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Payola Image
Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critic Reviews What's this?

User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 16 Ratings

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  • Summary: The punk band led by Conor Oberst returns from a 13-year hiatus for its second full-length release that was co-produced by Mike Mogis.
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Top Track

Von Maur Massacre
Tearing all the posters off the wall Never leave my bedroom but I'm going to the mall This world is full of liars and it's Christmastime To pay for... See the rest of the song lyrics
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. Jun 25, 2015
    88
    Though its 14 tracks were recorded sporadically across something like three years with co-producer Mike Mogis, you’d be hard-pressed to hear a lack of momentum or consistency.
  2. Jun 22, 2015
    80
    Politically charged punk rock can be an exhausting and overtly self-righteous affair in the wrong hands, but Oberst and company temper their outrage with unadulterated melodic might, resulting in that rare protest album that rewards both the condemners and the condemned.
  3. Jun 30, 2015
    80
    [A] terrific LP, which depicts a sickness at the heart of America with a confident swagger and righteous anger.
  4. Jun 22, 2015
    76
    Payola is fast and furious, but carefully engineered for maximum, straight-ahead velocity.
  5. Jun 24, 2015
    70
    Payola picks off right where their last one left off while completely ignoring that the past decade even happened, which sounds like a harder feat then it might appear.
  6. 70
    It could be all tongue in cheek--and some of it probably is--but in the end, this isn’t an Occupy rally, it’s a rock album. And it’s not a shabby one at that.
  7. Jun 25, 2015
    55
    Payola could have been a richer experience compressed into an EP, a subversive power pop that could incandesce the psyches of America's mall-going teens. But even at 44 minutes, it feels overlong, its energy too diffuse for the intended impact.

See all 24 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Jul 16, 2015
    10
    I think this is a landmark album. People have chimed in and maybe they are listening to something I am not that it's not huge. Make noI think this is a landmark album. People have chimed in and maybe they are listening to something I am not that it's not huge. Make no mistake, this is the best rock album since Nirvana Never Mind, easily. This sound is big, and I don't need to break it into stupid critic pieces. I loved them earlier and this is better. Punk rock, turned on its ear, which is hard to do, but forget critic, crap. Let it take you. Not since Jack White, has someone reinvented rock, while tapping into the past at the same time. Really this is not just great, it may be the best thing that's been released in 2000s, Expand
  2. Jan 23, 2019
    9
    Somehow this album feels even more necessary in 2019 than it did in 2015. Usually protest rock doesn't age well. This did the exact oppositeSomehow this album feels even more necessary in 2019 than it did in 2015. Usually protest rock doesn't age well. This did the exact opposite in the age of Trump and corruption. Expand
  3. Jun 24, 2015
    9
    Brilliant album! I loved Read Music Speak Spanish and this is as good if not better. Energy, passion, angst, just fantastic. It's a shame thatBrilliant album! I loved Read Music Speak Spanish and this is as good if not better. Energy, passion, angst, just fantastic. It's a shame that more people aren't aware of the brilliance of Desaparecidos. Expand