The Observer (UK)'s Scores

  • Music
For 819 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 8.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 Beautiful Africa
Lowest review score: 20 Famous First Words
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 12 out of 819
819 music reviews
    • 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    These songs respond beautifully to the pathos and drama of their subject, summoning a mood with subtle musical shifts but knowing when to deploy the grand gesture.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This third solo album is her most accessible yet.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Impossible not to like.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    LP1
    Even if the sex-angst of millennials is not your thing, FKA Twigs can still satisfy, and that is why LP1 (the title oozes confidence) is so special.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A hushed, thoughtful collection.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Despite a promisingly funky EP last autumn, it's still a welcome surprise to hear them sounding fresh and invigorated on their seventh album.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It often feels more like a particularly ambitious performance art project than a collection of songs. But persevere and you'll be well rewarded.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Rustie's hyper-enjoyable second album derives its title and some odd peacefulness from an unlikely source: birdsong, aka the green language, which was to medieval mystics the perfect mode of expression.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Tough, visceral stuff.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    You get the feeling that Goat could just keep this sinuous groove going forever.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    At 20 tracks and 71 minutes, it’s perhaps a little long, but until the next Wilco album comes along, this will do just fine.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    At times, the whirl of ideas threatens to spin out of control, but more often, as on CIRCLONT6A, they cohere thrillingly. A welcome return.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It’s not quite a masterpiece--the dancefloor gets too short shrift--but it ably brings some fiercely non-linear soul music to deserved mainstream attention.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Mostly, Popular Problems presents Cohen’s wry, wracked recitations against almost ascetic backings overseen by Patrick Leonard, famed for his work with Madonna.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The fine line between euphoria and melancholy is negotiated brilliantly on tracks such as Can’t Do Without You.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This is a far better album than you’d dare hope from the latterday Prince; Breakdown is a heavy, plangent ballad, while The Gold Standard just sounds like he’s partying like it’s 1999 all over again.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Both comforting and discomfiting, The Best Day recalls prime Youth, when their tense experimental attitude dovetailed with often sour but instantly accessible pop melodies.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The resulting album is rich in imagination, and--at times, most notably on Bull and Brando--surprisingly accessible
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It isn’t quite as good as 1979’s extraordinary Broken English, but the likes of Falling Back and Sparrows Will Sing are the equal of anything she’s done since.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The result is a minor country-soul gem, full of lovely and deeply atmospheric instrumentation gilding Ford’s alluring vocals.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Swift’s fifth record is a bold, gossipy confection that plays to her strengths--strengths which pretty much define modern pop, with its obsession with the private lives of celebrities and its premium on heightened emotion.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Lewis remains a defiantly ornery presence, and the stellar cast here--Neil Young, Robbie Robertson, Doyle Bramhall II--are kept firmly in harness to his still muscular vocals and stridentbarrelhouse piano.
    • 99 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Amid the homespun (often leaden) renditions of Hank Williams, Ian & Sylvia et al is a clutch of nuggets, among them the bluesy Silent Weekend and the country moan Wild Wolf. A still mysterious, wondrous chapter in Dylanology.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Few of Songs’ 11 tracks disappoint, their stop-start synths and impossibly fragile vocals hinting at new avenues for introverted soul.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It is fractured, offbeat, at times grating, yet contains some of the most achingly beautiful music recorded this year.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Xen
    It’s one of those albums that elegantly restates the appeal of digital music, expressing hues and states of being that fall outside the analogue spectrum.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    By and large it’s an understated affair but unmistakably the Floyd, divided into four sides (and available on double vinyl), each with a different mood from the next. It also packs a great deal into 53 minutes--not least because some of the tracks are barely more than a minute and a half long. Nothing is dragged out.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Banks immerses herself in 90s nostalgia, spitting darkly and sharply over tracks full of elements of UK garage, deep house and trap (an aggressive strain of hip-hop).
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Blige’s co-writers, including UK-to-US success stories Disclosure, Emeli Sandé and Sam Smith, find striking ways to frame Blige’s voice without distracting from its richness and emotional range.