The Guardian's Scores

For 4,256 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 49% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 48% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 3.6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 69
Highest review score: 100 Marnie Stern
Lowest review score: 10 Unpredictable
Score distribution:
4256 music reviews
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    They sound like a band who think they've made the year's best rock'n'roll album, probably because that's exactly what they've done.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A patchwork of catholic musical influences stitched tightly together by one man's peculiar, expansive vision of pop: Soul Mining is a brilliant and very idiosyncratic album.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It all adds up to a landmark in American music, an instant classic.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It’s fascinating stuff, even for those for whom a 37-minute version of Sister Ray is pushing it a bit. It’s actually where the band stretch out that it becomes most fascinating.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It is difficult to find fault with Blue Neighbourhood--it does what it does so well.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It’s revelatory to hear this most intense of bands playing with such ease and fluency, and utterly compelling.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    While the music is eclectic and teeming with exotic textures, it always feels coherent and easy to love, and might even earn the band a nomination as Britain's Best Pop Group.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Intimate, intense and beautiful, You & Me demands repeat plays and the Walkmen deserve a new respect.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Its songs are not weighed down by the Evans concept, and are hugely enjoyable on their own merits.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The album is imbued with a post-9/11 dread, which deters Fagen from recycling the nostalgia and Lynchian fantasy of his previous albums.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This is easily the equal of, if not superior to, its illustrious companion.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    He's discovered a mellow maturity in Southern soul - and without losing his punk rock perversity or poetry.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    To say it's ambitious feels like damning with faint praise; its sheer musical scope--from the James Brown funk of Tightrope to the English pastoral folk of Oh, Maker--is spellbinding.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This is late-night listening that pulses with pain.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The female Mike Skinner? She's far, far better than that.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Weller’s renaissance has not come at the expense of his musical identity. The sunshine-pop haze of Phoenix is from the Tame Impala playbook, but you could imagine Style Council-era Weller singing it.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Every note, every lyric, is perfect.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Medulla may divide Björk's audience, but, combining intellectual rigour and sensual ravishment, it is brave and unique.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Ys
    It may well be the most off-putting album released this year. After playing it, there seems every chance it is the also the most astonishing.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    His best work since the Clash's London Calling.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    50 Words for Snow is extraordinary business as usual for Bush, meaning it's packed with the kind of ideas you can't imagine anyone else in rock having.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    For all the 40-year-old reference points, Big Inner never feels like a pastiche; it's audibly more than the sum of its influences, in the same manner as Lambchop's Nixon.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    As with Graceland, it's not scared to be too pop... plus the lyrics are of a sounder political hue than anything Simon essayed.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Everything Changes and the agonised We Watch You Slip Away (written with Kate St John) are among the finest new songs I have heard his year.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Doom has never sounded so good.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Young Americans and Station to Station are albums that make you wonder how Bowie did it, given the state he was in, by all accounts, when he made them. ... The Gouster feels like eavesdropping on a moment when he wasn’t so sure. It makes for fascinating listening.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    You listen to it and wonder how anyone arrived at the idea that this song should suddenly do that, struck by the delightfully confounding sound of pop music made by genuinely original minds.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    From the rock opera crescendos of the opening Node onwards, the album dares to be both a quintessentially prog-rock experience and a timely act of modern metal derring-do. Frontman Tommy Rogers’ effortless versatility has at last found songs worthy of his gifts.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Pop is rarely as genuinely affecting, joyful or good as this.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This is an African classic.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Desertshore/The Final Report ends up a perfect epitaph, not merely for Peter Christopherson, but for the band whose name isn't on the cover.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This is a triumph of impressionism, where the digital and organic coexist in a radically beautiful whole.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Bon Iver remains rooted in the emotional sincerity that made Vernon's debut so mesmerising.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    For now, the best tribute you can pay Channel Orange is that, while it plays, you forget about the chatter and just luxuriate in a wildly original talent.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It is filled with things only Kate Bush would do.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's hilarious, chilling and exhilarating: further evidence of the unique and enviable position Cave finds himself in at 50.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Origin: Orphan has a similar tour-de-force feel to the first Arcade Fire album: the sound of ­loneliness and heartbreak ­gift-wrapped in bundles of sonic joy.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Boo!, their first album for 16 years, is well up to the standard of classics such as "What Up Dog?" and "Are You Okay?"
