The New York Times' Scores

For 1,820 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 54% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 42% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 70
Highest review score: 100 Live in Europe 1967: Best of the Bootleg, Vol. 1
Lowest review score: 10 All The Right Reasons
Score distribution:
1820 music reviews
    • 100 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The remasters find some new glimmers of clarity and sparkle, particularly on guitar sounds, but aren’t startlingly different from past versions. ... After 20 years, it’s clear that “OK Computer” was the album on which Radiohead most strongly embraced and, simultaneously, confronted the legacy of the Beatles.
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It captures Davis's finest working band at its apogee, straining at the limits of post-bop refinement.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    At its best, it’s a howling work of black protest art on par with Amiri Baraka’s incendiary play “Dutchman,” or David Hammons’s moving decapitated hoodie “In the Hood”.... He hasn’t outrun his tendency toward clutter. He is a dense rapper, and even though he’s more at ease with the music now, he still runs the risk of suffocation.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Listeners familiar with Mr. Lang’s more obstreperous instrumental works may not recognize his style here (though a few more meditative ensemble pieces hint at it). But these choral settings, composed from 2001 to 2007, show that he has idiosyncratic but effective ideas about how to use voices.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Tart and punchy.... Sometimes boisterous, sometimes swampy, rarely fanciful album--it’s Mr. Lamar’s version of the creeping paranoia that has become de rigueur for midcareer Drake. And yet this is likely Mr. Lamar’s most jubilant album, the one in which his rhymes are the least tangled.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It doesn’t leap out of speakers; it oozes and bubbles, waiting for a listener to be drawn in. As it does, the pleasures and rewards keep growing.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    There is sad music, which is to say music that deploys lyrical or musical motifs meant to connote misery. And then there is this album, which mostly exists in a space beyond those concerns. It is an album because a musician made it and it is broken up into songs, but it is also a diary, a balled-up tissue, found art.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Dylan going electric now seems quaint, these concerts are a big part of the reason: He proved he was right.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Nearly every sound in these tracks has amorphous parameters: an indeterminate pitch, a gradual attack and decay, the sensation of being heard from a distance, or perhaps underwater.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    ["Sorry,"] is a combative, unglossy track on an album full of them. ... As she did with her 2013 album, “Beyoncé,” she has also paired the music with full-length video that expands and deepens its impact.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    There’s still something to be gleaned here, perhaps especially from the frisky pianist Ruben González and the debonair vocalists Compay Segundo and Ibrahim Ferrer, all of whom are now gone, having enjoyed twilight acclaim.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Writing about parties and untrue love, Lorde risks joining the pop pack instead of upending it the way she did with “Pure Heroine.” But she still has the immediacy of her voice, with its smokiness, melancholy and barely suppressed rage, and she refuses to let her lyrics resolve into standard pop postures.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The problem with "A Grand Don't Come for Free" is that the pieces often work better as stories than as songs.... But it is still a thrill to hear Mr. Skinner toy with the form that he invented.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The 70-minute album sags by the end, and every listener will probably find one must-skip song. But Ms. Monae gets away with most of her metamorphoses, and the sheer ambition is exhilarating even when she stretches too far.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Even the most elaborate constructions come across as homemade, touched with an optimism that is by no means naïve. [10 Jul 2005]
    • The New York Times
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A hushed, intent Sufjan Stevens contemplates death, grief, family and memory on his quietly moving new album.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This is a messy album, sometimes thrillingly so, a mélange of psychedelic rock, punk energy and R&B desperation.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    One of the year's best indie-rock albums. [3 Oct 2004]
    • The New York Times
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Ngoni Ba was already remarkable for its plucked, pointillist modal grooves, and on Jama Ko, its passionate defense of Malian culture makes the music even sharper.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    With the producer John Congleton, Ms. Clark creates an unpretty backdrop for some of her most alluring melodies.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    There’s not likely to be a more earthy feeling and backward-sounding country album released on a major label this year.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    These are pummeling cyber-howls, these songs.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    On the jubilant, nourishing Coloring Book, his third solo release, has blossomed into a crusader and a pop savant, coming as close as anyone has to eradicating the walls between the sacred and the secular.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Gorgeous... One of the year's best electronic albums. [29 May 2005]
