The Observer (UK)'s Scores

  • Music
For 1,576 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 36% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 61% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 6.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 Saltash Bells
Lowest review score: 20 Moon Landing
Score distribution:
1576 music reviews
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Here, we have Hadreas’s desire to transcend his body and self--the no shape of the title--and glorious, inventive, shape-shifting music to match.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The results are almost always convincing.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It is deliriously easy to listen to, while hooking the mind, and never once taking the easy path through period pastiche.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Stith creates musical friction in a way that’s brilliantly compelling, and there are passages of calm here too. Summer Madness, in particular, shimmers with impressionistic beauty.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Sub-zero synths and crashing drums resound through this fine second album, while the powerful, tremulous voice of frontwoman Katie Stelmanis instils even minor sentiments with a sense of operatic foreboding.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Throughout, Nao balances some very aerated sulking about unsatisfactory relationships with defiantly old-school touches. You can hear everyone from Janet Jackson to Aaliyah in this confident artist’s deceptively dreamy tones.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Throughout, he remains the master of bluesy honky-tonking and surprising modulations that he always has been.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The backings are polished modern country, but Presley’s vocal and lyrical touch are exceptional on an impressive state-of-the-nation album.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    If the concept might seem a bit Brexit, the execution is flawless and winningly witty.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Peppered throughout with snippets of audio from old home videos, Nothing’s Real feels like a properly curated album, and one of the year’s best.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    You have to assume Bowie is tackling myriad theatrical voices as Blackstar throws up one unsettling scenario after another, with little obvious connection other than unease and the outrageously good soundtrack in which they are set--weighty with percussion and genre fusions, saturated with instruments, bleak, and unexpectedly, towards the end, resolved.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Carry On sticks to familiar virtues; Mason's gravelly tones are set to rootsy guitars and Carey exercises a light touch.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Still the most electrifying acoustic act around.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Sugar for the Pill is desolate in its gorgeousness, and Star Roving sounds anthemic, victorious, as it should.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The more he works dissonant elements into these songs, the more thrillingly unbalanced they feel.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Generally, these songs set out to strip away some of the artistry and leave Bird more exposed, and as the heart-swelling sentiments of the closing song Bellevue show, it suits him well.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Thanks to a propensity for insurrectionary non sequiturs that are big on abstract nouns but shakier on sense. But this is still their most exhilarating album since 2000's superlative Xtrmntr.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    At its best this is the sound of a band rediscovering what made them so special in the first place.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This high-speed collision of apparent opposites works surprisingly well. Their second album is a relentless blur of ideas and rule-breaking.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    With Lyme disease in abeyance, these 13 new songs fizz and rage with a mixture of girl-group sass (key track: Rather Not) and surf-garage buzz.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It’s Red Kite’s little touches (the sighs on The Mutineer; the nods to modernity on I Close My Eyes) that ensure it lingers in the memory.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Highlights abound, but a thrilling Aerial and a sumptuous Top of the City deserve particular acclaim.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    There’s only one misstep: the slower Candles turns into a dispiriting trudge. Otherwise, The Far Field is another accomplished, engaging set.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A pastoral, wistful brand of psychedelia holds sway throughout this absorbing record.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Well-delivered and exhilaratingly fun.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Not all of 4everevolution shines--tracks such as "First Growth" feel like Manuva by numbers--but there are some gems here, and it's good to hear the veteran south London rapper adapting his gruff tones to such a wide variety of material.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Pleasingly, following a hit-and-miss attempt to incorporate more whimsical strains of psychedelia into their sound on 2013’s Indigo Meadow, their fifth album marks a return to the threatening drones that made their first two so powerful.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A welcome time warp.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Short Movie’s best songs are all about Marling’s ongoing voyage of self-discovery; an indulgence we not only permit musicians, but pay them for, on the condition we can listen in and pick up tips. There are plenty of those here.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Each song is presented as a character sketch, and while the stories are impressionistic, often opaque, they feel richly textured: they live and breathe.