The Independent (UK)'s Scores

  • Music
For 971 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 44% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 54% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 5.4 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 The Ghosts of Highway 20
Lowest review score: 20 Violet Cries
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 17 out of 971
971 music reviews
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    His symphonic-soul innovations here would map out the course of much 1970s soul music, while his use of multi-layered vocals – the happy result of an engineer accidentally running two vocal takes in the same mix – added an extra element to Gaye's vocal armoury which he would use extensively throughout the rest of his career.
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Though spoilt in places by distortion and too-prominent electric piano, the hitherto unheard material is notable for the innovative exploration of yet another roots blend, through the impassioned country-soul of songs such as “That’s the Breaks”. Clearly, in this most congenial of creative cauldrons, virtually anything was possible.
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It remains one of pop's most impervious generational touchstones.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The character of the base music here is overwhelming: complex, ebullient and life-affirming, and in yoking this intricate dance music to his sophisticated New Yorker sensibility, Simon created a transatlantic bridge that neither pandered to nor patronised either culture.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Proving that it is possible to have too much of a good thing, the five discs of this outtakes-and-all edition take the (let's be honest) rather meager delights of Brian Wilson's unfinished "masterwork" and wring the life out of them.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's an extraordinary collection, which demonstrates exactly why Guthrie was perhaps the only performer who could square the circle pointedly implied by the title American Radical Patriot.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Notwithstanding the occasional foray into jazz and blues, Black Messiah is much the same blend of miasmic boudoir soul, bare-bones funk and liberation songs that characterised his 2000 milestone, Voodoo.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Like Picasso, he acknowledges that the chief enemy of creativity is good taste--which is just as well, since it's not a quality with which he seems over-burdened on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. For which we should all be thankful.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Twenty-five years ago, Lifes Rich Pageant found R.E.M. metamorphosing from what was effectively a turbo-charged folk-rock cult indie outfit into a proper rock band capable of filling stadia.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It all adds up to probably the best Stones album since... well, since Some Girls, actually.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    [It is] possibly the band's best album.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Macero’s edits on the original double-album collaged four nights’ shows into a single, 20-minute track apiece; but this 4CD set presents each night’s ebullient flow in full.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's a relief to report that Pull Up Some Dust And Sit Down is his best effort by far since Chavez Ravine.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's simply marvellous, an unalloyed joy from first to last, with Robbie Robertson's finely wrought storytelling songs augmented by a few well-chosen covers.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Finally, maverick genius Sly Stone receives due respect in this four-disc retrospective, as the leader of rock's first multi-racial, multi-gender, multi-genre band.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The 10 albums that comprise this box set depict one of the most extraordinary career arcs in all of pop music, testament to the questing intelligence with which Joni Mitchell approached music.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    All in all, it’s a fine addition to the seemingly bottomless corpus of Springsteen’s ever-expanding oeuvre.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Four decades on, it sounds as revolutionary as ever.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Rarely have his revelations been as direct, or as personal, as on Carrie & Lowell, a cathartic exercise exploring the effect of his estranged mother Carrie’s death on him two years ago.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    These 15 pieces sketch an entire world of music, coloured by the locale, and shifting between the smoothly lyrical and the propulsive rhythmic.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Kouyate's electrification of his ngoni lute is just as effective a sign of resistance: fed through a wah-wah pedal, his serpentine, fleet-fingered lead lines gain a fresh, assertive power on songs.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Throughout there’s a determination to find the appeal in paradox, notably the beguiling blend of cool and cumbersome that carries the love song “Prince Johnny” to another place.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This is music of stellar quality, from the smirking masturbation anthem “Low Yo Yo Stuff” to the berserk wizardry of “Big Eyed Beans from Venus.”
