The Guardian's Scores

  • Music
For 2,965 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 48% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 49% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 4.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 67
Highest review score: 100 Haha Sound
Lowest review score: 10 Life In Cartoon Motion
Score distribution:
2,965 music reviews
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    London Calling itself stands tall as the band's masterpiece, the showcase for all their musical tastes and inclinations.
    • 99 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The jazz and classical groups play separately and sometimes merge, and though conventional themes or sustained pulses are mostly sidelined by the languages of free jazz and contemporary classical music, this epic life's work is a landmark in jazz's rich canon.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Now, 21 years on, beautifully remastered, Blue Lines still sounds unique.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Despite the hype, it is hard not to be impressed with the new Smile.... The music flows beautifully - no mean feat when it encompasses barbershop singing, acid rock, early pop, Hawaiian chanting and mock-religious plainsong.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The result is genuine alt-country at a time when the term has come to signify little more than middling acoustic rock.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    An Americana classic.
    • 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.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    What's beyond doubt is the quality of the music he made.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    They're dangerously close to national-treasure status.
    • 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.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    [The Promise's] elegiac tone would have fitted Darkness perfectly, but most of the other 20 previously unreleased tracks demonstrate that Springsteen never actually stopped writing the hook-laden, audience-rousing crackers with which he made his name.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    This album offers beats that retread past glories, and an emotional palette narrowed to a range roughly as wide as West's navel.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This is an African classic.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Brimming with character and endlessly relistenable, Icky Mettle is something of a touchstone for one of US indie's purplest patches.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's a chapter in the story of 20th-century music as a whole, not just the minutiae of jazz.
    • 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.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The tracks themselves--tidied up from demos with the help of producers Chris Kimsey and Don Was--are no disgrace.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    And whereas the dark era that began with a military coup in 1964 is now relegated to Brazil's history, the music it inspired sounds fresher and more provocative than ever.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This is a remarkable and historic set of recordings with an equally remarkable history.
    • 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.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It could have been trimmed a shade, but it's another leap forward for a fast-developing European jazz original.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Still, if 21 represents all there is or is ever going to be, it's hard not to be hugely impressed. As sarcophagi go, it's a spectacularly well-appointed one.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Magnificent.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    [The three albums] together make up one very powerful entity.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Even if you are one of the eight million who bought their first album, Buena Vista's long-awaited follow-up is well worth checking out.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The most original and exciting artist to emerge from dance music in a decade.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This critic is prepared to believe that the fact he found the menus slightly counterintuitive points to deficiencies on his own part, but suffice to say that at least one Neil Young fan--temporarily unable to navigate away from one of the on-stage "raps" provided as "audio bonuses" and gripped by the fear that he was going to spend the rest of his life listening to Neil Young saying "ummm...ahhhhhh ... wrote this sahwng...ummmm...my house"--found himself howling for the luddite comforts of a CD box set with a nicely illustrated booklet.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The duo have refined their sound until it is shatteringly effective. Nevertheless, Elephant sounds suspiciously like the White Stripes' apotheosis.
    • 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.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This is a gloriously brave and vibrant piece of work and the most significant metal album of 2011 by some distance.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    From its ambitious narrative arc to its fine linguistic detail, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City is a honed and deliberate major label debut.
    • 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.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    There is a warts-and-all feel to sound quality and some of the improvising, but this is newly emerging and influential music still in the furnace, and Davis's timing can make even a seasoned fan whoop.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Devotees will not be disappointed.
    • 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.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This new album contains 10 sublime reflections on religious sites and buildings.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A remarkable album that manages to pack in a state full of instruments... and sounds as simultaneously vast yet intimately detailed as Polyphonic Spree produced by Brian Eno.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    For old Jarrett fans and prospective new ones, it's a must.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Though the arrangements are predictable, Staton's versatile voice is a revelation.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    One of the year's best already, by a mile.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Moreover, as apocalyptic as his vision can be, the thrill as he pushes his sounds further outwards proves to be as seductive as it is forbidding.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's Bassekou who dominates, with a new, tougher, amplified ngoni style that shows the influence of co-producer Howard Bilerman.... Magnificent.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    You're left with an album from which ideas continually gush forth in a torrent.
