The A.V. Club's Scores

For 3,578 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 64% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 34% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 1.7 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 73
Highest review score: 100 Open Your Heart
Lowest review score: 0 Graffiti
Score distribution:
3,578 music reviews
    • 78 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Easier than ever to grasp, yet still constantly, joyously vexing, We Were Dead is another terrific set from a band that couldn't make something dull even if drowning were the only other option.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    What seemed like a radical departure two years ago now sounds like a waystation on the journey to this more disjointed, more fragmented, more demanding, and ultimately more rewarding work.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Bird has developed a finesse for off-kilter pop that takes mortality, confusion, and unexpected realizations as its subject, shaping them all into songs that are catchier, by their own terms, than most of Top 40 radio.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Sometimes ominous, sometimes celebratory, always compelling, Person Pitch is as clattering and tactile as a beaded curtain.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Because Of The Times isn't likely to make anyone forget Lynyrd Skynyrd. But it's still one of the most consistently surprising and vibrant rock records since, arguably, Aha Shake Heartbreak.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    It's not a grand departure, just the best album yet by one of the modern-rock era's most loveable bands.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    One of hip-hop's few essential EPs.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Saltbreakers is exceptionally strong, and it shows Veirs has more than just poetic whimsy up her sleeve.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    23
    The softer focus fits them exceptionally well.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The Reminder sounds best on headphones, since its rich room tone and casual instrumental interplay is essential to the experience.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    At their best—pretty much all of Black Pompadour qualifies—The Zincs sound like an accomplished friend, sharing skill and knowledge without being pretentious about it.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The songs on Fourteen Autumns are loud, and graced with long-line melodies that are easy to hum, but there's nothing quick or disposable about them.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    It's an album of shiny surfaces and great depths.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Tio Bitar finds Dungen streamlining its expansive pop-psych attack with a set of jams that hit with more clarity and intensity than ever.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    If nothing else, this record is fun.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    There's a real person writing and singing these songs, with a lifetime's worth of joys and disappointments, as well as the wisdom to keep it all in proper balance.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    An engaging study in contrasts and a killer party record.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Sirens is the sound of a freshly liberated songwriter scouring his soul - and coming up full-handed.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Monch makes a lean 47 minutes seem epic in the best way.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    On Super Taranta!, the NYC-based gypsy-punk crew is as energized as ever.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Lyrical wallowing is almost a required element for this genre, and ultimately even The Con's failings work in its favor, providing a macro version of what the best Tegan And Sara songs do, by stumbling along recklessly, then falling together.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Ever the brilliant craftsmen, Gene and Dean display a sharp eye for genre-specific details, offering just the right amounts of cheese and hooks (not to mention their trademark vulgarity) on splendidly stupid songs.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Rarely has the Inferno sounded this inviting.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Multi-instrumentalist/producer Junior masters JS's many loves without having to scale them down, and expands Don't Stop's compact party into a show of force.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    If previous New Pornographers albums are the musical equivalent of Jolt Cola, Challengers is the caffeine-free diet version: less sugary, more mature, initially not as invigorating, but ultimately just as addictive.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    In its journey from form to formlessness, the record feels like Caribou reaching back toward a primordial pool of sound.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Sexual and spiritual, conscious and just plain fun, Eardrum is a master class in lyricism from a man supremely comfortable in his own skin.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    When the guests fall back on what's always worked well enough, Galactic seems to take that as a challenge, and takes enough risks to make it sound a little fresher.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    He's a one-man musical melting pot who synthesizes several continents' worth of ideas, sounds, and slogans into one swinging all-night dance party. This is internationalism at its funkiest.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Oakley Hall's almost indescribably transcendent quality burns through in songs like 'All The Way Down,' which rides amplified waves of fiery guitar and tuneful wailing, while evoking the reassuring fellowship of church camp.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Harvey has one of the most forceful voices around, but here she relies on her silk-thin upper register to create a delicate album that skates across despair without ever quite sinking into it.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    While not a huge sonic leap forward for Minus The Bear, Planet shows the band eager--and more than able--to take a deep breath and explore its emerging maturity and depth.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Moore turns inward and turns down, which works to his advantage.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Let's Stay Friends is LSF's comeback--and frontman Tim Harrington and crew have picked up precisely where they left off.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    An angry Steve Earle is something to behold, but watch out for the man when he's in love.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Elsewhere, it's business as usual--mostly amazing business, to be sure, but never entirely unexpected.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Cease To Begin, doesn't deviate much from its excellent 2006 debut, "Everything All The Time," the record's relaxed, understated grace is distinctively Southern in its lack of self-consciousness.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    La Cucaracha is just another sprawling Ween record--fans will love it, neophytes will be confused—but it's the best sprawling Ween record since 1997's "The Mollusk."
