Rolling Stone's Scores

For 5,386 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 33% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 64% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 6.6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 The Beatles [White Album] [50th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition]
Lowest review score: 0 Scream
Score distribution:
5386 music reviews
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    On Getting Into Knives, Darnielle shows that the Mountain Goats’ toolkit is always expanding, and his tools are getting sharper all the same.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Coherence has never really been a hallmark of the Gorillaz aesthetic anyway, but this set of songs isn’t a mess, either; several moments offer interesting cross-generational riffs on U.K. music history. ... As always, Albarn’s ability to create dubby, drifting synthetic beauty — a kind of futurist pastoralism — remains a key ingredient to his music’s distracted wonder.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    At its best, Fake It Flowers is right up there with the first Veruca Salt record or That Dog’s Totally Crushed Out in its ability to fuse pensive elation, sugary guitar charge, and sweet pop melodies.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    In the years since Petty released his 1994 classic album, he slowly revealed, on-stage and in interviews, more about the darkly personal inspirations for the record, this retrospective box does the same for the sprawling, bursting creative process that went into making Wildflowers. It’s the definitive artistic statement that newly illuminates one of the most fruitful, inspired periods of the American legend’s career.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The result is a set of forlorn ballads that start spare and gather beauty as they grow.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Springsteen sounds at peace. Although the LP doesn’t sport the same youthful urgency as the recordings he cut in the Seventies and Eighties — there’s no “Badlands” or “Cover Me” here — you can hear how the anger and depression of his tougher times and his many split personalities delivered him to stability, and the most fascinating parts of Letter to You are when he comes out of the shadows to admit that he realizes it, too.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The record’s only failing is Weiner’s instinct for maximalism. Many of Private Lives’ 17 tracks are one- or two-minute segues that don’t sound so much like intervals as undercooked songs; it’s like songs that Low Cut Connie could have developed but just felt they had to release to fill two albums. But these are easily skippable, and there’s enough top-shelf Connie here that a few speed bumps don’t slow it down too much.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The most interesting stuff here is in the Blackberry Way Demos, some of which came out on a previous expanded edition of the album. ... Even the collection’s rough mixes — usually the most over larded part of a box set — offer new insights.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    While SM1 was ineffable and mystic, Savage Mode II spells out its influences and its place in the canon of Southern rap.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    On Tickets To My Downfall he tries a new gambit that works surprisingly well, switching to late-Nineties/early-2000s pop punk, with Blink 182’s Travis Barker producing and playing drums. Trashily lachrymose and full of easily digestible angst.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    If there’s one downside to the album, it’s that it’s too short. At just eight tracks, the high has barely kicked in before the party is over, and The Album leaves you wanting more: more grit, more experimentation, and yes, more than eight songs.
    • 100 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Sign ‘O’ the Times was an eclectic funk-pop-rock-R&B-gospel-novelty hodgepodge of songs about love, sex, and Jesus that sounds awful on paper — what great record this side of Little Richard could include the phrase “green eggs and ham,” as Prince deadpanned on “Housequake,” and still work? — yet it was a masterpiece. Its very lack of focus was its greatest strength. ... It’s impossible to trace his thought process, which makes it all the more exciting to find the diamonds he left in the vault.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The most heartening thing about this record isn’t the critical takes, it’s the guys bringing the noise.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    With the exception of “Wasted,” with its hard-rock guitar and raging solo, there’s a gentleness and a sweetness to The Waterfall II that is easy to get lost in.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Blue Hearts gushes more piss and vinegar than Stanley Kubrick could fill a hallway with, but what makes it jaw-dropping is the precision with which Mould has focused his ire on conservatives, evangelicals, homophobes, while leaving room for some self-criticism as well. ... Blue Hearts often feels like a lost Hüsker Dü album with Mould howling invective over his buzzsawing guitar.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    “Close My Eyes” feels a bit like Suicide pretending to be a power-pop band with its quivering keys and its catchy “In my mind I want to choose the right” chorus. The glitchy “Hard Times” balances Butler’s brooding with disco-house keyboards, and “Surrender” feels like a gospel call-and-response moment of ascendency. But it all comes crashing down on Generations’ final two offerings.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Pecknold has come up with a pleasing album about letting go and being thankful for what we’ve got, be it love in a time of quarantine or an old Silver Jews record.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Alicia is one of her most musically engaging LPs, with production from Mark Ronson, Sampha, Tricky Stewart, and her husband, Swizz Beatz, among other reliable hands. Alicia moves easily between moods and styles.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Hearing it reimagined 50 years later, the album’s themes — transcendence, renewal, breaking free of materialism — resonate even more than they did all those years ago.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    These overly literal ditties feel a little too simplistic. [Sep 2020, p.68]
