Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 1,589 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 62% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 35% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 0 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 73
Highest review score: 100 Chemtrails Over the Country Club
Lowest review score: 25 Based on a T.R.U. Story
Score distribution:
1589 music reviews
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Wild and ravishing “Renaissance,” which came out Friday and immediately reshaped the conversation about 2022’s most important music. ... “Renaissance” is miles ahead of the competition. ... It’s like a carefully curated library, this whole thing, with an astonishing depth of knowledge regarding rhythm and harmony that puts Beyoncé as an arranger and bandleader on a level with Prince and Stevie Wonder.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The desperation with which he details his inability to healthily navigate being a famous person — the amazing lack of vanity in his language — sets him apart from pop’s other rich-and-sad types. ... Malone’s melodies are maybe a bit less sticky than on “Hollywood’s Bleeding,” though hooks still abound, as do snappy guest spots from Roddy Ricch, Gunna and the Weeknd.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    His lyrical approach has actually grown more idiosyncratic. It could be hard to glean much of a sense of Styles’ inner life from his early stuff, but these songs are rich with vivid and intimate details.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    “Motomami” practically throbs with the freedom of someone flush with creative capital; its stylistic sprawl shares something with Beyoncé’s “Lemonade,” while the album’s mix of harsh noise and sculpted pop melody can recall the music M.I.A. made after “Paper Planes” became a left-field hit in the late 2000s.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Exquisitely rendered tunes lush with echoes of Michael Jackson and Depeche Mode. ... The songs boogie and shimmer just so; the melodies ache with longing and regret. And these vocals! Over forget-me-not grooves as finely detailed as any Mtume or Patrice Rushen fan could want, the Weeknd sings more beautifully than he ever has on “Dawn FM.” ... The year’s first great album.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    30
    “30” offers deep thoughts on love’s causes and consequences. ... Adele’s singing — soaring yet pulpy, gorgeous even at its rawest (as in “To Be Loved”) — gives these musings the blood-and-guts believability her fans crave. There’s some of the brainy energy of Joni Mitchell’s “Blue” here, though it’s filtered through the homey wisdom of Carole King’s “Tapestry.” ... Until people stop breaking one another’s hearts, we’ll keep needing ugly-cry ballads — and nobody does those better than Adele.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    “Spheres” is in reality no more — or less! — on the nose than Coldplay’s earlier albums.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    “Star-Crossed” is actually a less emotional experience than the blissed-out “Golden Hour,” which practically vibrated with feeling. ... Musgraves’ writing on “Star-Crossed” is squishier and more prone to cliché than on “Golden Hour” or her earlier albums.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    With 21 tracks over 86 minutes somehow still feels tight next to the interminable “Donda” — is an enjoyment even at its bleakest. ... Even minus this get-out-of-jail-free stuff, “Certified Lover Boy” is so sharply composed and performed as to be largely irresistible.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    The album feels slapdash — a messy collection of stray thoughts about his mother, about divorce, about God, about the bipolar disorder he’s referred to as his superpower. ... The stylistic range is impressive but exhausting in a way distinct from 2016’s “The Life of Pablo”; this album lacks a sense of momentum to push you from the arena-rock guitar squall of “Jail” to the throbbing club beat of “God Breathed” to the dense choral vocals of “24,” which means nothing builds on anything else. West’s rapping is similarly scattershot.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    [A] curiously low-key album ... These are weird, spare, twisty-turny psych-folk tunes, many of them without the propulsive beats that used to drive Lorde’s music; most of the time, she’s simply layering her fluttering, slightly raspy vocals over Antonoff’s noodly electric guitar in a way that recalls Nico’s 1967 cult classic “Chelsea Girl,” of all things.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    “Your Power” is the slowest-and-lowest moment on “Happier Than Ever,” but as a whole the album is softer, quieter, more languid than Eilish’s trap-inflected debut. ... The dreamy-jazzy mode suits her singing, which has never sounded better than it does throughout “Happier Than Ever.”