    • 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.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Z
    Unfortunately, four of the 10 tracks are deeply pedestrian, heartland rock.... Worse, presumably - like Charlotte Church - tired of having the voice of an angel, several songs find Jim James singing with the voice of a brickie.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    St Vincent's 40 minutes offer an embarrassment of fantastic songs.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A trove of bewitching melody and subtle invention, Rounds succeeds not only as a meticulously conceived piece of art but also as a moving expression of human warmth.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's hard to hear Modern Times' music over the inevitable standing ovation and the thuds of middle-aged critics swooning in awe. When you do, you find something not unlike its predecessor, Love and Theft.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    His most direct, energised and modernist work in years.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This reissue tweaks the sound with little discernible effect, and adds a package of goodies.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The first is patchy but enjoyable, and the wealth of bonus tracks will appeal to those who already know the albums, but add almost nothing of benefit for newcomers.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Fed
    As nourishing as it is satisfying, Fed will leave you craving more.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    In different hands, some of the songs might be butterscotch-smooth MOR but Jeremy Greenspan's voice never loses its neurotic edge.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's an album that demands something of the listener, but rewards it in spades.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This is a joyful, transcendent record somehow reminiscent of kids let loose in a musical sandpit. As winter rages around us, it ushers in the warmth and sets a high musical benchmark for others to match this year.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This is a magnificent and poignant farewell.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    There's not an ounce of fat here. What's left reaffirms the Neptunes' credentials as fearless sonic innovators - eradicating the memory of Pharrell Williams' underwhelming recent solo album at a stroke - and fast-tracks Clipse into the pantheon of great rap lyricists.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The singing is immaculate all the way through, and there's plenty of blowing space from some dynamic improvisers, notably saxophonists Yosuke Sato and Tivon Pennicott.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This is no treasure trove, but it works well as a definitive overview.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    [Chutes] finds Albuquerque's finest further mining their own private bittersweet seam, kicking off with the pop turbulence of Kissing the Lipless and absurdly joyous Mine's Not a High Horse, before reaching another career peak with the dizzying exuberance of So Says I.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    As with their previous albums, Memorial demands total immersion, but Russian Circles' sonic world is a welcoming one. Right now, few bands conjure such vital and nourishing food for the imagination.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's an informal set, full of coughs and corrections and chatty asides; the sense of intimacy this fosters between the eager young singer and the modern listener might be this collection's greatest appeal.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Barbara Lewis's soul classic Hello Stranger gets a chillout makeover, which doesn't quite work; but any faults are obliterated by the album's closer, City Appearing.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    As ever, he's doing things his own way, with songs catchy enough to suggest everyone should accompany him for the ride.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The world's full of fine jazz piano trios, but Iyer's is way up the A-list.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Career-defining stuff.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Return to Cookie Mountain is largely a delight - an experimental album with a pop heart that avoids self-indulgence.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The concept of realness underpins hip-hop; the fearless, whipsmart talent of Angel Haze brings you face-to-face with the resonant reality of it.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    She sings with an affectless detachment reminiscent of, say, Aimee Mann, and uses it to cut sharply through the lies people tell themselves.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    What it isn't--quite--is the magnum opus it could be. The second half loses impetus.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    It sounds both brand new and old as the hills.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    You are drawn to the conclusion that these songs would be remarkable regardless of the circumstances in which they were written.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The most heartening thing about In Rainbows, besides the fact that it may represent the strongest collection of songs Radiohead have assembled for a decade, is that it ventures into new emotional territories.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Though the guitars sometimes get a little too intoxicated on their new freedom, this is a makeover that finally does the band's melodies proud.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's not a mere sampling of the contemporary piano scene, it's a real independent vision--Parks is a fast-rising star.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It feels digital, alien, the sound of modern machines going wrong. All this is underpinned by genuinely great songwriting
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The most compelling--and important--avant garde record since "Love's Secret Domain" by Coil.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    I don't expect to hear a better album this year.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    An entirely unique return to form.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Majestic while confronting his mortal fears on the gospel-hued Hope There's Someone, childlike and life-affirming on For Today I Am a Boy, he is never less than a class act.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Shrapnel-sharp dance music that demands to be heard.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It all adds up to a landmark in American music, an instant classic.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The prevailing mood is one of euphoria - of clouds parting, sun shining and hearts melting.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The songs on m b v, however, are more melodically complex, intriguing and often pleasing than anything he has written before.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Beyond his trademark agitated yelp and panic-attack rhythms are all manner of surprising and compelling sonic twists.
    • 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.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    There are remarkably few longueurs, and plenty of great stuff lurking among the discs of unreleased material.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Iyer is the antithesis of a ­contained and cerebral artist. ­Historicity, for the traditional jazz ­format of an acoustic piano trio, features fewer explicit ­contrasts of tonality and ­extremities of drama than Iyer's more familiar duets with saxist Rudresh Mahanthappa, but it offers a different agenda.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The Seer won't be for everybody, but deserves to win new converts.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Franz Ferdinand's album arrives packed not just with fizzing guitars, disco-influenced drums and intriguing shifts in tempo, but also memorable songs, laden with hooklines and startling riffs.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    xx
    It's difficult to imagine 'xx' having quite the seismic impact of that opus [Arcade Fire's debut], but the album will win many friends for its beautifully haunting, understated charms.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Beautifully realised, immaculately recorded, and one of the year's loveliest vinyl artefacts to boot.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Its flaws are outweighed by moments that justify the excitement. It felt like a major event before its release: more incredibly, it still does once you've heard it.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It's hard to think of another album that rocks in such an epic manner without sounding completely ridiculous.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This could be one of the unexpected successes of the year. Play it very loud.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Subtle exercises in pushing genre boundaries, these (mostly self-penned) songs deal in profundity without resort to cliche, and they deserve better than to have the life polished out of them.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The songwriting paints in broader strokes than the hyper-specific character studies of the debut. What the Annies lose there they gain in fuller, more ambitious arrangements.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    There's something charming about the way an album about growing up in the suburban 80s gradually starts to resemble a chart rundown from 1983: the taut, post-new wave rock track, the mournful social-realist ballad, the glittering synth-pop masterpiece.