The Guardian's Scores

  • Music
For 3,133 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 4.1 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 67
Highest review score: 100 Franz Ferdinand
Lowest review score: 10 Life In Cartoon Motion
Score distribution:
3,133 music reviews
    • 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.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Dizzying in its scope and ambition.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Terms like "alt.country" are far too prosaic to contain music which might equally be called post-bebop, spook-folk or ghoulish horror soundtrack.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Every note, every lyric, is perfect.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Each track is astonishing.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    His best work since the Clash's London Calling.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Though the arrangements are predictable, Staton's versatile voice is a revelation.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    An entirely unique return to form.
    • 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.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The most original and exciting artist to emerge from dance music in a decade.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    One of the year's best already, by a mile.
    • 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.
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    London Calling itself stands tall as the band's masterpiece, the showcase for all their musical tastes and inclinations.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Medulla may divide Björk's audience, but, combining intellectual rigour and sensual ravishment, it is brave and unique.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Using and abusing passionate gospel, country sweetness and filthy guitar licks, the Kings of Leon are the kind of authentic, hairy rebels the Rolling Stones longed to be.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Smith has crafted an album that is deft, addictive and profoundly musical, and it feels like a fresh-minted classic.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    For fans of chiming, literate, lovelorn pop, Picaresque is an absolute treasure trove.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This is late-night listening that pulses with pain.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The air of two songwriters on rare form, confidently challenging each other to greater heights, is inescapable.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's a triumph of non-judgmental storytelling, delivered within purgative rock'n'roll.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Such sentiments are couched in consistently wonderful songwriting, surf's-up vocal harmonies... and lavish electro-pop.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    He's discovered a mellow maturity in Southern soul - and without losing his punk rock perversity or poetry.
    • 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.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Their melodies have never sounded richer or more lovely, their charm never more beguiling. SFA have made their best album yet.
    • 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    [Fall Heads Roll] is of head-turning quality.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It is filled with things only Kate Bush would do.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Spiritual, lovelorn and vulnerable, this is the album Diamond has deserved for decades.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The spectre of Oasis lurks around Arctic Monkeys, proof that even the most promising beginnings can turn into a dreary, reactionary bore. For now, however, they look and sound unstoppable.
    • 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.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    These are beautiful songs, as delicate as they are rocking and heavy.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The Drift is a record that demands a lot of work and repays tenfold.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    You would call Drew the most exciting rapper Britain has produced since Dizzee Rascal, if that didn't sound like such faint praise.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The female Mike Skinner? She's far, far better than that.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This is an African classic.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The Hold Steady couldn't sound less fashionable if they set up a branch of C&A, but their bar-room rock - all power chords and fist-pumping choruses - is a perfect, if counter intuitive accompaniment to Finn's downbeat tales.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The Dears have never sounded so comfortable in their own skin.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    An idiosyncratic triumph.
    • 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.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    What makes Williams such an important country artist, besides the excellent songwriting and that sultry, scarred southern voice, is her skill at stretching the genre's boundaries while mining its essence.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This is dance-rock for grown-ups: extraordinary.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The band bolster their indie credentials by touching on everything from Joe Meek (Thunderclaps) to the B-52s (She Is the New Thing) and the Fall (Excellent Choice).
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The way repeated listens allow its unobvious rhythmic and melodic logic to take root is fantastically rewarding.
    • 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.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This is one of the most brilliantly gloomy albums in his long career.
    • 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Pop is rarely as genuinely affecting, joyful or good as this.
    • 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.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's gorgeous from start to finish.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Each listen to New Amerykah brings fresh rewards: it demands to be explored.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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?"
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It all adds up to a landmark in American music, an instant classic.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Intimate, intense and beautiful, You & Me demands repeat plays and the Walkmen deserve a new respect.
    • 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.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Fed
    As nourishing as it is satisfying, Fed will leave you craving more.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Career-defining stuff.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Ten years after Deserter's Songs became a gorgeous Americana classic, Mercury Rev have made another masterpiece.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Bird and his 10 collaborators use sound the way the impressionists daubed paint, layering elegiac violin melodies with pattering plucked notes, fuzzy or jangly guitar, clip-clop percussion, clicks and drones to create music that might be straightforwardly folky, brightly poppy or more experimental, but is always vivid and engaging.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    An outstanding record, and one with endless pleasures and pains to be wrung out of it.
    • 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.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The most compelling--and important--avant garde record since "Love's Secret Domain" by Coil.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Studio majesty be darned, this could prove a modern classic regardless.
    • 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.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This is a remarkable and historic set of recordings with an equally remarkable history.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Hidden is not just the most original record to emerge from Britain this year, but the most unfathomable: an immaculate enigma.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This is a magnificent and poignant farewell.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The fearless try-anything spirit of Paul Welly, it seems, is still alive and well.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Utterly, beautifully majestic.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The results pitch beautifully crafted, poignant songs and heartfelt vocals against foggy, ethereal production.
    • 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.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    One of the most flat-out enjoyable rock records in a long time.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Happily, this third album contains some of her best songs yet.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This album looks like one of 2010's major contenders.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's unique and warm and beautiful, as love letters are supposed to be.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Lovano's total authority over the materials and his instruments glows through every track.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This is Earth's best-realised work to date – stunning stuff.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    You're left with a richly inventive album that's unlike anything else in Harvey's back catalogue.
    • 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
    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.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Songwriting this good doesn't come along often.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Magnificent.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A 19-track behemoth of (mainly) Sun Records covers, executed so faithfully that they could have been mouldering in a Memphis vault for 50 years.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    What's beyond doubt is the quality of the music he made.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    For old Jarrett fans and prospective new ones, it's a must.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The songwriting here is routinely top-notch, the album gaining impact as it plays and the moods shift imperceptibly.