    • Rolling Stone
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The 80s-loving Vegas crew delivers its strongest set of songs in years. [Sep 2020, p.68]
    • Rolling Stone
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Americana firebrand makes a grand rock & roll record worthy of her Bowie jumpsuits. [Sep 2020, 68]
    • Rolling Stone
    • 77 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    This batch of cadaverous Bowie-isms won't leave fang marks on your memory. [Sep 2020, p.68]
    • Rolling Stone
    • 80 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Doves amble as they surge, swirling in a middle distance between Radiohead and Coldplay. [Sep 2020, p.68]
    • Rolling Stone
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Goats Head Soup didn’t — and still doesn’t — sound like what one would have expected from the Stones after Exile. ... The alternate mixes of a few of its songs don’t add terribly much, but the same can’t be said of an instrumental jam on “Dancing with Mr. D,.” which lets you eavesdrop as the band locks into a groove and jams without Jagger. ... The Brussels Affair bristles.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The ska-reggae legend sounds stronger than ever on Got to Be Tough, his first album in more than a decade.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Giving both of these records some distance allows for the songs to have breathing room, and for Whole New Mess to stand on its own.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    With Energy, Disclosure continue the refined, radio-friendly takes on house, U.K. garage, and more that made them stars, but find plenty of room to expand into new territory.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    At its best, King’s Disease is a slick Illmatic redux, a fresh portrait of Nas’ now-mythical hustler years that expands his Queensbridge universe with new characters and anecdotes and finds him in vintage form as a rapper and storyteller. At its worst, it is a misguided attempt to paper over abuse allegations and a stark showcase of his increasingly questionable politics when it comes to women. 26 years after Illmatic, Nas still has room to grow.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    She stops trying to keep up with the Halseys and happily defaults to the fizzy bombast that is her stadium-size safety zone. [Aug 2020, p.72]
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    At its heart, Down in the Weeds is a wounded, hopeful take on the Los Angeles midlife-crisis record (he moved there a few years ago). It’s a topic well-suited for Oberst’s abstract cynicism, as he tackles crumbling SoCal interstates, Malibu beach disasters, and, of course, yoga.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The record flows, hitting knee-skinning highs like “Stuck in Your Head” (“I just wanted to pick up the tempo!” Bognanno sing-songs as the band counts off), barn-burners like “You” (about, it seems, an absent parent) and the hauntingly discordant “Hours and Hours.” Whatever the subject matter, whatever the tempo, each track finds Bognanno full-throated, wild and free.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Full of shiny seventies pop rock simulations, but you would be much better off putting on an old Todd Rundgren or Raspberries record. [Aug 2020, p.73]
    • Rolling Stone
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    It's kind of like a psychedelic Randy Newman. [Aug 2020, p.73]
    • Rolling Stone
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Modern electric blues as Prince and George Clinton would have it. [Aug 2020, p.73]
    • Rolling Stone
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Examines small-town origins, fatherhood, and matter of the heart with extra earnestness but few surprises. [Aug 2020, p.73]
    • Rolling Stone
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    All of the pieces in the box set complete a puzzle that explains how McCartney found himself again and hit the stride that has propelled him to the present day.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Although they indulge more textures this time, they don’t stray so far from Dogrel’s art-punk blueprint to the point of losing themselves. It’s just that the palette is wider and more pronounced. If anything, their chiming, noisy guitars and messy arrangements only fit their highfalutin aspirations even better.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    For all of its melancholy, Such Pretty Forks feels personal but never profound. [May 2020, p.89]
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    But the real surprise is the music itself — the most head-spinning, heart-breaking, emotionally ambitious songs of her life.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    Rossdale’s voice becomes a distraction when it overpowers the group’s wooshy guitar textures. But mostly Bush’s biggest sin is going back to the same well again and again hoping to find something new, something vital but coming up emptyhanded.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The 12 tracks on Gaslighter fall into easy, radio-friendly categories: empowerment anthem, cheeky ukulele kiss-off, minimalist protest song. Coupled with a long-overdue drop of the “Dixie” from their name, the arrangement dissolves most of the group’s lingering connections to their street-corner bluegrass origins.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The album shines brightest when Juice stops navel-gazing, when he tempers his fatalism with a sense of hope and togetherness, the yang to his depressive yin.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Their fifth album is pure misanthropic splendor. [Jul 2020, p.87]
    • Rolling Stone
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The New Wave greats haven't sounded this raw and real since the early Eighties. [Jul 2020, p.87]
    • Rolling Stone
