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
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    An album that sets the bar for density and imagination almost unreasonably high.
    • 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Since We Last Spoke finds RJD2 sounding like some blessed creature who's able to tune in every radio station in the world, past and present, and mix them together into a cohesive whole.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Quite possibly the best sample record ever made.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    An impossibly multi-tracked masterwork of excess, abrasion, and indefinable beauty.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A lush, impeccably produced, musically adventurous, emotionally resonant examination of the way relationships are both strengthened and damaged by distance, the album surpasses Gibbard's other career highpoints, which is really saying something.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Z
    It's both rare and marvelous to hear a good band make its first really great album.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    What's best is the sense that no DFA remix will sound quite the same way twice. That applies to the sounds within as well as the complete tracks, which beg to be approached from different directions--as contemplative rock, frazzled dance, wonky prog, and so on--so they can show off entry points lurking almost everywhere.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Graced by a new lightness of touch and simply better as programmers, the two friends behind Matmos sound loose and lively where they once sounded stiff.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's Never Been Like That has the necessary edge of real art, but it's approachable right down to the final song, "Second To None," with its deep echo and thin lines.
    • 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.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Three polka-dotted women with perfectly suited voices front The Pipettes, but it's the work of mastermind Monster Bobby and the rest of the backing band that elevates these 16 nuggets far beyond the disposable pop implied by the setup.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's 36 minutes of loose garage rock with massively catchy melodies sugarcoating the biting sarcasm.
    • 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.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The pull of European cool against Oldham's usual rustic, heartfelt love poetry creates moments of sweet tension.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    For the first time, the cantankerous Lightburn matches his lyrics--from rapture to self-exploration to joy both lived and missed--perfectly with the music, which nods to Britpop but never succumbs to any genre trappings.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The songs brim with melodic ideas, but the album never overwhelms, because Meloy doesn't try to pack every minute with words and hooks.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Blood Mountain is terrifying in scope as well as execution.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    By boldly expanding the parameters of mainstream hip-hop, Fiasco's threatening to make rap a welcoming place for geeks and iconoclasts as well as pimps and thugs.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's smart, strange, just different enough from its predecessor, and, eventually, absolutely stunning.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Through Neon Bible, the band is seemingly sending a beacon to other reasonable people forced underground by the world's insanity. It's almost like a musical version of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Another fiercely satisfying Leo record.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Traffic And Weather offers vivid little snapshots of characters and places, but in Schlesinger and Collingswood's hands, a snapshot can tell the whole story.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    New Moon is thankfully, wonderfully full.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    To those with time for only a passing glance, it could conceivably come across as dull, but a close look at monumental songs like "Start A War" and the scathingly sad, funny "Slow Show" will reveal bleak, black diamonds—precious, glimmering, and lasting.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Marry Me, seduces with one hand and stabs with the other.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Kala is such a resolutely strange, sweltering album that it's thrilling to be alive in an era when such a thing can lay claim to the mantle of "pop."
    • 71 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The L.A. quartet has returned with an album that's teeming with creatively executed ideas, to the point where it almost feels like the band was just using its first three albums to warm up.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's unabashedly a pop album, and by restraining its inventiveness, the band maintains a warm of sense of Zappa-esque liveliness.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    John Schmersal's noisy, scratchy guitar (he performed the same duty for Brainiac in the '90s) and Toko Yasuda's honey-smooth vocals (which deliver the big hooks) seem like an odd contrast on paper, but work perfectly.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    LCD mastermind James Murphy took a lot of flack from indie didacts for aligning with Nike last year, but it's worth asking, no less now than then: Who else would make this good on a payday premise that just as easily could have been phoned in?
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Rehab packs the visceral, transgressive punch of the best crime fiction but it's equally adept at old-school Sunday-in-the-park jams (the infectious single 'Celebrate') and wiggy conceptual tracks like 'White Linen Affair (The Toney Awards).'
