The A.V. Club's Scores

For 3,595 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 Midlife: A Beginner's Guide To Blur
Lowest review score: 0 The Path of Totality
Score distribution:
3,595 music reviews
    • 100 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    Everything that made it on the album--and much of what didn’t--belongs exactly where it is. (Yes, even the blazing but unfortunately named blues jam “Turd On The Run.”)
    • 100 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The Clash's London Calling stands as one of the few unimpeachably perfect albums... but it doesn't necessarily gain from the added scrutiny.
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It’s a thoughtful look at a legendary act, and one that’s both long overdue and well deserved. Just as Spiderland rewards the patient listener, the box set rewards the patient fan.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Twenty-plus years later, it still sounds ahead of its time and remains an influential, genre-spanning work.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The music of Graceland is as stirring as always.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The new Smile not only justifies its bearing, but also serves as a major triumph.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Given a chance to be herself, Lynn responds with a powerful return to form. [28 Apr 2004]
    • The A.V. Club
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    With only three official albums to its name, Big Star doesn’t seem like a natural for the box-set treatment, but Keep An Eye On The Sky has plenty to offer both neophytes and longtime fans, dropping demos, alternate mixes, and selections from Bell and Chilton’s pre-Big Star work alongside album tracks and the two stunning sides of the only solo work Bell saw released before dying in a car accident in 1978.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The meticulously constructed cathedrals of guitar sounds on Siamese Dream--so clean and melodic, yet also heavy-make the album more comparable to A Night At The Opera or Boston than Nevermind or Vs.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The album’s remarkable 28 minutes still push boundaries, not just buttons.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Wilson has always said he wanted to make a "teenage symphony to God." This Smile is so wonderfully close. Hallelujah.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Many rappers derive inspiration from Clinton, but OutKast has constructed its own far-reaching and experimental mythology, drenching its surrealistic, Southern-fried flows in brilliantly executed funk, blissful soul, rattling live drums, spacey synthesizers, and psychedelic guitars.... In its messy brilliance, OutKast has created a hip-hop Sign O' The Times, a messy, vital classic and a major step forward for both its members and hip-hop as a whole.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's an album of endless pleasures, and its arcane, foggy-headed mysteries never stop revealing themselves.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    The two-disc The Promise collects 22 leftovers (including "The Way," an excellent unlisted bonus track), none of them previously included on Springsteen's Tracks box set, all of them polished, to one extent or another, in recent years. Some, like "Breakaway" and the title track--a longtime fan favorite previously released only in a version rerecorded in 1999--fit Darkness' themes perfectly.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    He's the kind of libertine who needs to live on the knife's edge just to feel alive, and Fantasy is gloriously alive.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The new double-disc edition of Icky Mettle explains why hopes for AoL were so high, and why those hopes may have been misplaced.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Like both artists' most transcendent work, Madvillainy retains its mystery and wonder after dozens of listens.
    • The A.V. Club
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Some Girls showed that the Stones could pull off the old magic using some flashy new tricks.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    It’s a monster of a concert film in any case, with a band at the height of its powers--and not yet totally sick of 'Smells Like Teen Spirit.'
    • 93 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Love seems to come from a far more freewheeling Bob Dylan than the one on The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, or virtually any other album he's recorded.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Achtung Baby sounds a like a typical U2 record--a terrific U2 record, arguably the best record U2 has ever made, but not exactly the decisive break from the band's past it is remembered as. What Achtung Baby instead represents is U2's last great creative gasp.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The bulk of Dolly comes from the professionally tumultuous, creatively astounding period from the mid-’60s through the Wagoner split.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    The bonus material contains an abundance of amazing, weird, and brilliant moments. But the type of extras included-like a disc of demos from Blur's early years, when the band went by Seymour--will likely only interest completists.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    What’s undeniable is that moments from Sunbather will resonate long after the pointless babble has died down, proving that sometimes the greatest beauty can only be found in the face of chaos.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    No Depression: Legacy Edition chronicles this collision between restlessness and ambition, and portrays a band successfully wrangling both.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Like most modern reissues, this one contains a wealth of B-sides and curios to sift through. Some are fun, like the nasty, thrashing 'Wanna Mess You Around,' but some are for completists only.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Waits may call them orphans, but another artist would call this a career.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    One strength of this set-apart from its generous but judicious stockpile of Guthrie art, artifacts, and analysis-is that it doesn't overwhelm.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It all makes for a bleak spread, but Rascal rises up as a singular musical presence too brimming and perceptive to let the coarse world around him pass by untouched.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    If Archives is ultimately less of a career-redefiner than Decade, that’s only because Young’s become such an entrenched part of rock history that his career has been exhaustively picked-over. Aside from the heretofore under-explored surf influence, there are really only a few new connections made or questions raised with Archives.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Channel Orange is so arrestingly smooth that all of its unusually shaped pieces fit together as a seamless whole.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    All the elements of previous White Stripes records surface again, but in weirder, more intense strains that don't break with Jack and Meg White's past, yet don't slavishly adhere to it, either.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    So many Stooges live sets and outtakes are already available that the bonuses risk redundancy (and there's an even longer "Deluxe Edition" available via mail-order), but Raw Power itself remains a landmark.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    An insanely confident effort that, 40 years on, still surprises in its sensitivity. Sequins and all.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    What's lost is considerable: namely, the justly vaunted lyrical chemistry between Andre 3000 and Big Boi. But what's gained is even more remarkable: the powerful, singular, undiluted visions of two of rap's most fearless sonic explorers.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    no amount of remastering, as excellent and long overdue as it is, can supersede the murky, mumbling majesty of songs like Star Booty's "Carnation" or the cock-rock deconstruction of Umber's "Goat-Legged Country God."