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The highlights are when Nelson sings the songs of his old friends.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    As with Wainwright’s best works, it’s musical theater without the theater (remember, he once interpolated the theme from Phantom of the Opera on Release the Stars’ “Between My Legs”) and it comes with all of the good and bad that comes with stage drama.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Pop-punk trio deliver glittery hooks and raw feminine energy. [Jul 2020, p.87]
    • Rolling Stone
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The Houston retro perfectionists create great global grooves with multilingual narratives. [Jul 2020, p.87]
    • Rolling Stone
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    With Jump Rope Gazers, the Beths — Stokes, Pearce, bassist Benjamin Sinclair and drummer Tristan Deck — prove that despite a global pandemic, it’s still possible to have a good time. They might not be excited, but we sure are.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    For the most part, Years finds Anderson at his most convincing, and moving, since his hit-making heyday. It’s the type of record that should cast his entire discography in a new light, an inspired offering that shows a forgotten legend pulling off a new trick just as effectively as his old ones.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon, Pop’s 19-track posthumous debut album, marks a dramatic expansion—and dilution—of his signature sound. 808 Melo, who produced about two-thirds of Pop’s music to date, is less of a defining presence here.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Moody and inviting. [Jun 2020, p.71]
    • Rolling Stone
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The oft clunky Translation doubles down for a full-length that deserved EP treatment at best.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Teyana Taylor is a good singer, capable of shifting between a soft lilt on “Lowkey” and a strident punch on “We Got Love.” But she tends to sound like others, particularly Brandy. She hasn’t quite absorbed her influences into a vocal presence all her own.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Bigger Love, his seventh album, shows off the emerging subtlety of his musical craft and social messaging.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Decently fun results. [Jun 2020, p.71]
    • Rolling Stone
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The album is an immediate gem in their still-expanding catalog; it’s a resonant reflection on pain, depression, love and home that forsakes some of their big, drum-heavy pop leanings for a smoother, more inward experience.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Much of Lamb of God contains the sort of piledriving guitar riffs and Olympic-medal-worthy drumming the band has perfected over the last 20 years, making it easy for their less political fans to get in on the fun. That said, the group sounds best when they take musical risks.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    This is an album that proves something beautiful and enduring can come from even the most dire circumstances.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    On Rough and Rowdy Ways, Dylan is exploring terrain nobody else has reached before—yet he just keeps pushing on into the future.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Their second album is a multi-faceted R&B treat, full of glistening vocal chemistry, sharp writing, and a self-determination you want to get up and cheer for.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It plays out like the Instagram Live DJ sets and password-protected Zoom parties occurring nightly all over the world, something intimately comforting and oddly unifying when people so desperately need it.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Punisher is more sure of itself than its predecessor, thanks to Bridgers’ sharpened and studied songwriting. Her couplets, even more biting this time around, are either brutally self-directed (“I’m a bad liar/With a savior complex”) or just quietly dazzling.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Her lyrics are often uncomfortably revealing, as she peels apart her feelings about love, sex, sin, femininity, masculinity, Catholic guilt, and violence and how they all define her — often on the same song. She’s a rare artist who thrives on overthinking everything (hey, she is French) and the album’s general grandiosity never feels obnoxious.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    BTS's gentle guitar jams home in on the tender core of the Texas songwriter's starnge genius. [Jun 2020, p.71]
    • Rolling Stone
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    They’ve upped their game even further on Sideways to New Italy, and the result is a perfect summertime indie-rock record.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Playful spirit is in short supply on a record where club beats, acoustic strumming, and parched guitar lines usually get siphoned into unobtrusively earnest background pop. [Jun 2020, p.71]
    • Rolling Stone
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    There are toe-tapping moments, but the best song is a Roxy Music cover. [Jun 2020, p.71]
    • Rolling Stone
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Spacey songs that never lack for sass, bite, or beauty. [Apr 2020, p.87]
    • Rolling Stone
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    RTJ4, which the band rush-released a few days ahead of schedule, is laser-focused. ... Mike unloads on racist cops, systemic poverty, corporate media, and other eternal enemies. But the album never feels preachy, because the music bounces as much as it brays, with an elastic flow and deep history.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Mostly, Gaga has focused Chromatica’s spectrum on the kind of body-moving music that comes naturally to her. Dance music will always be her salvation, and her pop renaissance couldn’t come at a better time.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    While some of his writing is of the Fisher-Price variety—one verse in “Met Gala” employs a AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA rhyme scheme—and his lyrics aren’t always well thought out (“Say the wrong word, and I’mma shoot him in his shit”), Wunna remains a transportive listening experience, due in large part to its production, which exists in almost perfect harmony with Gunna’s soothing vocals.