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The songs themselves are as lush and prickly as anything Merritt's ever made.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    As a collection of songs, Brighter Than Creation's Dark ranks among Drive-By Truckers' best, even though there are a couple of skippable tracks.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It plays much like a continuation of "Body Of Song," with the electronic elements even more streamlined and less obtrusive, save on the all-electronic 'Shelter Me.'
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The follow-up [to "Kezia"], Fortress, mines similar territory but cranks the ferocity even higher.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The Welsh band's debut full-length captures more believable, crackling punk energy than most hardcore bands.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The result challenges brain and body, sure (just try headbanging to obZen), but it also dares any other metal band to write a more ferocious album.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    For all the awe kindled by the effectively perfect sound in a transcendent highlight like 'Kim & Jessie,' the real triumph is that M83 uses such a setting for more simple melody and emotion than ever before.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Narrow Stairs finds Death Cab comfortable with all aspects of its musical personality--and on top of them all.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Songs In A&E is Pierce's best work since "Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space"--easily his most personal.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    They mix in a little cool, fuzzy ambiance ("Papers"), a bit of throb and feedback ("Ultraviolent Men"), and some soul infusion ("How Could You") for a wonderfully spacious, energetic album that belongs right beside any of the others that may have influenced The M's.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The Steinski myth has grown in the darkness of bootlegs, but this long-overdue release proves that the reality more than lives up to the legend.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's a gorgeous descent for an inimitable group that knows better than most how to deliver its highs high and its lows low.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Life… isn't easy listening (the anvil-heavy ballad 'Roses' alone could drive the clinically depressed to suicide), but the improved contrast between upbeat and harrowing makes Harvey Milk's extremes that much easier to appreciate.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    In 'The Blue Route,' it hits home like a 30th birthday--and as the standout 'In The New Year' points out, realizing "It's all over anyhow" can be invigorating, a way of readying oneself for the next, far more interesting chapter.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The Week That Was leaves "indie rock" behind, hops right over hip marching-band music, and lands square between the lofty obelisks of high-art pop and New Music.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Most of the songs on The Family Afloat jump through their share of hooks and phases, few of which seem honed for maximum catchiness. Instead, they leave generous breathing room for Bobby Gallivan's free-associative, episodic lyrics.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    While it's offset on a few songs by "clean" female vocals, Damian Abraham's glass-gargling roar remains the primary source of Fucked Up's visceral energy. From this point on, it'll be more exciting to see how much farther beyond gut-level the band is willing to go.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This new pack is smart, immediate, and anthemic in the way only bedroom-pop fanatics can muster.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    EODM thrives on confidence, not exploration, and Heart On finds the pair plenty cocksure.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A Hundred Million Suns might just be Snow Patrol's biggest, most genuine effort yet.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Folie follows the precedent of 2007's "Infinity On High," which expanded Fall Out Boy's sonic palette (synthesizers, sequenced drums, strings, etc.). This one just goes further, with more layers and cameos from Elvis Costello, Debbie Harry, Lil Wayne, and others.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A rock-solid Aesop Rock cameo is icing atop this sorely overlooked platter, which easily one of 2008's best driving records.
    • 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A startlingly powerful album meted out with supreme control.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The vitality that fuels Goodnight Oslo makes it feel like Hitchcock is saying hello for the first time.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    For the first time, Lamb Of God sounds as powerful composing songs as it does cranking out riffs--and the transformation is career-defining.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Heavy Ghost, Stith’s debut, is nothing short of a masterpiece of mood and texture, an album that sounds as if it was devised in equal parts by a seasoned composer and an inspired amateur.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Wavvves is about as simple as its author’s pedigree, but wildly more intriguing.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    These are thick songs built around left-field ideas, positively fat with melodic contentâ??physically shake the record, and sheets of notes would probably spray out like a colorful rain of tonal Skittles.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    These are all-American songs of devastation and alienation; they’re also loads of fun and damn hilarious much of the time.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    An album that goes so far in proving that simplicity not only has its place, it’s also often the path to unmitigated greatness.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The album’s remarkable 28 minutes still push boundaries, not just buttons.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Veckatimest offers more than just an inventive exercise in collage: It’s like hearing the past few centuries of music playing in symphony, which sounds--thrillingly and reassuringly--like the future.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    While King’s hyperdrive approach to laying guitar brick rarely sits perfectly flush with Prowse’s cyclonic drums, every spasm on the recording sticks. The combined explosions never quit popping until the muddy sigh of the heartbreaking closer, 'I Quit Girls.'