    • The New York Times
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    These clattering and clear-eyed tracks add up to something singular. [27 Nov 2006]
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    To Be Kind continues a run of evermore committed, detailed and powerful work since the band formed again with a new lineup four years ago.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It doesn’t reflect a lack of evolution, or even a regression, but rather the completion of a circle--and probably a landing pad, even as the world continues to whiz by.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    There are minor variations, like key changes and picking patterns, but nothing as radical as the ways he would transform the songs in later years.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    [A] rather brilliant record.... You almost want to hold the whole thing still, flatten it out and study it.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Grim tidings arrive amid gorgeous backdrops ... The results often hark back to the late 1960s; in a way, "A Moon Shaped Pool" is Radiohead’s psych-folk album.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It’s more experimental yet catchier, more introspective yet more assertive, by turns gloomier and funnier, and above all richer in both sound and implication. “Return to Cookie Mountain” is simply one of this year’s best albums.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This new album is the most successful of the lot--calmer but not remotely calm, more emotional but not at all tender.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Ms. Musgraves has a sweet character to her sound, which allows her to deliver a cynic’s wisdom in the voice of an inquisitive child.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It’s a cranky record that gets exciting entirely on its own schedule.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It feels like an event: grand, sumptuous, sometimes seductive.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The album is complete in itself. It's just 39 minutes, made brief to be listened to as a whole.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The low-fi yet meticulous arrangements only add to the sense of isolation and the poignancy of the songs. [18 Oct 2004]
    • 88 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The soukous guitars are still there, now and then, but solitary post-punk guitar lines also hang in the air, and they share a spooky, precarious soundscape that changes with each track: heaving with distorted bass, warped by the echoes and shifting reverb of a psychedelic-dub production, invaded by noise.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Rhythmic layers crackle and coil, percussion spatters prettiness, and noise sometimes looms from murky corners....Radiohead has also reclaimed its tunefulness. Its new songs take care to string long-lined melodies across the rigorous counterpoint.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Tame Impala saves itself from mere revivalism with 21st-century self-consciousness and, tucked amid the swirl and buzz, touching confessions of insecurity.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Words are secondary for Sunn O))), a k a Greg Anderson on bass and Stephen O’Malley on guitar, who long ago made thunderous resonant sounds their stock in trade. What’s striking about this new release is its wealth of additional textures: woodwinds, brass, strings, male and female choirs.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The groundbreaking compilation Haiti Direct gathers 27 tracks from those decades: big bands with jubilant horn sections (including the one led by the compas pioneer Nemours Jean Baptiste); “mini jazz” bands that replaced horn sections with guitars; rock bands with a psychedelic streak; small twoubadou (troubadour) groups and more.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This album doesn't match the weird, woozy brilliance of "Supreme Clientele," from 2000, and there are a few too many guest verses from rappers who don't come close to upstaging their host. Still, this might surpass his 2004 CD, "The Pretty Toney Album," though it's too early to tell: when you get a new Ghostface Killah album, the only reasonable reaction is to get lost in it. [27 Mar 2006]
    • The New York Times
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    2004's first great hip-hop album. [9 Feb 2004]
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It’s at once emotive and cryptic, structured and spontaneous and, above all, willful, refusing to cater to the expectations of radio stations or fans.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The best of them glow with bittersweet empathy.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This is vivid music, with color and texture and perhaps taste.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The music toys with nostalgia, with the reassuring dependability of structure and instrumental arrangements.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Blonde is dewy, radiant and easeful, with an approach to incantatory soul that evolves moment to moment. It’s feverish but unhurried, a slowly smoldering set that’s emphatic about loneliness.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Mr. Brown’s voice, which lacks power and nuance, and lays even flatter the goopier the lyric. That liability becomes even clearer as the musicianship around him elevates, not just by his band members, but also guests, like Mr. Grohl on drums, or Oteil Burbridge (of the reconstituted Allman Brothers Band) on bass. But the gifts Mr. Brown receives here are plenty, and he has spun gold from far less.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Los Lobos has swerved away from the upbeat music it plays on the jam-band circuit, harking back to its quietly startling 1992 album, “Kiko.” [25 Sep 2006]
