Village Voice's Scores

For 764 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 47% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 50% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 4.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 68
Highest review score: 100 The Naked Truth
Lowest review score: 10 God Says No
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 48 out of 764
764 music reviews
    • 97 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Whatever it was supposed to achieve originally, right now SMiLE sounds like a beautifully modulated, funny, sometimes unintentional meditation on a failed United States and counterculture, and the lost paradise, real or imagined, of Southern California, and the collapse and reinvention of the male ego.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Less rehearsal, less production, and fewer layers of sound let Loretta's Lorettaness shine through.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    When talking about an album as multilayered, thematically diverse, and sonically rich as OutKast's Stankonia, though, the best thing is to boil it down to its essentials, its influences, its approaches. You know, the uppercase conceptual stuff. This album, the acclaimed Atlanta duo's fourth and best, contains so many hummable hooks, so many snap-your-head beats, so many break-'em-out-and-talk-about-'em metaphors, that it's easy to get lost in the sauce.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Kanye is rapping and singing better and with more tenacity than he ever has on Fantasy, but also less often, wisely allowing others to speak for him-every single guest artist on this album senses the moment and rises to the occasion.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    An outlandishly imaginative collaboration.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The voice you hear on "Love and Theft" is not that of the cocky young rock star who wrecked folk by simply strapping on an electric guitar, nor is it the vengeful and crotchety man who dripped Blood on the Tracks. This Dylan is older, wiser, and grousier, but sweeter, more sanguine if still unsettled too.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This is nightmare music--a blue-collar purgatory made of American mythology and populated by its grotesques.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    When Dizzee thinks very deeply--worrying about growing up, about those around him who won't grow up, about dying before he grows up--he sounds like, what else can we call it, the real thing.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The second side is the dullest sequence they've put together since tracks five through 11 on their debut.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Where Dre twists Prince remnants to his own astroboyish amorous ends, Big Boi holds up OutKast's P-Funk revival tent.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    What hasn't gone away is Skinner's ability to put you right there, in the middle of the action, and that goes for his production as well as his lyrics.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    It's got a few clunkers and slow spots, and, especially given the depressive tempos Johnson's so fond of, it's inadvisable to ingest in one sitting. But surprisingly Guitar is packed at least as solid as his last set, and it's less conventional to boot.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    If you like one Strokes song, you'll like their whole album.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Original Pirate Material is England's first great hip-hop record mostly because it isn't a hip-hop record. It's hard to say exactly what it is.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Funeral is a remarkable record, hard to hear at first, then hard to stop hearing.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The resulting, mercifully final product is, as you might have suspected all along, fantastic, by turns triumphant, defiant, and gleefully crass.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    While the percussion-free 'Endorphin' and 'Dog Shelter' paint haunting pictures of isolation and heartache, a warm and generous humanity runs just beneath the surface. It's this quality that lends the propulsive woodblock throb of the closing 'Raver' its muted euphoria.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Sensitive ones will fall in love instantly; Fat Beats futurists might wait for the Jay Dee remix due later this year.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Album number five dwarfs its predecessors because the members have started treating this group as the sun around which their musical projects must inevitably revolve, and the home to which they must return.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    MPP is filled with enough new achievements that it's a waste of space to lament the past. It's a rhythm record with an atmosphere.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Make no mistake: Hell Hath No Fury is a major event.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    What really strikes you about its 17 tracks (only two failed to make the final cut due to sample- and guest-artist-clearance issues) is Saigon's sincerity.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Underneath all the scuzz and spasm, though, they're a groove band, hustling a hard-edged experimentalism you don't have to work hard to enjoy.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Like a great romance, it's consistently lovable even when stupid or frustrating, and its best moments are absolutely breathtaking.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    It embraces rock guitar again with the same gulping pleasure with which Harvey is for once embracing her man.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The stupendous Destroyer's Rubies, recorded with a full, swaggering band, is maybe his best and certainly his least theoretical album.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Vespertine is an album for small curtained establishments, for taking your "little ghetto blaster" onto back streets, for intimate and precious occasions.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Previous albums have never quite captured those onstage moments when the power they generate seems to catch them unawares, but on The Woods you can hear not only the deliberation in Weiss's eyes as she ponders the exact placement of beat and crash, or Brownstein's bedroom-mirror rock-star poses, but also the stunned grin Tucker can never contain after emitting her most gravity-defiant shrieks.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The arrangements, referencing indie-rock more than participating in it, pile on heft to the small-life tragedies: Matt Brown's sax toughens up Spoon's welterweight ranking, while [Eggo] Johanson's piano gives it roots, rag, and bonus rhythm.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Ghost's Fishscale is the most creative album to come out of New York hiphop since his own 2000 Supreme Clientele.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Not for a moment does the violence seem vindictive, sadistic, or pleasurable. It's a fact of life to be triumphed over, with beats and tunelets stolen or remembered or willed into existence.