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Laced throughout all of it are generous, wide-eyed melodies of a kind that makes for swooning sighs and curious feelings of instant nostalgia.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Over nine indispensable tracks, Bitte Orca forges a more perfect union between eccentricity and accessibility.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It isn’t a song so much as a journey, and as with the rest of Dragonslayer, its epic ambitions are fulfilled.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Making good on the only slightly veiled threats of Curses, the new Travels With Myself And Another finds Falkous’ barbed stories--of fruitless sex, godless existence, and other pointless-yet-unavoidable bullshit--stretched wire-taut, with nary a moment of wasted energy.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Upper Air is a comely album through and through, and certainly one of this year’s high-water marks for the acoustically inclined.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Whatever the future holds, few bands fit as well into their time as the Blur captured here.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Megafaun fits squarely in the bearded Caucasian folkie camp, but the ethereal Gather, Form & Fly is far too extraterrestrial-sounding to be bound to this planet, much less this country.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    xx
    The result is sexy like early Portishead and thoughtful like Young Marble Giants--a perfectly formed debut with a genuinely new sound way beyond the sum of identifiable forebears.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Mew really does inhabit a place where few contemporaries can be found.
    • 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Chesnutt put out his first solo album 19 years ago, yet At The Cut’s jarringly personal songs hit new peaks.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Lightning Bolt exists in a wholly different context than it did four years ago, but Earthly Delights ranks up there with the group’s best work.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Released at the end of a smashingly successful year, Fall Be Kind is a worthy epilogue to an all-time classic.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Dash and the Keys score an undeniable win by keeping the samples homemade and the production pared down, and by hand-picking collaborators who know how to sink into a groove.
    • 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Psychic Chasms is an excellent album of balmy psychedelia and breezy infectiousness.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    So few bands may be better suited to the greatest-hits treatment, and with the group going on hiatus (following 2007’s middling Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace), now is the time to do it. The standard edition collects 13 of the hits and features two songs, “Wheels” and “Word Forward,” recorded for this compilation, and a previously unreleased acoustic version of “Everlong.”
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    There Is Love In You, his first proper album in five years, is smoother still, and to great effect—if this isn’t the best Four Tet record yet, it’s certainly a fresh face for Hebden.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Granted, Fucked Up’s ambitious full-lengths are always going to snag the most attention. But when it comes to chronicling the group’s heart, recklessness, and rabid devotion to the fine art of the punk anthem, Couple Tracks is the true classic.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Coming after the hauntingly archaic The Trials Of Van Occupanther, the more personal The Courage Of Others is bracing—stunning, even.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The 10 songs on American VI find Cash sounding frail but determined, and the material doesn't let him down.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Sisterworld makes delirium more than just contagious--it’s downright catchy.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Frightened Rabbit is mostly content to continue exploring the vein it tapped a couple of years ago. Fans will need to be slightly more patient, but they’ll ultimately be well rewarded.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Flying Lotus reaches into the past in order to create something clearly of the future – a hybridized work that challenges others to follow its dazzling blueprint.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    His third album as LCD Soundsystem moves even further beyond ironic distance toward introspection and unguarded affection.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    With High Violet, The National has graduated from being a critic's band. Now it belongs to everyone.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The Way Out provides the best introduction yet to The Books' nerdy experiments, but also to the duo's grand, goofy emotional range.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The Sword was long ago stamped with the epithet "hipster metal," and that isn't going to change with the release of Warp Riders.