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Notionally a five-track EP, M3LL155X is in its fullest realisation an art film/performance (co-directed and co-choreographed by her), freely available on YouTube.... Musically, it’s a more focused, coherent application of the same kinds of sounds and vocals used on LP1.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Though already condemned by Van himself, there's much to appreciate about this 4-CD expanded edition of one of the greatest albums ever recorded. It's fascinating to follow the development of a track such as "Caravan" across half a dozen takes.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    As usual with Newsom, the deeper resonances resound louder with subsequent exposure.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    An album which contains no filler at all, each track blooming in its own way like a collection of strange desert succulents, with a whole lot of hollerin' and a touch of Lieber-Stollerin'.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It belongs in that hour when the sunlight dims, everyone leaves the park, the disposable barbecues are smoking abortively, the makeshift Lilt bottle bong's started to taste like shit and you don't know whether to go back to bed or fritter away your last tenner in town.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The first line of the first song encapsulates the adolescent angst which blossomed over and over throughout the band's career, with varying degrees of wit, empathy, contempt and self-pity.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The Roots' 13th album may be their best.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Songwriter Tim Elsenburg makes great strides forward with an ambitious cycle of songs about identity and history.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It’s not so much that she’s changed direction completely, as that she’s drained her art of the obfuscating sonic blabber to leave her pop aesthetic.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    [The first three] tracks follow fairly seamlessly on from MBV's previous work, but thereafter subtle changes are applied that tug the album into pastures new.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Southeastern finds him working in a more stripped-down manner which focuses attention firmly on his songs. Fortunately, they're brilliant: vivid, multi-faceted tales of souls adrift.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The determination to include generous dollops of each member’s solo output means that the acoustic set sags badly. But the obscure material is welcome.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Like their Discovery LP which laid fresh pathways for pop and dance in 2001, Random Access Memories breathes life into the safe music that dominates today’s charts, with its sheer ambition.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    David Bowie releases the most extreme album of his entire career: Blackstar is as far as he's strayed from pop.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Bouger Le Monde offers a celebration of life.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Not only did they change the course of rock music; they also sustained an inspired creativity for almost two decades, something that the career arc of this retrospective brings into focus, right down to the Bacharach-esque touches of the final unreleased tracks, which pleasingly bring things full-circle in certain ways.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    On what may be her best album, Polly Harvey offers a portrait of her homeland as a country built on bloodshed and battle, not so much a police state as a nation in thrall to military endeavour, however impotent and wasteful that has become.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Prass confirms her unique, tremulous contralto mining depths of despairing devotion on songs clearly triggered by romantic crisis.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Roth fits Hunter like a glove, bringing out the warmth of his brass section and framing his raw voice in perfectly judged R&B arrangements that spark and bounce.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Overall, it’s a collection primarily concerned with the somatic rather than cerebral sides of Richard James’s music, overdosing somewhat on staccato, bouncing synth twangs and jittery drum’n’bass beats.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Truly, the album of a lifetime.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It’s a masterful set, stuffed with brooding, industrial-synth beats.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Once I Was an Eagle is a work that demands to be taken as a whole, another reminder of the peculiar power of the album form, despite frequent premature declarations of its redundancy.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    LP1
    FKA Twigs emerges the high priestess of R&B's latest corruption, and the world will kneel at the altar.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    With Stone Rollin', he broadens his outlook to take in various other R&B styles, without shifting more than a few years either way.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The result is a dark, steamy sound that comes crawling from the Louisiana swamp like a mean-tempered 'gator.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Inspiration Information [is] repackaged with an extra disc of pieces recorded since then, which show his abilities undiminished by age.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Popular Problems--note the drolly contradictory title--finds his agreeable baritone growl applied as usual to romantic disappointment and political venality with vivid, jolting metaphors (“I see the ghost of culture, with numbers on his wrist”) cutting to the quick.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It retains their signature blend of folk-rock songcraft and miasmic guitar-drone textures, but in a more purposive manner.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's long (nearly 100 minutes), strange, disturbing, uncomfortable, challenging. But it never fails to fascinate.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The result is a lush, immersive work which is sonically more homogeneous than her earlier albums.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Despite restlessly exploring hitherto untrodden musical terrain, there are precious few wasted seconds in these three hours.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    With Helplessness Blues, Fleet Foxes triumphantly deliver on the promise of their popular debut, the album that helped establish folk-rock once again as a formidable commercial force rather than just a fringe interest.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    One of the truest, wisest albums you’ll ever hear.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    There's a maturity about Rumer's delivery that sets her apart from all the Duffys and Adeles.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Overall, Smother finds Wild Beasts hurdling that difficult third album with some aplomb.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Phosphorescent's Matthew Houck augments his usual reedy Americana stylings with some unexpected developments on Muchacho.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    if it is to be his last communiqué, at least the old smoothie's going down swinging.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    White's own voice lacks the character to drive his songs, but Big Inner is a hugely impressive debut nonetheless.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    On this, Gillian Welch's fifth album, the familiar blending of traditional sounds and moods with modern sensibilities is effortlessly sustained through songs like the mordant "The Way It Goes" ("Betsy Johnson bought the farm, stuck a needle in her arm, that's the way that it goes").