    • The New York Times
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    What elevates these beyond mere plaints is Ms. Evans’s robust and sweet voice. She sings with power, grace and dignity.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Even amid the most abstruse music, these songs have an emotional immediacy. The physicality of Björk’s voice and the strings are even more striking against the impersonal electronic sounds, all the better to reveal the interior landscape of heartbreak and healing--not a simple story, and all the better for it.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This warped, lovely album suggests that a true longtime partnership isn’t two people who love each other even for their flaws, but of two people accepting decay--their own and each other’s--and choosing to ride it out nonetheless.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    xx
    In fairness to the XX, that song was one of Aaliyah's most languorous, its eroticism delivered in small, subtle kicks, but that does little to soften the airlessness of the XX's version. And it's that same fundamental reluctance to engage that suffocates this group's self-titled debut album, which has become a favorite of bloggers and the British.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Arcade Fire mines classic U2 and Bruce Springsteen far better than the Killers recently did. And Arcade Fire didn’t lose its own voice in an attempt to sound bigger and grander. [5 Mar 2007]
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Working separately, the songwriters converged in lonely reflection; the album adds up to a composite portrait of a ghost.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The Malian singer Rokia Traoré has a gentle voice with a steely core, one that’s revealed more clearly than ever on Beautiful Africa.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The five-piece ensemble handles each tune with soulful aplomb.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The results are, in many places, as ethereally and lustrously beautiful as the best Bon Iver material but more removed. ... Because this album travels in so many directions, there are places where Mr. Vernon sounds unanchored, and where his reluctance gives way to lack of commitment. His naïveté has always been carefully studied, but sometimes here, especially in the middle of the album, it feels just vague.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Ms. Harvey's vocals rise out of a kind of bleary skiffle, with the strumming of Autoharp or distorted electric guitar above rudimentary drumbeats.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The strongest stuff of Mr. Murphy’s career.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    For all the ups and downs of the lyrics, the music has no doubt that manic creativity and craftsmanship, along with rhythm and noise, are a survival kit.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Comicopera, his 12th solo record since 1970, has indulgences and longueurs, as all his records do. But it also has some burstingly beautiful songwriting.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    For a wallow in obsessive love, it’s hard to top “Your Love Is Killing Me” on Sharon Van Etten’s fourth album, Are We There.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Even in its boasts, How I Got Over is selfless: an album of doubts, parables and pep talks.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The music makes space for him to ache.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    He's both analytical, distilling songs down to essential parts, and whimsical in his fondness for funny noises. [10 Apr 2006]
    • The New York Times
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    These are songs full of offhand aphorisms, and they can grab you from the first line. [23 May 2005]
    • The New York Times
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    She fully commands the foreground of her songs. Her voice is upfront, recorded to sound natural and unaffected, with all its grain and conversational quirks.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    You need several listens to get your head around it, to recognize the landmarks and figure out the proper speed of anticipation and delivery.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Her characters in these songs--which feature some of the most incisive songwriting in any genre--are complex, self-confident and self-lacerating all at once, and most crucially, completely knowing and in on the joke.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    In 2013, she released the elegantly scarred “Like a Rose,” a striking album that showed her to be a sly, progressive songwriter and a nimble, tradition-minded singer. At its best, The Blade, her follow-up, continues that arc.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The record draws closer to where he started: this music is entirely referential, but doesn't want to be contained. It's got some freelance cool, some autonomous energy.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    What's most exciting about ''Black Sheep Boy'' is that Okkervil River sounds more than ever like a band. [9 Apr 2005]
