The Independent (UK)'s Scores

  • Music
For 872 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 5.7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 Landing On A Hundred
Lowest review score: 20 Sing It Loud
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 17 out of 872
872 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
    • 60 Critic Score
    This 1991 album is the best of three reissues of their work – also available are their debut, Isn't Anything, and a 2CD compilation of outtakes and EPs.
    • 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.
    • 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
    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
    • 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
    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.
    • 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
    • 60 Critic Score
    With the hindsight afforded by this monumental 17-disc career retrospective, he seems somewhat less than The One, an idiosyncratic talent undermined by MOR inclinations.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The chief virtue is the immediacy that courses through tracks like “The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton” and “Fall of the Star High School Running Back”.
    • 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
    • 60 Critic Score
    Bjork’s Vulnicura represents a return of sorts to standard song form after the experimental Biophilia, its nine long tracks evoking the emotional confusion following a break-up.... But throughout, Bjork’s own vocals are the stumbling-block.
    • 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
    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
    • 60 Critic Score
    “Wanderlust” establishes the overall thematic impulse to live culturally beyond one’s means, but in practice this can lead to the preference for smarts over suitability that spoils a track like “A Dog’s Life”. But there are moments of greatness here and there.
    • 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
    • 60 Critic Score
    Paul Simon's ruminations here on love, age and encroaching mortality have a valedictory flavour about them.
    • 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
    • 60 Critic Score
    For her third album as St. Vincent, Annie Clark has jettisoned the baroque string and woodwind arrangements that marked 2009's Actor, in favour of more direct, guitar-based settings.
    • 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").
    • 85 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Musically, it's the same kind of electro R&B with which radio is already awash--in large part because it's produced by the same small coterie of hip producers, with Timbaland appearing to take the most prominent role amongst the likes of Detail, Jerome Harmon, Pharrell Williams and Ryan Tedder.
    • 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
    • 60 Critic Score
    The impression is of someone picking obsessively at an emotional scab, which is effectively what The Wall is all about.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Nomad confirms Bombino's promise, but with a few added surprises.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Not an easy listen, but a satisfying one.
    • 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
    • 60 Critic Score
    Experimentation is generally to be applauded, but too often here it works to the detriment of the songs.
    • 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
    • 60 Critic Score
    Bill Callahan's follow-up to 2011's gorgeous Apocalypse finds him in the company of a small, discreet band, whose gentle shuffles are coloured mostly by guitar, fiddle and flute, as his muse flits haphazardly about him. [The Independent scored this a 3/5 in the actual printed edition not 5/5 as seen on its online edition]
    • 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
    • 40 Critic Score
    Sadly, this is about as deep as their politics go on Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, the more articulate sentiments of To the 5 Boroughs having been largely abandoned in favour of fairly standard bring-the-noise, boast'n'diss hip-hop pablum.
    • 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
    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.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    It's a dub reimagining that takes the material further out, into a soundscape whose fractured dubstep tones, sped-up samples and drum'n'bass beats only occasionally work in its favour.
    • 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
    • 60 Critic Score
    There’s a confidence and flexibility to his disparate themes.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Themes of lust, power politics and rebellion are smuggled in via unusual locutions, de-synchronous beats and treated sample-loops – interesting stuff, though occasionally one yearns for a decent tune.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Despite the limited instrumental palette, there’s a broad variety of approaches.
    • 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
    • 40 Critic Score
    The sort-of-romantic themes and sort-of-funk grooves lend a greater unity than usual, but save for a few tracks, the general impression is of lots of bustling, itchy industry – the scratchy guitars, the scuttling beats, the dying-firework synths – to no particularly attractive end.
    • 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
    • 60 Critic Score
    The Talk Talk of their era.
    • 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
    • 60 Critic Score
    An album that perhaps skips too easily from one style to another for its own good, though there are other sublime moments.
    • 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".