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    What no one, including Radiohead, did was make another album that really sounds like OK Computer. Which is another reason why it doesn’t appear to have dated at all.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It’s remarkable for its power, freshness and range.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A Grand Don't Come for Free raises the stakes to such an extent that it sounds literally unprecedented: there isn't really any other album like this.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    His voice, agitatedly squawking and yet dainty as a ballerina, is one of contemporary music’s greatest pleasures. He quotes Outkast’s BOB on Today, and is the true successor to their trailblazing spirit.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The Godspeed ethos of wordlessly eliciting universal truths is remains as devastatingly effective as ever.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The way repeated listens allow its unobvious rhythmic and melodic logic to take root is fantastically rewarding.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It is a deceptively difficult trick, to capture the humanity and irregularities of music in a way that does not feel cloying, but over 12 tracks on their debut album Brisbane’s the Goon Sax manage it again, and again, and again. This is some kind of wonderful.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The result is her first triumph: a collection of literary and emotional songs to have you whooping with joy or fighting off tears, with tunes that deliver new riches with each listen.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Sonically warm and sparkling, Sorceress marks another high point for a band that keep defying the odds by making silly old prog rock sound stupidly exciting and audacious.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The Satanist is as untamed and direct as its title suggests: a flawless paean to free will and the human spirit.
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    In spring 1967, Dylan and the Band were out of step, but ahead of the curve. Now, 47 years on, even the listener overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of what’s on offer here--who doesn’t want to hear the false starts and fragments and gags--might conclude that the highlights are as timeless as rock music in the 60s got.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A genuinely remarkable album: self-obsessed but completely compelling, profoundly discomforting but beautiful, lost in its own fathomless personal misery, but warm, funny and wise. It shouldn't work, but it does.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Marius Neset, the 25-year-old Norwegian saxophonist who surfaced in the UK last year with Django Bates (his teacher and mentor at Copenhagen's Rhythmic Music Conservatory), not only combines Brecker's power and Jan Garbarek's tonal delicacy, but has a vision that makes all 11 originals on this sensational album feel indispensable, and indispensably connected to each other.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Hot Thoughts is loaded with tunes, invention and adventure.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Robert Wyatt, that most eloquently lackadaisical of jazz-loving English troubadours, has made some unforgettable albums over his long solo career, but this will rank among the frontrunners.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This is an admirably coherent collection of songs that are as uncompromisingly intricate and strange as they are incisively melodic.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Each track, often on the theme of soured love, has a simplicity and a directness that is characteristic of the best pop.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This is a smart, soulful and immersive work of art.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Lovano's total authority over the materials and his instruments glows through every track.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Both albums are sublime. Taken together they're hip-hop's Sign o' the Times or The White Album: a career-defining masterpiece of breathtaking ambition.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This was Fela on classic form.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    One of 2015’s most addictive, pulse-racing noisy joys.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Young is still a force to be reckoned with. There is urgency and energy here.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Some Waller devotees will recoil, but this is a respectful tribute from a remarkable modern-music mind.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    As unlikely a step as Fever Ray may seem for one of electronic music's most enigmatic figures, the results are triumphant.