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    While none of Bon Iver's background notes scream "new"--dissolved love affair, check; band breaks up (Vernon's freak-jug outfit, DeYarmond Edison), check--the chilling, rusty grandeur of For Emma will stop you in your snow tracks, however little it snows around here.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Where Unwound's songs have usually been jagged or drained, Leaves Turn Inside You remains level for two discs (almost 80 minutes), making it one of the darkest, most placid hard rock records since Soundgarden's Superunknown.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    West's witty, self-produced solo debut, College Dropout, frolics in this space between should and can, between playful hyper-awareness and young, willful naïvete.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    You also come away wondering why Ribot isn't as widely celebrated as Frisell. Don't tell me contemporary jazz has room for only one high-plains drifter.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Darker, more personal than political, Decoration Day rocks easier and rolls harder than Southern Rock Opera, but nevertheless proves beyond a doubt that the DBT engine's got enough horsepower to keep on.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A brash, dazzling dispatch from a parallel universe.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! should prove an exhilarating listen for most fans of Cave's oeuvre. It has a lot of the rawness and jagged edges of a classic Bad Seeds album, hopped up with off-kilter beats and loads of loops contributed by violinist Warren Ellis.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Although this could get tired eventually, the Truckers haven't run out of stories yet, and their acute awareness of themselves and their forebears suggests they'll know when to say when.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Though Alison Krauss and Robert Plant make strange bedfellows indeed, the result is an engrossing, powerfully evocative collection.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Frantic and rhythmic Scotpop with many echoes of so-'90s Blur in the sardonic jabs at middle-class bromides.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    There are growing pains here, there's doubt and sadness and confusion. And there's fear.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is basically a good album, even a great album if you're in the mood, though if you listen to a lot of hip-hop (or house music or basement bhangra or any other genre not dominated by white people), it probably won't be the most extraordinary album you'll hear all month.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Phrenology reveals pulsating growth--a surprising bump on our skulls that some didn't feel before, while others banged their grapes wishing for it.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    It's profoundly self-serious, expertly workmanlike, occasionally transcendent, but lacking that childlike volatility, that glorious willingness to look and sound ridiculous. It's rare that so much nonetheless leaves you wanting more.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    His beliefs take periodic diva turns, but Seven Swans is still far more preoccupied with the banjo than God: Stevens's tenderly picked chords fly higher than any golden harp, and his delicate, lapping vocals lovingly complement all that tinny stroking.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    this time, she has found a middle ground therein, an appropriately murky backdrop as she channels another of her early inspirations: Bob Dylan. Like vintage Bob, Shake pores over history's indignities with a fine-toothed comb.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The rhythms have grown more techy and layered, wilding with drill-happy 16ths (on "Busy Signal," he and L.A.'s like-minded Daedalus cut up a human beatbox then go machine-gunning with piano notes), or throbbing and crackling out of an electronic ether (the radio-transmission lurch of "Detchibe") as though he's been studying glitchy Europeans.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Garbus's engagement is loud and hard to ignore. That she engages without despair is the part I find most admirable of all.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Vernon seems torn between selling his lyrics and using his voice as just another emotional cue in the thick mix. But if you're looking for an album to get lost in, who knew a guy previously feted for stripped-down "realness" would provide the year's best?
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The party holds strong into the second half, where the comedown always muddles the songwriting a little. Surprise: Antony's dramatic ululations return to rescue the trawling sonics.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Her appeal is questionable when she tries to sound like an American rapper, but on tracks where she just sings--the immaculate junk symphony of 'Be Mine,' the excellently Japanese 'Bum Like You,' the Autobahn power-ballad 'With Every Heartbeat'--she gives Europop a swift Swedish energy and presence.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    SFA uses 21st-century tools to achieve pop timelessness.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Beautifully Human isn't quite the conceptual masterpiece it strives to be: Too often, the music falls short of Scott's lyrical brilliance.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Most of Gelb's seven new songs hold their own with four primo re-rolls.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    LCD Soundsystem shares some of Slanted & Enchanted's sloppy-but-right brio, but where Pavement used their album to expand, LCD's first disc... sounds like a contraction, each song its own discrete postcard from a field trip rather than a canvas on which to mesh multiple ideas.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Newman is a master of sardonic humor, be it subtle or slapstick. Harps and Angels is further proof.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Despite its rock-star cast, The Wind doesn't match the energy or the wit of Zevon's previous Artemis releases.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    There are chakra-smacking pleasures here that could only have come from an artist of Cee-Lo's expansiveness.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's a true testament to the band that its windswept glory-rock stays exhilarating for nearly 80 minutes.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Rook is great, with an emotional clarity and narrative acuity that makes it one of the year's most rewarding listens.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Many of the lyrics on Party Music amount to no more than slogans, maxims, opinions.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    A handsome channel 13 complimentary tote bag of an album that polishes his image as the fantasy rebellious son who hangs at socialist bookstores and swipes your Gram Parsons records.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The good news for people who love bad news is that Portishead have gotten better, too.