Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 1,577 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 higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 73
Highest review score: 100 Rated R
Lowest review score: 25 Paralytic Stalks
Score distribution:
1577 music reviews
    • 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.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    “Rough and Rowdy Ways” rolls out one marvel after another, with killer playing from the singer’s road band.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The result is hardly dry or academic: The palpable anger coursing through tracks like “Yankee and the Brave” and “JU$T” — the latter featuring Pharrell Williams and Rage Against the Machine’s Zack de la Rocha — feels as cleansing as an acid bath. And fury isn’t the only sensation the group articulates on its most emotionally complex album so far.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Moses Sumney and Mike Hadreas have made the albums of our strange quarantine season — bleak but tender, sprawling yet intricately detailed, as suffused with the need for physical contact as they are alert to its dangers and prohibitions. ... Stunning art-soul record. ... Yet as busy as the music can occasionally feel, both albums keep close track of the singers’ voices, which always merit the attention.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Moses Sumney and Mike Hadreas have made the albums of our strange quarantine season — bleak but tender, sprawling yet intricately detailed, as suffused with the need for physical contact as they are alert to its dangers and prohibitions. ... Stunning art-soul record. ... Yet as busy as the music can occasionally feel, both albums keep close track of the singers’ voices, which always merit the attention.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The result of Apple’s self-imposed social distancing is the stunning intimacy of the material here — a rich text to scour in quarantine. Her idiosyncratic song structures, full of sudden stops and lurching tempo changes, adhere to logic only she could explain, which forces you to listen as attentively as though a dear friend were bending your ear.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    There’s something oddly reassuring about these songs — not just “12.38,” a laidback R&B slow jam about a drug-addled sexual encounter, or the sweetly romantic “24.19,” but all 12 of them, even those in which Glover sounds close to overwhelmed by his many misgivings.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The album is also a fantastic summary of BTS’ accomplishments so far, and charts a path forward in a tumultuous but exciting new era for K-pop. It’s an album about being in a band, about the relationships that form and get tested in the crucible of insane fame, all set to some of the most genre-invigorating music of their career.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Very chill — and often very pretty.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    As on her earlier records, Halsey can feel like something of a phantom on “Manic,” even when her writing is as vivid as it is in “Graveyard,” which deploys an appealingly creepy metaphor about following a lover way too deep. But her singing, with its pleading tone and its slightly raspy edges, is growing more expressive.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    There’s also an infectious spirit of adventure to the album’s arrangements that brings you over to Gomez’s side.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    And musically, at least, that journey paid off. ... Martin can be awfully simplistic in these songs — a problem in any context but especially on an album otherwise marked by some of his most nuanced words.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    As with the free-jazz innovators of the 1960s, Sweatshirt continually pushes against the notion that rap music requires any formulas at all.