The Independent (UK)'s Scores

  • Music
For 844 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 43% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 55% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 The Dreamer/The Believer
Lowest review score: 20 Exile
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 16 out of 844
844 music reviews
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    He's keen to please, but what's remarkable about The Lady Killer is that he manages to avoid all the bubblebath boudoir-soul cliches that litter most R&B albums.
    • 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.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Kiss Each Other Clean is much more focused and homogenous, but there's still a lingering sense of abundant inspiration, eager to carry the songs off to different lairs.
    • 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    There's a consistency and homogeneity about the 11 tracks (seven from The Red Shoes, four from The Sensual World) which echoes her work on Aerial, and which lends the project a character entirely its own.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    D
    Is there nothing they can't do?
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    ["A Little Bit Of Everything"] is a thoughtful, mature conclusion to an album that seems to summarise one of the more welcoming trends in American rock
    • 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").
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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'.
    • 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.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Soul Time! is a near-perfect expression of retro-soul style that grips from its opening bars.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The result is a lush, immersive work which is sonically more homogeneous than her earlier albums.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It all adds up to probably the best Stones album since... well, since Some Girls, actually.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    There's an urgency and drive about these tracks that's simply exhilarating.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The Roots' 13th album may be their best.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    That he manages to express such ethical and religious principles without coming across like a sanctimonious buzz-killer is quite remarkable.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Taken as a whole, it's a marvellous piece of work, boasting a rare congruence between lyrical themes and musical evocations, and fronted by one of the most broodingly characterful voices in rock music.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    [It is] possibly the band's best album.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    These 10 tracks are a masterclass in modern pop creation, pinballing from style to style without endangering their essential "TingTingness".
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    [The] debut album sparkles with invention and throbs with emotion.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    [Wrecking Ball is] unquestionably his most potent album so far this century.
    • The Independent (UK)
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Just a series of great, swampy soul grooves, fronted by the most arresting new voice you'll hear this year, and the kind of natural songwriting that seems to contain the entire history of Southern music within its staves.
    • 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.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    An engagingly outre delight.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Despite restlessly exploring hitherto untrodden musical terrain, there are precious few wasted seconds in these three hours.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Lone soul genius Cody ChesnuTT's in dazzling form on Landing on a Hundred, which must be the most impressive crowd-funded album ever.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The Staves are like a distillation of all that's best about the folk heritages of England and America.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Part of its success is due to Stevens' uniquely ambivalent position, at once ingenious and ingenuous.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Truly, the album of a lifetime.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    With results both as pleasurable, as inventive and as absorbing as these, there seems no danger that the impact of {Awayland} will be merely momentary.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Centralia is by far the most satisfying release to date by the Brooklyn-based minimalist post-rock duo Mountains.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    These are big themes, dealt with imaginatively by a singer and a band both operating at the peak of their powers. Album of the year?
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It remains one of pop's most impervious generational touchstones.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It’s certainly rare to hear a comeback effort that not only reflects an artist’s own best work, but stands alongside it in terms of quality, as The Next Day does.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The warm but haunting Trouble Will Find Me will surely cement their accession to the rock mainstream.
    • 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Wood is one of our finest songwriters, a brilliant exponent of the topical troubadour form, and rarely on better form than he is with None the Wiser.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It's music that slips between the generic niches favoured by broadcasters; but isn't that exactly where the most interesting music comes from?
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It reveals a broader musical and emotional palette than they've exposed before.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The singer has matched Bernie Taupin's best crop of lyrics for years with his own most emotively apt melodies to produce a collection that both harks back to the intrigues and interests of his earliest recordings, yet manages to break new ground, quite an achievement for an artist in his sixth decade.
    • 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Fascinating, enjoyable and original.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    If it's not quite the jump from Bob Dylan to The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, it's the closest recent equivalent, a prodigious rate of development for such a tyro talent, all the more remarkable for not being reliant on significant musical progression, so much as raw songwriting ability.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    One of the truest, wisest albums you’ll ever hear.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Comprising equal parts Stones raunch and REM-style country-rock, songwriters Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley are working at the peak of their powers.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Caustic Love may be the best UK R&B album since the 1970s blue-eyed-soul heyday of Rod Stewart and Joe Cocker.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    There’s an ever-expanding diversity of appeal to Turn Blue that should win new fans and please the faithful.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    At only nine tracks long, but with every one of them worthy of single status, it displays, as pop albums go, both rare economy and staggering consistency.
    • 87 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.
    • 85 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.
    • 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.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Technically unimpeachable, the layered harmonies of songs such as "Angels From The Realms Of Glory" and "The Holly And The Ivy" are rendered with razor-sharp precision, though there's a stridency to her delivery on some pieces.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's easily the best work Diddy's been involved with in his entire career.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    British Sea Power are bravely bringing beauty into an increasingly ugly world, whether that world wants it or not. They ought to be given a medal. For valour. For Valhalla.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The Kentucky combo Cage the Elephant manage to find a new wrinkle on the face of US indie-punk, thanks to an enthusiasm for yoking catchy melodies to abrasive guitar riffs that recalls the Pixies.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The T-Bone Burnett-produced Low Country Blues is Gruntin' Gregg Allman's first album in 14 years, and it's the best work he's done since the Allman Brothers' Seventies heyday.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Like some hibernating agit-prop agency awakening to meet the needs of these hard times, Gang of Four are in typically brusque form on their first new material for 16 years.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The simpler arrangements allow more room for Rhys's sleek harmonies to drive his whimsical wordplay: accordingly, the album has the lush, beguiling charm of a sun-kissed soft-rock album by The Beach Boys or The Young Rascals.
