Sonicnet's Scores

  • Music
For 287 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 55% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 42% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 1.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 70
Highest review score: 100 The "W"
Lowest review score: 30 Unified Theory
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 1 out of 287
287 music reviews
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Remedy is the next great step forward for house music.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Stephen Malkmus sounds like a great unmade Pavement album polished to within an inch of its life.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's about as good a hip hop album as you will hear this year. Correction: Make that great.... It's hip-hop that plays to the streets and the suburbs with equal intensity, intelligence, insanity and integrity.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    When a tune falls into the jurisdiction of the venerable country-folk troubadour, the accumulated details of any previous readings or associations are stripped away, and its core brilliantly revealed.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2) finds Partridge and Moulding at the top of their game, making the collection a fitting match for past XTC triumphs...
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Featuring vocal contributions from Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie, punk-blues aficionado Jon Spencer and ex-Tricky collaborator Martina Toppley-Bird, Bow Down to the Exit Sign is a dark, soul-wrenching trip through an even darker world.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    With Flowers, Ian McCulloch finally finds the proper musical vehicle for the older-but-wiser (but not that much wiser) persona he's been trying on for the last few years.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    By broadening both their emotional and musical spectrums, Tindersticks have come up with their best album yet -- and a classic of its kind.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Even though one can hear echoes of everything from "The Threepenny Opera" to Bitches Brew here, the funk is in her DNA.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Comparisons will inevitably be made between Canto and the Buena Vista Social Club disc, but the most significant similarity is that they both feature great songs and terrific musicianship.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The Friends of Rachel Worth is the first new Go-Betweens album in a dozen years, and, remarkably, it's as if they were never away.... an ever-so-slightly-updated sound with a hint of lo-fi -- something the Go-Betweens pioneered on their earliest albums, before they found their more renowned intimate style.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Throughout the album, Cole & co. offer up one pop nugget after another, all carefully honed through warts-and-all shows held in New York over the last few years. The result is that The Negatives isn't just Cole's most consistent disc in 11 years; it's also quite possibly his best ever.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Miss E... So Addictive shows another side of Missy Elliott, yet unlike the calculations of other artists who morph themselves mainly as a marketing scheme, her dancing-sex-queen moves come through more like revelation than reinvention.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Some of the finest music of their already sterling career.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Perhaps his most humane album and warmest work to date.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    A landmark album that is Carpenter's best effort since 1994's Stones in the Road -- and, quite possibly, her best ever.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Whenever the delicious sensuality of the music threatens to take over, the anxiety and restless intelligence that drive it return to the surface, creating a quietly riveting tension. Fan Dance could be Sam Phillips' best album yet -- and that's really saying something.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    This is classic Cure music, straight up (or should that be straight down?): lengthy songs (most more than five minutes) with plenty of cold, alternately chiming and grinding guitars, fluttering keyboards and, of course, Smith's mournful yowl, which hasn't sounded this intense since the The Top's "Shake Dog Shake" in 1984.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    All for You is every bit as impressive a collection as Control, her first collaboration with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis fifteen years ago.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    On the evidence of her work here, one would have to say there really isn't any pop-rock composer writing more sophisticated material these days than Mann.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    This time around, the group eschews player-hating specificity but hits equally hard (albeit with subtler blows) against the commercially dominated empire of gangsta and hoochie rap.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    He's responsible for some of the most classic (and controversial) jams in the history of hip-hop.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Celebrity is a few good songs short of becoming a new gold pop standard (Michael Jackson's all-hits Thriller still holds that distinction), but with its well-balanced dance track-to-ballad ratio and uniformly infectious grooves, it does come within moonwalk striking distance...
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Little Sparrow captures one of country's greatest talents in top form, backed by some of the best acoustic players around...