    • 91 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    Good Kid is an exercise in tasteful restraint, with Lamar employing his boundless budget in creative ways.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Upping his narrative ante, Skinner goes all-in on Grand, a bold follow-up that sounds beguilingly slight and dry until details start sketching its story.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    As great as Los Super Seven's self-titled debut still sounds, the new Canto, produced with even more flair by Los Lobos' Steve Berlin, widens the group's scope to include the entire Latin-American hemisphere, acting as an even broader tribute to Latino culture.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Monae's inexhaustible swagger and singular style sell both the high-concept theatrics and the schizophrenic sonics.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    On his audacious, frequently excellent third album, The Guitar Song, Johnson shares his dream of outlaw country becoming as dominant a commercial force as it was in the '70s, over the course of 25 songs rooted in the past, but not indebted to it.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Guitar rock that knows the grit of downtown, understands the seductiveness of a timeless pop song, and recognizes that a great solo can be accomplished in 20 seconds, Is This It may not quite justify its ascent to instant-classic status.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It's easy to play a spot-the-Illinois-reference game, but it's just as easy to step back and marvel at the songs' musical range and sophistication.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Heard as a rap album, Original Pirate Material provides a compelling picture of the style wrapping itself around a different milieu. But taken on his own terms, Skinner reaches too deep and true to sound like anything but a remarkable talent in any genre.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Heartbreakingly delicate even on the up-tempo numbers, Alice contains some of Waits' career's most tender moments.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Twice as raw and thrice as hungry as anything the neo-soul mastermind has previously released, Hoping-from the title on down-is a full-throated, full-throttle challenge.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Funeral's layering of sound and wide-eyed posing can be overly dense, and though the band utilizes nice melodies and lively arrangements, the nostalgia-steeped-indie-rock-orchestra pool was pretty much drained before The Arcade Fire dove in.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Though his partner is absent, this sounds and feels like another OutKast experience--a welcome one.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    As painful as it is to recommend an overpriced monument to corporate synergy, the deluxe set really is a treat for hardcore Petty-heads.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Z
    It's both rare and marvelous to hear a good band make its first really great album.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    With his gloriously grown-up solo debut, one of the smartest, most incisive lyricists alive proves it's possible to grow older in hip-hop while retaining your dignity.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    All told, St. Vincent is a bold, ambitious, and perfectly overstuffed album.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The Notwist's previous stabs at fusing pop, techno, punk, and jazz were dominated by post-adolescent melancholy and petulance. Though Neon Golden obsesses over locked rooms and missed chances, it also acknowledges the pleasures of stasis, the distant possibility of change, and an overall affinity with the "freaks."
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Quite possibly the best sample record ever made.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The slow-building atmospherics of Dylan's 1997 comeback album have given way to some of the most immediately accessible tunes in his catalog.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Like its predecessors, the disc drags in spots but generally delivers, proving that emotionally and artistically, contentment suits Elliott just fine.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    An imperfect collection of remarkable music.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Junior Boys makes hushed, blippy dance music with a contemporary sensibility, as though Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark had been continuously recording since 1980.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The beauty of The Idler Wheel… is how it transmits each of those feelings in excruciating, frank, and lovely detail.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Merriweather's sound plays like both a summation and an expansion of everything Animal Collective has done so far, with a sharper focus on melody and more emboldened vocals that drive the songs.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Musically and vocally, the band sounds tighter and more accomplished than ever.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Track-by-track stylistic swerves make the album singular and exciting, but like-minded swerves within the same tracks ultimately give We Are Monster its living, breathing charge.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Even if Syro isn’t a radical departure, it’s still a swaggering return, a reminder of just how many varieties of warped sound remain at James’ command--and just how few of his acolytes can touch that versatility.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    Fury is as lean and mean sonically as it is lyrically.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Told is worth the wait; raising Saigon's profile is probably Entourage's greatest/only gift to the world, at least where hip-hop is concerned.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Throughout To Be Kind, it seems as if Swans can barely contain Gira’s vision of what his music can surround, conquer, and absorb.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Yours, Mine & Ours strikes the same gorgeous, sad tone as its two predecessors.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Without the thrill of discovery, it's no shock that the returns have diminished slightly on Chutes Too Narrow. But a minor step down from greatness still sounds damn good.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Raekwon pays further homage to his late friend’s memory by releasing a tour de force that honors both the legacies of Wu-Tang Clan and Only Built 4 Cuban Linx.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    He sounds like what he was beneath the myth he was already constructing for himself: a man with a gift for words and music, sitting in a small room and hoping someone outside would listen.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Alternately recalling the best work of Blondie, Leonard Cohen, Depeche Mode, and dozens more, 69 Songs About Love is a sprawling masterpiece of White Album-like proportions.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Bad As Me is entry-level Waits for newcomers, and for longtime fans it's a fun reminder of Waits' ability to be a badass when necessary.
