering greatness of one of the genre's truly seminal bands.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    So fresh, so revelatory, so alive.
    • 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.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Tokumaru’s music, it’s now well established, is quirky but profound, foreign but still universal.
    • 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
    Silent Movies is able to take all of the disparate descriptions above and press them into one unifying album. Marc Ribot really ought to have the opportunity to score films more often, because the results can be breathtaking.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    This reissue of A New Way to Pay Old Debts tacks on the two-song "High Wasted" 7-inch and four previously unreleased tracks from the original recording sessions, making this scuzz-fuzz journey through the dirt and clay beneath the Mississippi Delta even more essential than it was upon its initial run through the experimental woodlands.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Few bands today are as good at telling a simple, straightforward, from-the-gut story like the Drive-By Truckers are.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Aside from a couple of hiccups (the clunky R&B of "Get By", the silly call and response of "Knock Knock"), it's every bit as good as Boy in da Corner, and sometimes even better.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It’s a poignant, reflective, and very often frank portrayal of humanity’s dual impulses authored by someone who has lived several chapters, yet knows the story is constantly being rewritten.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The band has never sounded stronger on record as they do here.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Balanced, not bombastic, long-practiced, and utterly identifiable even when playing across different styles--that's a great band. And Historicity is the album they had to make.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    World Without Tears is a complex, multifaceted album that musically highlights Williams's continued blurring of musical genres and poetic lyrics.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Their work, especially that displayed on Refinement, stands as some of the more original and evocative music being produced today, smart and technical without sacrificing atmosphere and feeling.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The most musically rich, catchy, smartly written "new new wave" record since Interpol's Turn on the Bright Lights.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Ultimately, Airtight's Revenge joins Erykah Badu's Mama's Gun, Van Hunt's Popular, Meshell Ndegeocello's Cookie: The Anthropological Mixtape, Rahsaan Patterson's Wines & Spirits, Joi's Amoeba Cleansing Syndrome, and Sy Smith's Conflict as a generation-defining masterwork of unflinching vision that captures the artist at the very moment in time that it is released.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Tigermending has everything that a superb record requires: heart, soul, mysticism, unpredictability, and complexity, which is never sacrificed for accessibility.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Excavation is entirely capable of conjuring up all sorts of images in your mind while the music plays, but Virgins keeps you focused instead on what’s happening inside of it; for music with so few conventional entry points, Hecker has again managed to make his work structurally and viscerally gripping.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    As foolish as it seems to say that any music is 100 percent new, I've never heard anything like this before.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    A carefully layered, multifaceted album in terms of its sound, music, lyrics, and thematic cohesion -- in short, a great musical achievement.