    • The New York Times
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A reasonable first impulse is to try to identify all the sound sources; the inevitable second impulse is to marvel at how well he has chopped up and rearranged them into units of rhythm.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Stone Rollin' is a better, more lively album than the last one Mr. Saadiq made in this vein, "The Way I See It," from 2008.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Its seriousness never makes it earthbound. Mr. Cooder brings to it all he has learned from a career delving into odd corners of American and world music. [13 Jun 2005]
    • The New York Times
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Intermittently brilliant, occasionally belligerent, it presents a vision of American identity as sprawling and ultimately as confused as the country itself.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    I See the Sign is a seriously intelligent record, but never cute or overbearing; its Icelandic producer, Valgeir Sigurdsson, has left it dry and full of space, so that you hear the seams.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Mr. Akinmusire has a strong aesthetic compass, and as a bandleader, he keeps a steady hand on the wheel; he’s not just stumbling into the album’s shadowy and unsettled mood.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    His performance is a respectful but contemporary nod.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    There are verbal nuggets throughout the album... but it’s not the antihero sentiments that make the songs memorable; it’s the methodical yet obsessive patterns that frame them.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It sounds fantastic as a study in symphonic-rock ambition and studio mixing techniques.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    There’s no lesson, no punch line, just the unflinching gaze of someone who’s already seen too much.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    For the familiar songs the original album choices were usually better, with tauter lyrics and arrangements pushing away from the generic. Still, with a songwriter like Mr. Dylan the rough drafts, alternate lyrics and multiple versions of “Dignity” and “Mississippi” are fascinating glimpses of how restlessly he tinkers with mood and meaning.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Haw
    The songs ponder mortality and devotion, love and family, searching for peace of mind and finding it, no doubt temporarily, in the folky benediction of “What Shall Be (Shall Be Enough).”
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    This music has deep weirdness but incredible will and charisma.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Protomartyr is from Detroit, and there’s a dour, industrial affect to this record-- the band’s best, though like the others it can sometimes feel like one long song--which seems to confirm everything you think you know about that city.... But Mr. Casey’s excellent lyrics go bigger and more abstract.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    At first, the songs can seem remote and arty, but gradually they start to add up; they're filled with a sense of loss and a hope for transformation. [6 Mar 2006]
    • The New York Times
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Malibu--his second album under this moniker, following a stretch under the name Breezy Lovejoy--is multilayered. It’s also incisive, languorous and deeply felt, a warm bath of studiously relaxed hip-hop and soul.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    He's not preaching on this album. He's finding solace, fleeting and fragmentary, and every springy guitar lick is its own benediction.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    For much of "Late Registration," the striver has turned into a hip-hop V.I.P., and a cool arrogance has crept into the songs. [29 Aug 2005]
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Despite some subtle new touches --a harpsichord, a banjo, light strings--the sound proposes constancy.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Playing a woman too often scorned, she comes out victoriously soulful.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The National’s 2013 album, “Trouble Will Find Me,” was a culmination of sorts: accomplished, polished, measured, mature. Sleep Well Beast is just as polished and even more intricate. But it also shakes things up.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Benji is strong, cultish stuff, full of its own stink, full of stories about death and much, much smaller things; the stanzas are long and the yarns circular.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    "The Drift" sets out only to follow its own obsessions; it's both lush and austere, utterly personal and often Delphic in its impenetrability.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Ms. Marling doesn’t cast herself as heroine or victim, angel or avenger. She does something trickier, and perhaps braver. Clear-eyed, calmly determined and invitingly tuneful, she captures each situation in all its ambiguity.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    In songs suffused with need and vulnerability, the music leaves itself open, waiting to be approached.