    • 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.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    TV On The Radio previously seemed content to roam the open horizon; here, it's intent on exploring the far side. The journey is, once again, enthralling.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    A near-perfect mix of two sympathetic talents operating in top form.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The album drags a bit near the end, but there's not a bad song on it, bursting out of the gate with the instant classic "Big Exit" before stringing together a bevy of strong material. But Stories From The City doesn't fully reveal itself as a classic until its astonishing midsection, particularly the rip-roaring "Whores Hustle And The Hustlers Whore" and the breathtaking "This Mess We're In." The former is one of the most bracing, thrilling songs of Harvey's career, and it's followed immediately by the latter, a gorgeous duet with Radiohead's Thom Yorke.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Employing a grab-bag of producers and sounds both trendy and timeless, Reservation is a cohesive mish-mash, a multifaceted exhibition of a young artist with an arresting sense of self-possession.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Using different sounds to create the same tune over and over, Bejar and Destroyer create the feeling of a tale told again and again by different people. It’s a haunting effect, well worth its unusual frame.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    What results is at times noisy, at times beautiful, and always captivating.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's an easy Destroyer album to love, approachable as both a collection of strong rock songs and a literary exercise in just how far songs can stretch to make sense of the words within them.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    His most rewarding and assured work yet.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    With the tight, concise, ferociously focused Undun, however, the immensity of the project's ambition is matched by its seamless, masterful execution.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Her best album to date.... Vespertine is an album of small gestures, one almost challenging in its stillness.... The cumulative effect is an album both timeless and of the moment, an avant-garde electronic-pop exploration of classic themes.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Slightly overlong and sometimes stitched-together, From A Basement On The Hill sags in spots.... Yet in the end, the album still earns its place--not at the top, and unfortunately as a bookend--in a jarringly important body of work.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Trades the chilly, futuristic minimalism of S. Carter for a warmer, more organic sound rooted in the soul and funk of the '60s and '70s
    • 88 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Elsewhere, it's business as usual--mostly amazing business, to be sure, but never entirely unexpected.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Although hard to digest at first, The Woods ingratiates itself on subsequent listens, making the band's other albums seem half-baked by comparison.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Daniel diminishes his melodies to fit the demands of arty cadence throughout Kill The Moonlight's first half, which makes the more generously melodic second side not just welcome, but inspiring.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The band's latest, Lonerism, digs even deeper into those themes and sounds [early-'70s psychedelia, proto-metal, and British pop], and pulls out a masterful collage.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    That the band took it upon themselves to subtly yet profoundly revamp--aand exquisitely humanize--doom is just part of the reason why Foundations Of Burden is such a brave record. The other is the fact that it’s quite simply moving, the sounds of dislocated souls finding a voice at last.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    While All We Love lacks cohesion in spots, it solidifies Converge's position as one of hardcore's most progressive yet soulful stalwarts.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    [Mellon Collie was] daringly diverse and compellingly grand.... Though Mellon Collie's inflated reissue will surely garner Corgan and company a couple extra bucks from holiday shoppers, it's a disappointingly conventional treatment of an album that once represented unease and discomfort with convention.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    There's hardly any drop in quality over the discs' 17 tracks, and Cave maintains his ability to startle.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Antony's musical presence haunts and hypnotizes long after he's left the stage.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Sure, Fishscale has its share of pointless skits. But that's what the fast-forward button is for, just as the play button seems to have been designed specifically to let people listen to Fishscale over and over again.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    As raw yet coldly deliberate as self-surgery, No Devolucion isn't a return to form for Thursday; it's a searing, scarring reinvention.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    As an MC, M.I.A. sounds brash and sassy, a party-starter first and a polemicist second.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The duo's self-proclaimed "remedy" is nowhere near as revolutionary as the hype would insinuate, but it does offer its distinct pleasures
    • 88 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    You’re Dead! is his most confidently structured work yet.
    • 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.