The Boston Phoenix's Scores

  • Music
For 1,091 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 63% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 34% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 74
Highest review score: 100 Manifest!
Lowest review score: 0 Last of a Dyin' Breed
Score distribution:
1,091 music reviews
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Good News is the sound of a gifted writer declaring his humanity in all its filthy, fucked-up glory.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    As eclectic as the disc is, it never strays from that warm sense of familiarity.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    As frontman Craig Finn tries singing instead of just reciting and the band hang tighter around their major-chord riffs, the music sounds older than ever, recalling beautiful-loser ’70s rock like Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back in Town” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Jungleland.”
    • 85 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Strange Mercy becomes more intriguing the more you listen to it--even if that means you also get further away from comprehending its idiosyncrasy.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Maybe it’s Lambert’s dark, rocking side that makes her ballads sound so disarmingly tender, sweet, and vulnerable.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    He’s no slouch in his endless catalogue of exhumed pop tropes, and here he treats radio pop’s past with the all-encompassing vagueness of its title.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    1991 is all about the bubble-popping lushness of "Van Vogue" and the hall-of-mirrors shimmer of "Liquorice." It's also about the summer, and showing more of Banks than just her breakout hit.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    The organic, timeless quality of that voice--especially haunting on Helm's own tale of a farmer's struggle, 'Growing Trade'--is offset by the sweetness of his daughter Amy's harmony singing, as well as by bright eddies of slide guitar and mandolin, all of it creating an appealing balance.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    If Apollo Kids is a warm-up, we can expect monster things from Ghost in the New Year.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    El-P's least ambitious record.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    As its title hints, this overstuffed album of addictive party starters seems likely to be stuck in our present for a long time to come.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 63 Critic Score
    Ire Works is good science tarnished slightly by one bad experiment.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Sticking mostly to his usual tenor sax instead of adopting Parker's alto, Lovano isolates the strands of Parker's musical DNA and shows how they're part of the music's ongoing regeneration.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    In their music... the Decemberists are more confident and willing to stretch out than ever before.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    For their ninth studio album, the Welsh quintet go heavy on vamps, riffs, and refrains; the result is their most spontaneous and blissfully lax effort since 2000's "Mwng."
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Sweet Warrior finds him spinning epic yarns instead of heroic solos.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    On his third Iron & Wine full-length, he goes for his biggest sound yet, but the production is mere window dressing for some of his best songwriting.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    The trick to El Camino is how steady it runs; whereas past left turns have been distractions, this is what happens when the pedal is floored.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    [It delivers] 55 minutes of pit-in-your-gut tension from two of bass music's foremost masterminds.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    All rappers ride on the claim that they’re the best, but on III Wayne makes his case.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Lewis may be covering territory that a lot of other artists tread, but he's earnest and soulful, injecting the romantic lyrics with a smoothness that reminds me of Avalon-era Roxy Music.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    The simplicity of the punk-driven songwriting and the bare, urgent honesty of vocalist/guitarist Hutch Harris’ delivery drive home the album’s political points with startling effectiveness.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The son has a strong, pleasing voice and an easy facility with the sort of æthereal, filigree guitar picking that served the father so well.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    They don't make bands like this anymore.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Two Dancers is expressive without being effusive, polished without sounding stilted, and provocatively playful.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    All of this should be terrible or grating, but because it kisses and licks every flaw and quirk with such purposeful gusto, the result is immensely entertaining and kind of magical.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    An inspired, exhilarating spectacle that makes good on its gang vocals, feel-good (but not cheesy) lyrics, pleasantly muddy production, and galloping sense of self-confidence.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    This is his best since his 2000 collaboration with Eric Clapton, "Riding with the King."
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    It's supposedly winnowed down to seven excellent tracks you can pay for, versus an album-of-the-year candidate you can cop free legally (for now).
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The music is neither bastardized nor precious, just a riveting reflection of the ongoing allure and paradox that is the Congo.