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    This album takes a different, more meandering approach compared to Brief Inquiry, and that may be its greatest weakness: Notes on a Conditional Form is simply too long. ... Still, where Notes works, the 1975 prove themselves to be surprisingly efficient craftsmen, even as they sound ridiculous.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Earle serves here as a trusted travel guide, offering a nuanced portrayal of a time and place (21st-century Appalachian mining) that likely feels a world away for the majority of his listeners.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    High Off Life is Future at his most optimistic, as the man from Pluto decides to send out a positive message. But it’s still got the spaced-out melancholy that always fills his sound, as he clocks some serious demon hours in the late-night druggy strip-club haze of his soul.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    It’s an engaging, sometimes muddled — as dispatches from such a place often are — but frequently brilliant collection that expands the horizons of the already dexterous approach to psychedelic soul Hakim showcased on his excellent 2017 debut, Green Twins.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Not his most satisfying concept, but he can do more in 72 seconds that most artists can in four minutes. [May 2020, p.89]
    • Rolling Stone
    • 91 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    His most ambitious music yet on his fifth LP. ... These are age-old ideas, but they don’t feel that way when he’s singing them. It’s par for the course for an artist who specializes in embodying pop archetypes, and making them new again.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Can be madcap and zany, darkly hilarious, and just plain weird. [May 2020, p.89]
    • Rolling Stone
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Isbell kicks up dust by looking backwards, and Reunions is at its best when he’s doing just that.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It both feels like a continuance of the band’s classic Eighties sound and it’s actually good.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Dream Hunting may not be traditionally lovely, but it lives and breathes. And that’s really all we can do these days.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    At 15 tracks, Petals for Armor can occasionally feel redundant; two or three songs feel like retread territory that was better explored elsewhere, and there’s only so many metaphors you can create for flowers. Still, the album’s final third, while the most pop-oriented section, is also its most interesting. ... It’s the sound of an artist blooming into some the best music of her career.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Her best LP since 1998's landmark Car Wheels On A Gravel Road. [May 2020, p.89]
    • Rolling Stone
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The project, a grab bag of new songs, leaks, and material previously teased on Instagram Live, is often bittersweet and deeply contemplative, even by Drake’s standards.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Even when Making a Door Less Open gets a little clunky, it remains compelling.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    DaBaby’s greatest enemy on Blame It On Baby is his staggering prolific streak; the struggle to find something new means he’s fighting against his own current.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The organic, delightfully earnest tracks blend Miss Colombia‘s avant-Latin sonic palette with revered cross-generational traditions, forging a new world of musical borderlessness that Pimienta is glad to call home.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Combining crunchy nu-metal guitar riffs with a penchant for early-aughts R&B-pop production in the vein of Aaliyah and ‘NSync, Sawayama sounds like Britney Spears’ Blackout by way of Korn — and it inexplicably works.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Fetch the Bolt Cutters will not disappoint. Released with little warning nearly a decade after 2012’s The Idler Wheel…, the album sees the now-42-year-old songwriter proving that she’s still more than capable of telling off partners, detractors, and others who have done her wrong, all while picking apart the inner workings of her frantic mind. But what sets Bolt Cutters apart from its predecessors is that, for the first time, the scales tip more toward resilience than agony.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Much of Earth is laidback and peaceful, centered around the cerebral “Brasil” and “Olympik,” which clock in over eight minutes, tickling the brain with swirling synths and dreamy lines about love and perfection.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Their fourth record lacks the innocent fun of their first hits. [Apr 2020, p.87]
    • Rolling Stone
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Where Strokes albums since 2006’s First Impressions of Earth have felt grudging and defensive in their theoretical approach to the band’s cultural and career position, this time out the mood is less constricted.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    This charming man's bowshots at English society can get repetitive. [Apr 2020, p.87]
    • Rolling Stone
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Even with a bruised heart, he's a charmer. [Apr 2020, p.87]
    • Rolling Stone
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Sweet, solid collection about fatherhood and quitting cigarettes, sounding like the National. [Apr 2020, p.87]
    • Rolling Stone
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Classic gestures are all over Southside, though Hunt thankfully has no interest in doing something so straightforward.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    It Is What It Is, is just as daring in its musical reach, and its pairing of goofy and gutting [as 2017's Drunk].
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    McBryde’s second major-label release, Never Will, is just as daring and deep, sometimes deceptively so [as Girl Going Nowhere].