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It’s all beautifully done, as you might expect. ... Giles Martin’s remix is a vast improvement on the old stereo version--more muscular, with an unexpected emphasis placed on Ringo Starr’s drums--although the original mono mix, also here, is the one with the Beatles’ fingerprints on it.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The music offers further evidence of how far outside rap's usual strictures West operates. OutKast aside, mainstream hip-hop doesn't really do ambiguity or irony, but just as West's arrogance occasionally appears to be a protracted joke, Late Registration finds him in thrillingly subversive form, working in the production booth to undercut tracks' messages and shifting their meanings.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Spiritual, lovelorn and vulnerable, this is the album Diamond has deserved for decades.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Fantasy Black Channel is the most thrilling British debut of the year for its spirit of invention, its surfeit of ideas and its ear for a good tune.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    There's a theory that REM were never the same after their lyrics became audible, but Lifes Rich Pageant is packed with songs on which the new clarity of Stipe's vocals bears dividends.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It’s remarkable as much for the quality and range of her singing as for the inventive arrangements.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Jazzers might still balk at the high-concept planning, but it’s remarkable how much polish has been applied without cramping the band’s irrepressible creative energy.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Simon’s lyrics are finely honed, from the conversational The Werewolf to the confessional title track, a moving exploration of his creative process.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    There’s something hugely impressive about coming up with an album that somehow manages to be both incredibly discomfiting and easy to listen to.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Orchestral textures, such as the eerie woodwind motifs of Moth and austere strings of Lamplight, conjure the darkly sexual charge of the film.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    What makes it so compelling is the haunting vocal writing. Full of gently lapping lines, close imitation and moments of honeyed homophony, all underpinned by tactful percussion, it is startlingly different from the driving, hard edges of much of Lang's work with the Bang On a Can collective.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The jokes, in places offensive, are relentless and ribald. There is no apology, though, no concession; just a considered, virtuoso application of talent.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's marked by the fresh excitement of mapping out new territory rather than the more craven pleasure of wallowing in nostalgia: an object lesson in the value of not giving people what they want.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The fearless try-anything spirit of Paul Welly, it seems, is still alive and well.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Dystopia is an absolutely blistering return to the state-of-the-art bombast and refined technicality of past glories like Rust in Peace and Endgame.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    For fans of chiming, literate, lovelorn pop, Picaresque is an absolute treasure trove.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    You could never describe You Want It Darker as merely more of the same. As striking as the sense that its themes are of a piece with the rest of Cohen’s oeuvre is the sense of an artist willing to move forward.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This new album contains 10 sublime reflections on religious sites and buildings.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Carrie & Lowell is a delight in every way, surely one of the albums of the year.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It’s strange and disorientating, idiosyncratic and frequently astonishing, a modern-day psychedelia that owes almost nothing to that genre’s hackneyed conventions and never forgets to temper the sublimity with darkness.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Full of the kind of bathetic genius English pop used to excel in, Art Brut are life-affirming - and are worth 500 of almost every other new guitar band.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A darker and more eccentric record than its predecessors, Distant Satellites may not be the album to change all that, but it's still another masterclass in supercharged emotional songwriting and fearless sonic curiosity.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Each track is astonishing.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Each listen to New Amerykah brings fresh rewards: it demands to be explored.
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Not even overfamiliarity can really dull the rest of what’s here. The box set carries a distinct whiff of die-hards only--the mono mix is nice but inessential, the best of the demos have already been released, as has the first of the live shows, while the second was recorded later the same night and sounds virtually identical--but the music at its centre is about as inarguable as you can get.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This album looks like one of 2010's major contenders.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    As addictive as its predecessor, Untrue confirms that Burial possesses not just the keen ear of a Lee Perry or Martin Hannett.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The result is a genuinely exceptional and entrancing album, opaque but effective, filled with beautiful, skewed songs, unconventional without ever feeling precious or affected.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This is a remarkable and historic set of recordings with an equally remarkable history.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Fed
    As nourishing as it is satisfying, Fed will leave you craving more.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    He wanted change but loved America, as shown by this remarkable box set of material recorded for the US government.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It succeeds because of the sheer quality of her singing and the thoughtful, varied songs from the light and then furious Kouma to Mélancholie, a highly personal reflection on sadness and solitude.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    By flitting between a low, clear vocal, and something more urgent and old-fashionedly English, which evokes both 1960s pop and Tudor carols, Rodgers manages to dodge straightforward comparisons. It makes for a riveting and refreshing debut, which balances weirdness with sweet and soothing electropop joy.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The leitmotifs of The Moomins Theme and Woodland Band will give anyone who saw the series as a child a Proustian rush, but amazingly, it’s the first time this remarkable soundtrack has been issued.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    An idiosyncratic triumph.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Portishead's third album is initially more a record to admire than to love, its muscular synthesisers, drum breaks and abrupt endings keeping the tension high. But after several listens, Third's majesty unfurls.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Stornoway make unconvincing space rockers--but that's the only caveat about a triumphantly expansive album.