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 Party Intellectuals
Lowest review score: 0 Last of a Dyin' Breed
Score distribution:
1,091 music reviews
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    One consistency across all of Jhelli Beam--and particularly on such select selections as the introductory 'Split Seconds'--is Busdriver's enduring verbal dexterity.
    • 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.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Confident non-jumpers shouldn't be concerned that this disc weeps with you're-always-dying-inside woe-is-my-love-life misery.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Bibio's references may already be T-shirts in your bureau, and his dovetailing of crisp guitars, tangling melodies, smart electronic gestures, and resin-hit production values (all evident on the title track) isn't new by any means. But if you can get out from under caring (that is, if you can locate the title lane), you'll feel as liberated as Bibio sounds here — an artist making a mixtape of himself. Folk yes.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Without a smidgen of a doubt, See Mystery Lights has egghead-party-album-of-the-year potential. But its value is greater than that.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    As Bjork no doubt hoped it would, the result--long on material from that year's Volta but also featuring such oldies as 'Army of Me' and 'Pagan Poetry'--captures both energy and detail.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    The result is as baleful and forlorn as most dance pop is swishy and effervescent.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    This Seattle wunderkind trio's debut full-length arrives like a freaky reward from a cosmos that has watched us persevere through 15 years of tightening jeans, steadily ramping foppism, and the crushingly beige influence of adult-contempo alt-country.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    None of the Solillaquists of Sound (S.O.S.) is originally from Florida, and that begins to explain how they could compose an eclectic cornucopia as sweet as No More Heroes.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Most of the songs light up, shine for a while, and pull back so suddenly that you feel a little betrayed. It's a shame these dry lullabies didn't surface earlier in our dreary summer.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    More than just a slack reunion, the album marks another turning point in a band who may yet wind up describing a circle.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Keep an Eye on the Sky--which expands Big Star's three early-'70s albums with a bevy of demos, alternate takes, and a complete 1973 live set--shores up the band's legend for a new generation.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Daisy may lack the immediate accessibility of Brand New's previous efforts, but once it grows on you, good luck getting it out of your head.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Us
    The same goes for nearly every cut in this hip-hop opera, a rare work of rap that simultaneously inspires self-confidence and aggravation with the broken world around us.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    These Nashville-based high ministers of retro-groove--known for their muscular live sermons--broaden their gospel on CD #2.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    The guest-heavy formula mostly clicks, particularly on 'Clean Up Crew' with Rock and 'The Way I Live' with Mary J. Blige, but a few misfires--including awkward Slug and Immortal Technique verses--stop this memorable collaboration just short of greatness.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Exploding Head is less an interpretation of a forgotten sound than a restoration of an abandoned mission. Even if you've heard it all before, you certainly haven't heard the end of it.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    He'd be proud of what his little girl's done with that sheet of paper.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Despite its disparate influences and multi-handed production approach, All in One never feels less than cohesive.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    At its core, Earthly Delights is the sound of a band digging in so deep, they’ve struck something molten.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    At the end, after his inevitable untimely death, all anyone will care about will be the stately grandeur of the opening (and closing) music coupled with the star’s eternal blank stare: unknowable, unfathomable, and ultimately tragic. We’ll have to wait for the movie; fortunately the soundtrack is already here.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Nirvana launch into a 90-minute onslaught of fugly-beautiful grunge-guitar fury.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Rock-stardom is not necessarily what you hear beckoning on Sub Pop’s 20th-anniversary reissue of Bleach, which comes with a sludgy live set taped at Portland’s Pine Street Theatre in 1990. In a way, though, that only makes this program of lumpen lumberjack-metal moves more interesting.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    It’s now clear that though the District of Columbia might not have representation in the US Senate, residents do have a distinguished rep in hip-hop.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Throughout this emotional maelstrom of an R&B album, Rihanna keeps finding gripping new ways to transform regret into a kind of threat.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Not only does this new song cycle retain the Euro-tastic sheen of its predecessor, it outdoes it in sheer dance-floor whump.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Despite the technological tweaks and inventive aptitude that this sometimes Afro-topped sound genius reveals in every crevice of his latest grab bag, Echo Party is true to its name and anything but tedious.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    The spirited chants and intricate beats give Fool’s Gold unity, and the precision is inviting. They never break from their tight sound with a boldly original gesture, but there’s no need to risk spoiling this fun set of songs.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Fuller than usual of slow songs and piano ballads, One Life Stand is their mellowest, most thoughtful effort so far — which means it carries the risk of also being their most boring. (Contrast is one of their secret weapons, though it didn't seem like such a big deal until now.) But keep listening: slow to reveal, its charm is just as slow to fade.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    These numbers are soaked in a disorienting futurist nostalgia that epitomizes Trans Am’s ironic humor and their ability to transform leaden clichés into gold.