    • 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.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Slightly laconic, slightly ironic, ["No Problem"] makes for a brilliant contrast with the production duo's galloping stutter-riff groove, heralding a run of crunching fuzz-guitar riffs that brings to mind the UK big-beat heyday of The Prodigy.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The secret is their infallible way with a tune: tracks such as "Get Away" and the single "Georgia" possess a beguiling melodic charm that illuminates the lo-fi boy/girl vocal delivery of Blumberg and his sister Ilana, bringing uplift where once all might have been gloom.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Go-Go Boots is the promised "R&B Murder Ballad Album" recorded concurrently with last year's The Big To-Do, and it's every bit as good as that description suggests.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Potential affection for this self-titled debut is likely to depend on how one takes this and similarly twee sentiments.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's ultimately hard not to like an album that features not one but two epiphanies, one experienced lying on the "Roof of Your Car" staring at the stars, while in album closer "Lock the Locks" a dream prompts Skinner's sudden change of career--an event engagingly depicted as an office farewell party.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The King of Limbs sounds like the bastard offspring of dubstep and Nico Muhly, the brilliant composer whose string and choral arrangements inhabit the open spaces between contemporary classical and art-rock.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The only mis-step on the album is "Boeing 737", a pounding, splashy stomp whose brash incoherence perhaps disguises a commentary on the twin towers attacks. It seems brutish and crude set alongside the rest of the album, which otherwise has the kind of stylistic and atmospheric unity that reminds one of what albums can offer that no other format can match.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It has everything the Adele album lacks: real emotional insight, couched in genuinely soulful arrangements bristling with imagination.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Blessed improves upon 2008's lacklustre Little Honey simply because it boasts a better set of songs, most of which are treated to Williams's signature style of soul-tinged country-blues, using organ and pedal-steel guitar to light her sandpaper vocal rasp.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's their most cohesive album in some time.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Certainly, the recurrent themes of conclusion, starting over and rebuilding do lend it a muscular sense of purpose.
    • 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.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This is a guitarists' mutual appreciation society affair that ought to be unbearable, but is actually gorgeous, thanks to the modest brilliance of those involved.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Overall, a confident, clear-headed quantum leap beyond their previous work.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Despite being further from their comfort zone, this second foray into theatrical composition, a ballet based around a Hans Christian Anderson parable, is vastly more adept, involving the deft interweaving of electropop and orchestral elements within a series of impressionistic tableaux sketching out the theme of conflict between creativity and destruction.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Apocalypse is Bill Callahan's best release in some while, sustaining a unity and intimacy of mood throughout.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The first Union Station album since 2004 is, as usual, something to treasure.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Lollipop is the best Meat Puppets album since the halcyon days of Up on the Sun and Mirage, full of scudding lysergic country-rock grooves bound in twisting skeins of dervish lead guitar.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Singer Julie Baenziger, aka Julie Ann Bee, whose debut album reveals a similar mix of emotional openness and affinity for the natural world as Laura Veirs, with something of Veirs's inquistive approach to musical textures, too.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Zeffira's facility with reeds, keys and strings ensures constantly interesting textural shifts, while the combination of Badwan's imperious, Scott Walker-esque baritone and Zeffira's varied vocal stylings recalls not just Lee Hazlewood & Nancy Sinatra but even the effervescent charm of The B-52s.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    As a songwriter, Steve Earle is blessed with two apparently contradictory gifts: the ability to animate fictional lives, and a streak of cussed, lefty sincerity that gives bite to his truth-telling.
    • 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.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Overall, Smother finds Wild Beasts hurdling that difficult third album with some aplomb.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's still suffused with a retro 1960s vibe, but this time the garage-pop influences prevail, with a sizeable side-order of psychedelia courtesy of the edgy West Coast lead guitar that streaks tracks.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Norah Jones and Jack White sing on three tracks apiece, respectively languid and predatory, the end result being a short but perfectly-formed portal to a different state of musical mind.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    There's an ease and comfort about the songs that suggests they fell into place naturally, rather than suffering endless alterations; and the band seem content to let them breathe and take on a life of their own, rather than freight them with unnecessary adornment.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Circuital opens with a gong and orchestral fanfare, appropriately so for what may be My Morning Jacket's best album.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The UK edition of their debut has three extra tracks recorded in a church, which damps things even further. But there is still much to enjoy here.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Hip young American male/female duo Cults look to classic 1960s pop history for the 11 bite-sized pop nuggets of this impressive debut.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Whatever their origin [his guitars], he manages to wrestle compelling riffs from them.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    As on A&M's albums, he's captured the trio's charm and lightness of spirit within infectious grooves built around Sam's cyclical acoustic guitar riffs, with the individual raps supported by their warm, uplifting harmonies.