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    From its picture-perfect album cover on down, though, “Sob Rock” — Mayer’s eighth studio LP and his follow-up to 2017’s “The Search for Everything” — is so crisply rendered that it achieves an almost art-project-like quality that transcends those emotional and commercial circumstances.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Gripping. ... The evolution on display on “Call Me If You Get Lost” is more elemental; he’s rethinking what kinds of stories he wants to use his music to tell and how much of himself his success obliges him to reveal.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    “Exodus” has a distinctly grown-up quality, with thoughts of nostalgia and fatherhood. ... DMX sounds remarkably driven on “Exodus” — a man with life, not death, heavy on his mind.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The referents are hipper than with previous Disney stars looking to break out of the Mouse House, and the language is coarser with F-bombs dropping every few tunes. There’s nothing offhand about these songs, though; each has been worked to a kind of exquisitely scuffed polish that suits the album’s hall-of-mirrors vibe.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The most significant change is in Swift’s singing voice, a once-brittle instrument that of course has gotten deeper, huskier and more flexible since the late ’00s. But she only really takes advantage of that shift a couple of times. ... As for the lightweight bonus material, which she cut in the studio with her “Folklore” and “Evermore” collaborators Aaron Dessner and Jack Antonoff, none of it argues that it deserved a place on “Fearless,” though “Mr. Perfectly Fine” comes close.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    With 16 tracks in a wide variety of styles and moods, Bieber’s centerless sixth studio album is noisy and grab-baggy in a way that once was typical for him (and other major pop acts) yet now registers as shallow and unsatisfying.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    What’s inarguable is that she’s become one of the finest songwriters of her generation, with a lyrical and melodic flair that encourages an emotional investment in her music well beyond whatever it reflects of her real life. On “Chemtrails,” her singing reaches a new peak as well. ... But if the sound is familiar — think of the very sweet spot triangulated by Sandy Denny, k.d. lang and the Velvet Underground’s self-titled third album — the scenarios can still flatten you, as in the gorgeous “Wanderlust.”
    • 85 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    “Evermore,” in a first for Swift, simply repeats its predecessor’s trick, which means the new album’s tunes must stand on their own. And not all of them are up to the standard she set on “Folklore.” There are some incredible songs here. ... Yet too many of the remaining songs on “Evermore” feel like leftovers from “Folklore.” with recycled vocal cadences and melodic phrases or lyrical scenarios that seem unfinished. ... For most pop stars, that might be enough. Not for Swift.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    BE
    A tidy eight tracks defined by restraint and intention. ... The back half of the record parts the clouds for some of the band’s more refined, savvy and uplifting pop yet.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    AC/DC’s legendary stylistic consistency is on display across these 12 tracks. ... But with a group as locked on a signature sound as this one, the quality of the individual songs is paramount, and too many of those on “Power Up” — from the hookless “System Down” to the blandly bluesy “No Man’s Land” — are forgettable even after half a dozen spins.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    For someone so skilled at using social media to cultivate fans’ interest in her personal life, it’s striking — and more than a little moving — to hear her dreaming of seclusion. ... Though Grande’s subject matter shifts after “Shut Up,” the song’s Disney-like strings carry through the rest of “Positions,” which is brighter and sprightlier than the comparatively bleary “Thank U, Next.” ... Prudes can take comfort in the fact that Grande’s sexual liberation hasn’t come at the expense of her winningly earnest theater-kid eccentricities.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    There are tunes here, including “Ghosts” and “Burnin’ Train,” that feel more spirited than anything Springsteen has done in years, with a touch of the careening intensity that made him and E Street a legendary live act. ... The tunes on “Letter to You” get over thanks to the E Street Band, which drives the songs with purpose and provides a level of detail in the arrangements that keeps anything from getting too mopey.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    “Ice Cream,” the song with Gomez, is the most gratifyingly stylish track here. ... [The Album] plays like a transmission from a previous era. “Crazy Over You,” with its airy wind-instrument sample, rewinds even further to the hip-hop exotica of Timbaland’s late-’90s heyday. ... There’s something vaguely oppressive about “The Album.”
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    “Club Future Nostalgia” calls to mind “The Immaculate Collection”: Like that 1990 classic — a greatest-hits comp sliced and diced by Madonna and producer Shep Pettibone to resemble a killer club set — Lipa’s record uses carefully designed pop tunes as raw material for a breathless new creation.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The nostalgia in the production — a blend of crisp digital synth textures and ringing grooves drawn directly from '90s house music — further bolsters the shadowed euphoria of a song like "Sour Candy," in which Gaga is joined by the K-pop girl group Blackpink; "Sine from Above," featuring Elton John, gets a similar friction from the interplay between their voices.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Song for song, “Folklore” does not quite rise to the heady level of albums like “Red” (2012), “Reputation” (2017) and “Lover” (2019). There are no dance floor bangers, no irrefutable earworms, no songs likely to stampede to the upper reaches of the Hot 100. As a collection of songs, though, it stands alone in Swift’s discography. It’s her most album-y album, a creation of and for life in the summer of 2020, ideally experienced alone, late at night, in a single sitting, through noise-canceling headphones.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    “Gaslighter” turns out to be the Chicks’ most intensely personal effort yet, with song after song apparently inspired by Maines’ 2019 divorce.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    “Shoot for the Stars,” an ambitious but scattered expansion of Pop’s sound, is widely expected to top the charts by a long shot next week. But it can’t do much more than fill in the cracks of what his life and career should have been.