    • 83 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Judging by this surprisingly strong return to form, Jay-Z might want to consider spending less time in the office and more time at the movies.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Ire Works is a near-perfect pileup of craft and chaos--and it shows that Dillinger's recent injuries left some beautiful scars.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Though its conceptual component feels fuzzy and abstract at best, The Cool oozes geek chic with terrific songs, smart, dense lyrics, and nimble, eclectic production.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    While DYLRM? lacks the wild-eyed spits and howls of "Decline Of British Sea Power," it's definitely BSP's most rocking effort yet, replacing the sterility that plagued its sophomore slump, "Open Season," with stadium-sized bravado.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Loud-quiet-loud has never been so dizzying.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Eitzel's trademark gloom still dominates, but his ability to bend glacial chords around pure poetry remains vital. In fact, it's stronger than ever.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The venom is still there, and it's just as potent, but it tastes a little sweeter this time around.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Wisconsin singer-songwriter Justin Vernon, who records as Bon Iver (a bastardized version of the French phrase for "good winter"), still manages to put his own stamp on a moribund genre with his quietly startling debut, For Emma, Forever Ago.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The disc is buoyed by an underlying pop sensibility, epitomized by the bubbly 'A&E' and 'Caravan Girl.'
    • 68 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Go Away White is more than a swansong. It's a minor masterpiece that proves Bauhaus has been nicely preserved.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    King's vocals (on four of the 11 tracks) are more of a distraction than they were on "Red," though they add just the right amount of spice to make Revenge enjoyable from beginning to end.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Urata's slurred warble leaps into soaring vibrato, and the group's eerie throb of violin, accordion, and sousaphone has never felt so cinematic.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The overall effect is an endearing, successful addition to Ward's never-ending quest to assimilate every single populist song form of the 20th century.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Brain Thrust Mastery wouldn't exist without the '80s, but We Are Scientists offer up more than just retro-rock, even when they get as danceable as The Killers.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    April, his third full-length under the Sun Kil Moon moniker, and the first made up of new songs since 2003, easily bears the weight of expectations, proving once again that he really does transcend any slowcore or singer-songwriter tags that have been tossed his way.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    This is the late-night, beat-driven, torpid-languid music of a zillion coffee shops, sure, but with the blood drained out of it, a creepy-crawly, black-and-white-sounding thing that gets under the skin and stays there from the first play
    • 80 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    It's Hutchison's utterly believable desperation and frank lyrics that push the whole thing from good to great.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Far from an easygoing slice of complacent contentedness, Kensington Heights finds the band pinpointing its angry energy with expert precision, rather than flailing with the wild abandon of old.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Jim
    On Jim, Lidell course-corrects by choosing a warmer, more organic palette. It's a retro-soul record minus the bleeps and whistles, and it exposes Lidell as the charming, confident vocalist he is.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Though at times it threatens to become overbearing in its eclecticism, Santogold's solid lyricism and pop sensibility keep the album from disappearing up its own ass.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The four-track EP hints back at last year's Strawberry Jam, but the songs are more melodic and spacious--more patient in making way for whatever drifts in.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    It sounds timeless, yet tossed-off. Best of all, it's a real blast, just like messing around with your drinking buddies (rock legends or not) should be.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Today's politically charged songwriters can drop coy manifestos and clever metaphors all they want--Silver Mt Zion's 13 Blues actually flushes out the psychic, karmic residue of a suicidal civilization just to stomp around in all that apocalyptic plasma.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Tindersticks remains a champion at feel-bad soul strings, but those who've found the group's previous work oppressive might want to try again: Staples' vocals haven't changed, but with the music as pared-down as one of their impressionistic soundtracks, it's a new sound.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The songs are full, lush, even sparkling, and their teeming arrangements--woodwinds, electric piano, summer-afternoon copulations of banjo and violin--are the best of his career.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Meiburg's voice focuses each track on quietly bold melodies, strung through with excitement, wonder, and joy.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The new Pacific Ocean Blue: Legacy Edition corrects that [being out of print] while confirming the rumors of the album's greatness.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Two Men With The Blues is Willie at his most limber--and the surprise is that his co-star, the oft-formal Wynton Marsalis, sounds just as loose.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Drawing from a seemingly inexhaustible supply of sass, Coppola wraps her laid-back vocals around narratives that are innovative yet accessible, resulting in one of the most promising pop debuts 2008 is likely to see.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    On Preteen Weaponry, it patiently carves its own landscape and brews up the weather to go with it.