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    For the most part, this is an album that restores faith in the sheer joy of music.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The warm but haunting Trouble Will Find Me will surely cement their accession to the rock mainstream.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It’s not quite godlike, but Yeezus certainly feels like it was created by a higher power.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    [Lucinda Williams is] producing enough quality material to follow last year’s double-album Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone with another double-album of equivalent potency. The songs on The Ghosts of Highway 20 have the unerring ring of truth about them, shining glimmers of light into dark and unpalatable corners of life.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Nomad confirms Bombino's promise, but with a few added surprises.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Dave Alvin's latest album may be his best yet, its tales of the flipside of the American Dream set to gritty blues riffs that speak of long months on the road.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's the most simple, directly dance-oriented they've been since Disco, putting down a marker for the rest of the album.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    An album, that restores to R&B some of the adult concerns that powered the genre through its '70s golden era.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    There's an urgency and drive about these tracks that's simply exhilarating.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Martin Simpson applies his dazzling fingerstyle technique to a broad range of material.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's on "Early Roman Kings" that the various strains come together most effectively, with Hidalgo's organ added to another Muddy Waters blues-stomp groove, and Dylan blurring history again in his depiction of the titular Romans "in their sharkskin suits, bowties and buttons, with their high-top shoes" – neatly underlining the gangsterism of imperial invaders of all eras.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    On Blunderbuss, he's stumbled into some nasty business. These are songs of ruthless temptresses and treacherous men, of uncontrollable desire and unbearable guilt.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Plan B acquits himself remarkably well here.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Whether The Horrors will willingly pursue that same trajectory to its logical conclusion seems doubtful, but for now Skying finds them breaking free of old bindings, eyes set on the wild blue yonder.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Soul Time! is a near-perfect expression of retro-soul style that grips from its opening bars.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Centralia is by far the most satisfying release to date by the Brooklyn-based minimalist post-rock duo Mountains.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Todd Snider has the kind of audience rapport that comes only through years of one-night stands and the confidence that builds in one's character – even if that character is of an inveterate ne'er-do-well peacenik, wryly proud of his inability to grow old gracefully.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    All told, it’s a magnificent, career-defining set, full of hard-won wisdom, assertive independence--and compassion in abundance.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This 30th-anniversary performance of the album at Glasgow’s Barrowlands doesn’t convey quite the sense of risk that accompanied their early shows, but the cocktail of noise and melody has largely retained its potency.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Given how far out Scott Walker had stepped with 2012’s complex and challenging, allusive and abusive Bish Bosch, the five tracks which comprise Soused seem almost mainstream by comparison.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Even by Wilco’s adventurous standards, Star Wars is possibly the most unusual, exploratory work of the band’s existence.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Despite the limited instrumental palette, there’s a broad variety of approaches.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It’s alienation couched in the most genial manner; and along the way, he gets to muse over such matters as speech and silence, mysticism and medicine, relationships and reality, in a beautifully meandering song-cycle.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    If it's not quite the landmark that was Wilco (the album), it's not far behind, as absorbing as any you'll hear this year.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Laura Marling continues to impress on her third outing, though the transatlantic influences are becoming more apparent.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    She’s uniquely gifted--one’s only reservation concerns her inclination to pack everything into each track.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's his band's most musically diverse effort.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The air of exultant expectation recollected in tranquility pervades the entire album, with Garvey confiding memories and misgivings to the natural world in "The River" and "The Birds", the latter appointed "the keepers of our secrets", while the former ultimately washes them out to the west-facing sea.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Save for the big live band arrangement of Dylan’s “Gotta Serve Somebody” that closes the album, it’s a thoughtful, intimate set.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The results have a lingering, languid charm, which does, as he suggests, help to liberate the material from the rusting manacles of big-band and cabaret mannerisms.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This year's version features the usual relaxed jazz-pop grooves, sophisticated horn arrangements and tinder-dry ironic tone.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The album slips into a febrile combination of reminiscences, boasts and complaints that manages to keep an eye firmly on the present whilst gazing fondly back on former tribulations.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's an unashamedly middle-aged affair, from the quietly moving affirmation of devotion in "Two Children" to the comforting reverie of "I Remember You".
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The confessional, autobiographical elements that are its strongest aspect also serve as its Achilles' heel: the whole enterprise depends on how fascinated the listener is with Rowland's psyche.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    At its best, Overgrown proves that James Blake doesn't need to listen to anyone's advice. He's doing fine already.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The dazzling deftness of his fingering in the Presto and Double Presto sections evokes a kind of giddy delirium and his feathery technique wrests the tenderest of emotions from the second Sonata's Andante.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's an enchanting snapshot of British rock'n'roll at its moment of greatest revelation, the point at which the Tin Pan Alley production line of ersatz Elvises was rendered utterly obsolete.