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Ancient Melodies... acknowledges the importance of ongoing adult relationships. This may reduce the music's hipness quotient, but it greatly increases its emotional resonance.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Recorded at various venues between 1990 and 1996, the versions of the songs that appear on Live are generally rougher and more expansive than their studio counterparts. And they're not only loud: they're heavy. Mike Inez's bass feels like it's jammed in your spine. Vocalist Layne Staley -- he of the well-documented battle with heroin addiction -- sounds like someone in crisis who may implode at any moment. He grips you, and you lose yourself in his struggle. All of this helps make these performances vital.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Imagine Charles Bukowski or Irvine Welsh reading poetry with musical accompaniment provided by Joy Division, and you've got the general idea.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Without resorting to sappy new age or yuppie lounge cliches, Hebden has created a blissed-out ambient album for the post-rave generation.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A smart, sensitive blend of head and heart.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Vega's been good before, especially on her eponymous 1985 debut and its '87 follow-up, Solitude Standing, but never as consistently good as she is here.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Twangy guitars, melancholy pedal steel and mournful, high country fiddles abound on this collection... Tomorrow's Sounds Today forgoes the livelier and more genre-bending studio tricks that pushed mid-'90s albums such as Gone and This Time into brave new sonic realms. This time around, as it was in the beginning, the mood is modest, the sound is sparse and sans embellishments.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    One of the best things about Ms. C as an artist, especially considering her indie-ish background, is that she hasn't been afraid to embrace plastic pop as a vehicle for self-expression. More importantly, though, having found success within this genre , Vitamin C here takes chances instead of relying purely on formula.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    At first audition, Broadcast is disposable John Barry-inspired pop drenched in overcharged organs, egregious electronic overproduction and languorous vocals that somehow have no residue.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Horns, keyboards and acoustic guitars dominate the 10 tracks here, with an overall live sound that steers clear of the studio effects the band embraced with their last release, Guerrilla.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Even though Mirror drifts toward the pop end of the spectrum, this session is undeniably more satisfying.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Shangri-La Dee Da stands with the band's best work -- a furious tug of war between strychnine-laced grunge and acid-stoked psychedelic pop. In fact, it may be well be the brooding California group's pinnacle.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    While Bilal's vocal gymnastics -- high-arching notes, off-rhythm choruses and complex harmonies -- add texture to these songs, many of them sound too musically similar to everything else in the neo-soul movement. He's at his best on the tracks that he or his partner, Dahoud Darien, have produced themselves.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Time Bomb is loaded with two things that are markedly absent from most of today's hard rock scene: memorable melodies and a loose but swinging rhythmic foundation.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The collaboration ultimately benefits both players, adding a touch of art house abandon to Hammond's at times studied formalism, and authenticity to Waits' Martian grease-monkey blues.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's too bad this independently released album will most likely fall through the commercial cracks, because Stag is one of those rare albums that fuses aggression, good music and sharp institutional critiques without sounding strident or, um, stiff.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This is Duncan Sheik at his most orchestrally, acoustically indulgent, and it's a lovely, haunting effort.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The spy-music fetish and dubbed-out paranoia of the band's first two albums are traded in for earthy Stax soul and sprightly disco funk, along with plenty of turntable wobbles, wah-wah scratches and analog squiggles...