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The album only has two full-fledged ballads, and while they don’t burst with the same life as the rest of the record, they showcase the songwriting and performance chops that should earn Maria a notable career beyond this impressive debut.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    While certain details are kept shrouded, the acts and emotions are hyper-real, and the story's arc is plenty navigable.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    On Dear Science, TVOTR finds a more traditional consistency, transmuting that dirty experimentalism into a lush cleanliness that eases--rather than hurls--its songs into the art-making ether.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Ultimately, though, Dead Confederate's alt-country/grunge hybrid doesn't just feel like a compelling debut, it feels like a compelling new genre.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Resurgam is brimming with glacial, lucent, keys-driven beauty.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    More importantly, the songwriting is better this time around, with sharp hooks that draw blood once they grab on.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The Neil Young and Beatles influences are laid bare, the quirkiness is now more tuneful than cerebral, and the band has surrendered to the basic human craving for candied country melodies.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The result is even more appealing than Konono, drawing on likembes, the buzzing and drum-like tam tam, electric guitars, and half a dozen vocalists to create hypnotic, rich, complex polyrhythmic wonders.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Nearly all the songs on Offend Maggie find different ways to achieve a surprisingly full, evocative union of Deerhoof's pop sense and experimental whims.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    As Dylan's official bootlegs go, this is one of the series' best.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    By the time the track 'Where Do You Run To'--and its echoing impersonation of Joy Division's 'A Means To An End'--shambles by, Vivian Girls morphs from a work of nosebleed pop into something icy and numbing.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Williams spent much of this decade proving she can branch out, but here she's staged something even more impressive: a pleasing homecoming.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Black Ice will trigger nostalgia in the devout, but inasmuch as the album reaffirms AC/DC's power, there's nothing backward-looking about it.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The bolder sound signals that Deerhunter is now less concerned with the scarring effects of loss, conflict, and the passage of time, and more concerned with the ways to escape those things--even if that escape is fleeting.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Receivers finds the band slowing down the tempo and more fully exploring the textures and nuances of its dense, multi-layered soundscapes.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Here are the simple things about Chinese Democracy: Three of the songs are astonishing. Four or five others are very good. The vocals are brilliantly recorded, and the guitar playing is (generally) more interesting than the guitar playing on the "Use Your Illusion" albums.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Welcome To Mali sounds heavily produced but not overproduced, and even with the pings and whizzing, Amadou’s playing and the pair’s singing insure it never sounds less than organic.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    It's the rare supergroup that's actually super.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    With its brash and boiling-over debut, Titus Andronicus has done its small part to draw indie-rock out of the genre's recent navel-obsessed slump.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Get Guilty is a stirring set of memorable power-pop, given a personal spin via Newman's habit of delivering hard-to-parse pronouncements, like some kind of mad-eyed, curiously convincing soothsayer.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Vocalist Inara George and programmer Greg Kurstin have an affinity for all things pretty and vaguely retro, as her exceedingly pleasant vocals and his lush production attest. It's a formula, yes, but one that works over and over.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Not since 1992’s "Your Arsenal" has he combined barbed wit and fast-moving, backward-glancing guitar rock so piercingly.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Sometimes the rigid pattern of power-murk-power gets a little too predictable, but the pleasure of having a Trail Of Dead album that contains mostly good parts and no blind alleys more than makes up for any reduction in ambition.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Earlier Vetiver records cultivated an air of backwoods mysticism, heavy on acoustic picking and tribal percussion, but Tight Knit is a leap ahead, stepping out of the mists and shadows and into a warm, bright clearing.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    200 Million Thousand showcases some of their most satisfying [tunes] yet.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Fully digested, Hungry Bird succeeds as a grand epitaph and a birth announcement.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    All of Middle Cyclone is reliably Case-like, in that it seems unpredictable, unless you’ve listened to Case long enough to understand what she understands: that following fleeting impulses can be as rewarding as it is dangerous.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    They’re sensitive and sublime.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Her eponymous debut as Fever Ray is countless times more claustrophobic and creepy than "Silent Shout."
    • 65 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The rest of the remarkably memorable Kicks is similarly raw, tight, and funky.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    What makes Eagle so strong is that the music stayed light, and those bucolic splashes of washed-out color contrast so well against Bill Callahan’s blues.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Three years away has done wonders for the masked supervillain. The rapper who now goes by DOOM (“all big letters but it ain’t no acronym”) comes roaring back to life on the largely self-produced Born Like This.