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Each of these songs offers more exquisite details than I could earmark in twice this space, many of them literary, which the English prof's dropout son rightly claims as his calling. But secret brilliance is more likely to emerge from the sops to his hip-hop base.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Though the result doesn't quite reach the rarefied heights of 2005's Separation Sunday or the following year's nearly equally great follow-up, Boys and Girls in America, it fits nicely alongside LCD Soundsystem's "Sound of Silver" and the National's "Boxer" as a poignant example of veteran artists maturing gracefully, capturing that feeling you get just after the peak, when you've started noticing the decline but haven't figured out what to do about it yet.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's chaotic, but extremely beautiful and endlessly fascinating.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Mezmerize should be enough to keep A.D.D.-ers occupied for six months.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    At least it captures the fuzzy-math sound from too many gray-area indie bands--and it rocks hard where geezers like Mercury Rev just drift away.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    McLennan's guitar enlivens even Forster's sketchier contributions ("Mountains Near Dellray" is a complete enigma); his own writing is harder to get behind.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    What makes Real New real good is that it's got more of the really good shit.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The Lips may have been inspired by the easy-listening craze, but the seeker's quality within their music tugs against that style's instinctive cheapening of sentiment.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Defiantly eclectic.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's not stretching to suggest that they've complicated house music's ease so effectively that Kish Kash often resembles, well, postpunk.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A conceptual wonder.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    One Beat is ruthless with SuperGlue riffs that reach back a decade or more, from the Go-Gos pogo of "Oh!" to the stuttering Cure guitars of "The Remainder" to the Buzzcocks toolings of "Hollywood Ending."
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Scarface remains trapped in the four-cornered room of his mind, but he seems to have found a measure of peace in solitude, turning out quietly masterful albums like this one, and letting time turn him into a weathered monument.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Guitarist Nick Zinner's greatest advantage over his contemporaries is his complete lack of an attention span.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    He's the smartest guy in the room and bent on walking into rooms where nobody wants to listen to him [...] These are the juxtapositions that make Kaputt-and all of Bejar's music-smart and worthwhile.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    And while Holmes can't be faulted for applying cut-and-paste to mood and drama as well as sounds and beats, his tracks' lack of freshness still adds up to an ambitious letdown.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The trick to their aural freak-out is not too different from those in the past; it hides in the arcane black box manned by Noel Harmonson. The echoplex, with its Möbius strip of tape loop, warps the guitars and yowls like parallel sheets of Mylar and sheets of acid, focusing the entire band into ray-gun pulses that match the pounding of Utrillo Belcher.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A perfect blend of sacred and secular--exactly what Moby's been looking for all along.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Where 2001's Vespertine was erotic, Medulla is reflexive and awestruck.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Had little, lyric-less Out Hud arrived in 1993, their recombinant shoogity-oogity would have eliminated the need for a Tortoise, and I never would've had to pretend Iannis Xenakis was "interesting" or take that junket to Nobukazu Takamura's ostrich farm.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Her magnetism radiates as powerfully as ever.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    MoB trounce obsolescence because their typical peak moment is a flash of hard truth about a situation, a bolt of clarity about action to be taken.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    She emerges with her genius for genre-bending intact.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, the group's sixth album, boasts an instrument roll call that might look swollen - trumpet, Chamberlin, cello, koto, flamenco guitar - but Spoon wear it well.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The title track and "Waltz" bookend Extraordinary Machine. Both excel, set to Brion's signature command of crisp, idiomatic, Van Dyke Parks-influenced Hollywood symphonics. But the Elizondo-Kehew tracks top them.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    "Hip-hop soul" is supposed to be for r&b singers, but Ghostface's latest redefines the term.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The lyrics are often corny and thin.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    A magnum opus four years in the making, We Love Life is, like This Is Hardcore's epic cold sweat, a disco-nnection record, well stocked with mis-shapes, mistakes, misfits. But Pulp's glamorama has never tingled so invitingly, thanks to the full-body massage administered by producer Scott Walker.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Godspeed's records will either blow your head off or leave you shrugging, depending on where your personal quest for freedom is taking you.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The more involved the songs get, the more ethereal they end up, and not always to the good.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    No doubt about it, from first note to last, Mar Dulce (loose translation: "the Sweet Sea") is a most tasty dive.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    All in all, expertly wobbling prog metal, constructed out of as few chords as possible.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The band's newfound willingness to experiment leads to overkill.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    He's an intuitive r&b stylist, with a firm sense of song structure (he's written for Justin Bieber and Beyoncé) and a conversational talk-singing voice that is as indebted to Justin Timberlake and Pharrell as it is to R. Kelly.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The clever (and accurate) branding that associated the warm, metallic grids of those thumb pianos (or likembes) with repetitive electronic music. On that front, 7th Moon doesn't disappoint a bit.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    As for that perpetual hip-hop debate as to whether an MC is better served by his beats or his words, the Chicago rapper is deft enough in both arenas that you could carry these lyrics around in your head for days... while message boards light up with claims that hip-hop's first truly great instrumental album lies embedded somewhere in all this.