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Gerald ups the ante again, incorporating astounding vocalists, intricate bass and drum patterns, and mood-altering melodies and tones to take the electronic dance community by storm.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    ESG may have been heard mostly in other artists' songs, but A South Bronx Story is an impressive attempt to focus attention on the force behind the samples.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Although Sound of Water, Saint Etienne's fifth album, may not be as overtly clever as 1991's Foxbase Alpha or as thematically consistent as 1998's Good Humor, it is as subtle as an Antonio Carlos Jobim tune and as mysteriously satisfying as a lazy summer night.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Sugar Ray actually sound like a band -- a quality missing from most of their earlier work.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Righteous Love turns out to have been worth the five-year wait, as it boasts a higher percentage of good songs than Relish, a more organic instrumental sound, and a singer whose vocal finesse now matches her raw power.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Overall, Poses is more daring (and, at times, more mellow) than its predecessor, mostly because Wainwright has densely packed images and sounds in a way that is less immediately catchy and more complex.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    U2 albums are generally slow growers, so it's much too early to label All That You Can't Leave Behind a classic. One can say with reasonable certainty that it's their most vibrant offering since Achtung Baby, their hardest-rocking one since The Joshua Tree, and their first true soul recording.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Alison Krauss & Union Station are one of the best instrumental bands in acoustic music today.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    With Sailing to Philadelphia, however, Knopfler fully reclaims his near-unique position as an instrumentalist of purpose -- one whose every note seems to have a reason for being. That reason, of course, is in service of his beautifully written and masterfully arranged songs.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Take away the album's lone misfire -- the cliché-filled "Rock the Boat," produced by Rapture and E. Seats -- and this work is nearly perfect.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Continues the musical evolution that was evident on last year's Knock Knock, with a collection that goes beyond Smog's standard home-alone-in-the-basement-with-a-four track-and-a-weird-mood aesthetic.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's been a good three decades since Dylan has sounded as footloose and, er, freewheeling as he does on much of Love and Theft. That it comes on the heels of '97's haunted, hellhound-on-my-trail-vibed Time Out of Mind makes it all the more remarkable.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Agaetis Byrjun is an impressively unself-conscious record that would have been difficult to make in a trend-obsessive center like London or New York. It is sincere and though its influences may be familiar, its beauty and tenderness are refreshingly new.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Continues in the bucolic vein of Deserter's Songs, and sounds almost as wondrous.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    When the Pawn Hits ... is so good that the next album could have a 900-word title and I wouldn't even scratch my goatee.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    While love- and life-torn Alexakis might lyrically be working familiar terrain here, he has the smarts to place his odes to abuse and regret into an intriguing assortment of different contexts, making this album well worth listening to
    • 46 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The Surfers teeter on the brink of conventional rock values. However, throughout the new album, singer Gibby Haynes drives the proverbial truck into the ditch with rambling psychotic speeches.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Actually, all through this, his second solo disc, Wyclef goes for skin-deep musical ideas.... Still, most of Wyclef's little ideas are terrific.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Revelling/Reckoning is a dense, daunting work -- and, quite possibly, her strongest one yet.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A lot of what distinguishes Wonderful Life is its fragility. At its best, the music feels as though it could blow apart at any moment.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    With the twangy, kaleidoscopic blend of country blues, downtown jazz and so many other unexpected flavors and sounds on Bill Frisell's latest album, Blues Dream, one can't help but be reminded a little of the updated American folkloric music score in the Coen Brothers' latest film.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Basement Jaxx create real songs around their chugging house beats.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It is clear that these two albums need to be heard and absorbed side by side?
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    In the five long years since that multiplatinum release, these SoCal rockers have nearly been torn apart by fame, and the accompanying mixed-up emotions are manifested not just in the lyrics but also in the album's musical genre jumps.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A strong, expressive singer, Usher is particularly adroit at seductive, late-night ballads.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A curious time warp of a recording: loud, soft, tender, mean, thoughtful, reckless.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Because her samples are so shameless, so out in the open, what No More Drama sounds like in the end is Blige singing along to the radio: equal parts fan and artist.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    OST
