The Observer (UK)'s Scores

  • Music
For 760 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 32% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 65% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 8.6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 Strange Mercy
Lowest review score: 20 Nothing But the Beat
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 11 out of 760
760 music reviews
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Dig deep and there's powerful drama and enigmatic subtlety in equal measure as the Cumbrian four-piece once again embrace understated electronica and invite favourable comparisons with Talk Talk.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The textures change constantly without sounding cluttered, the rhythms are compelling but unfailingly light and airy, and the tunes are, well, tuneful.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    There's a good deal to enjoy here.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    On first listen, their third album sounds undercooked but dig deep and, gradually, the five-piece are revealed as a tranquil indie-rock outfit whose songs evoke the innocence of your early 20s while shot through with a sadness that imbues them with depth.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It feels a tad preachy at moments but the purity of Perhacs's talent still radiates beautifully.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Lost maintains a kind of motorik languor throughout, turning 80s arena rock into something much more intriguing.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This album takes anxiety as a theme, but it sounds materially less neurotic than their previous records, for good and ill.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The mood only really dips on Chamber of Reflection, when jangly guitars are replaced by a discombobulating synth and his downer sentiments are matched by the music.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This Canadian trio dispense a slow, seductive blend of blues and country that skulks in the shadows, whispering sweet nothings before baring its fangs.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    EMA makes sure these are songs, first and foremost. And they are still personal.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    In short, if you fell out of love with dance music at the end of the 1990s, this may be the record to get you back in front of the big speakers.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    There's an unmannered honesty to Watt's singing and lyrics.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The 27-year-old Scot had taken five years to unleash this third album, an ambitious stab at morphing into a mature soul man. And it's worked.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The subject matter may not be as harrowing as the real-life inspiration for some of his earlier work (most notably Electro-Shock Blues), but this is still a powerful and emotionally coherent set.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Food is good-time party fare packed with feeling; many of these songs would blend right in on a Soul Jazz compilation of rhythm and blues rarities.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's Rhys's empathy with Evans and the humour and pathos with which he conveys his young protagonist's emotions that makes this such a vivid and exhilarating journey.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Without any studio trickery to distract from the songs, versions of Bert Jansch's Needle of Death and Gordon Lightfoot's If You Could Read My Mind sound particularly affecting.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Melodies emerge strongly from these simple musical settings and there's little to distract from his lyrics, which explore solitude and regret--those hoary old staples of US road music - in rich and inventive ways.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    These are fictions, but they reflect raw truths in a way that draws you up short.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Bracing, brilliant.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Röyksopp are on top form here, and when Robyn returns to her exuberant self on the title track, expressing mixed feelings about having insatiable appetites, the effect is electrifying.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This follow-up, an intoxicated, stylistically varied stretch of rigid drum beats, repeated riffs and odes to melancholy, doesn't hide its influences either.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    With its 12 hushed and intimate tracks stripped back to the bare essentials--often just Fullbright's voice and guitar--the emphasis is on the strength of the songwriting (and, on Write a Song, the process itself).
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Lazaretto, named after a place of quarantine for sailors, hurtles between moods and tempos, often within the same song.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The more he works dissonant elements into these songs, the more thrillingly unbalanced they feel.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Jarrett's piano and Haden's bass take an affectionate, inquisitive tour through a set of jazz classics and old ballads, revealing fresh beauties at every turn.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    In this super-charged debut, which harks back to early-90s hip-hop, she delights in speeding it up.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It all runs very smoothly--perhaps too smoothly for some tastes--but listen past the sheen and the headphone goods are there.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    There are points where you sorely wish Morrissey had a few more apercus to impart.... But for every step back, Morrissey's paso doble takes two steps forwards. His years of refusal seem to be turning into years of renewal.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A decade on he treads a familiar path of homespun blues and rock'n'roll, happily unencumbered by musical fashion and with deeply satisfying results.