    What a refreshing rarity this is: movie music that's vital to the story being told, yet proudly standing on its own, with no trace of SoundScan calculation in its choices.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Even at its slickest moments, Gung Ho is worthwhile, not only for Smith's lyrics but for her soulful vocals. At 53, she sounds much like the jazz vocalists who develop and train their voices as they age.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Happily deviates from the Moon Safari mold of new wave kitsch and sugary pop, guiding the knob-twisting duo's retro-synth sensibilities into a darker, more brooding realm.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Midnite Vultures is the album of a great entertainer, not a great artist.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Red Dirt Girl is a model of tasteful genre blending: a little bit country and a little bit electro-ambient pop.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    [rating only; no review]
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    By my count, you've still got 50 keepers out of 69, give or take a few songs. And about a third of those sound like classics.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    In toeing the fine line between clever and dumb, they've always worn their "I'm With Stupid" T-shirts with goofy pride. But don't cry for them, as this time they've polished their musical turd to a brilliant sheen.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Here, country twang knocks against rap, funk basslines and blues harmonicas, and liberal lashings of reggae, ska and dub are added -- all adding up to a groove jam congealed into a multi-faceted but consistent and accomplished sound.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Granted, not everything here is top drawer scarf-worthy.... Still, it's worth noting that the album works to a middle-of-the-set peak -- which means that Aerosmith understands the dynamics of CD construction better than bands half its age.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    They may not always transcend their influences, but even when they don't, they make wallowing in them a helluva lot of fun.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    On Let It Come Down, Jason Pierce successfully peels away layers of pretension and exposes the humanity at the heart of his music.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Radiohead have remembered how to feel, and do so without relying on the arena rock bluster of The Bends, the Orwellian remoteness of OK Computer or Kid A's pretense as a sort of MC Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. That's why Amnesiac sounds like their best album.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    She has always been a good songwriter -- experimental, dynamic, probing -- but here she demonstrates that she has the potential to be a truly masterful one. With newfound clarity and restraint, and with her usual wit, she examines the ways in which we try to convince ourselves that we are safe in an unsafe world.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    But what makes Badu a source of deep pride for her black audience (and intriguing puzzlement for her ever-growing white one) is that her mysticism produces its most compelling poetry when set against gritty realities such as drug-dealing boyfriends, jealous neighbors, ghetto etiquette, and the constant war on poverty. As a songwriter, Badu's particular gift is being able to work such everyday touchstones into sublime allusions of spiritual rebirth.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Even darker and more emotionally resonant than its impressive predecessors.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It contains some of the most affecting work she's ever created, exploring the power of songs stripped to their essence, and the juxtaposition of delicate melodies with the explosive emotions conveyed by her lyrics.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The duo's most commercial and downright joyous album to date.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A strong rebound that finds lang supported by the sleek, techno-lite production of Damian leGassick?
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The Blueprint is not a perfect album. Some of the material is undoubtedly filler. But this recording makes it clear that hip-hop is supposed to be fun -- and that Jay-Z is having a ball.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Ditching lo-fi aesthetics for a more radio-ready sound in the spirit of, say, the Raspberries or Badfinger, Pollard has wisely chosen not bury his songs in oblique lyrical references and muddy tape hiss.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    TP-2.com isn't the masterpiece Kelly seems capable of, but it's as strong an R&B album as any since, well, since R., balancing the carnal and the spiritual as convincingly as anyone's done it since Prince in the 1980s.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    One of the most exciting pop-music experiments to along in a long while.... Selmasongs works as an album, not just as a souvenir of a daring cinematic and musical venture.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    1997's Homogenic, also a mixture of heavy beats and strings, was not as varied or complete as this album, and while Selmasongs, last year's soundtrack to "Dancer in the Dark" (in which Björk starred), was lovely in its own sweeping, cinematic way, Björk has surpassed herself with this new work.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    There are more layers here than on Mouse on Mars' last album, 2000's critically acclaimed Niun Niggung, and everything is more intricately detailed, each sound given plenty of space in the mix.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    On G.O.A.T., LL Cool J has renewed his old-school style for a new generation of fans while still retaining old-school support.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Lovers' Rock ranks among the finest albums of the year, as Sade, nimbly utilizing that distinctively smoky, vulnerable instrument that is her voice, weaves gentle yet insinuating odes to love and loss.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The writing shines throughout... Steve Earle seems able to do anything he cares to.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Slayer return to the knuckle-busting fury of their demonic 1986 speed metal classic, Reign in Blood, while still somehow managing to spike their sonic mayhem with some catchy riffing and the odd melodic vocal line.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A seamless and transcendent eight-track mix culled from a handful of 1998 and 1999 performances...
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Now
    Now is Maxwell's best album, because he's learned that while soul can be suggested by a good groove, it really lives in a song.