The A.V. Club's Scores

For 4,462 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 64% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 34% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 1.6 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 74
Highest review score: 100 DFA Remixes: Chapter 1
Lowest review score: 0 The Path of Totality
Score distribution:
4462 music reviews
    • 90 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Whether she intended to do so or not, Phoebe Bridgers has created a musical monument to our dissociative age with Punisher. It’s an album about sleepless nights and sinking feelings in the pit of your stomach, wrapped in a musical package that’s both feather-light and lush enough to run your fingers through.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    “Enigma” really is a fitting word for Gaga. Her choices can be puzzling, and not every song is a success, but that unpredictability is what makes her exciting and leaves us coming back for more. So maybe Gaga doesn’t know who she truly is yet. It’s still enjoyable to watch her figure it out.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Notes On A Conditional Form feels less like a 1975 album than it does a hodgepodge collection of songs by a band trying on various sonic identities to see what fits. If anything, to understand and appreciate the record, don’t approach it as an album-length statement from one band, but as a personalized, diverse playlist curated by a favorite human tastemaker.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    The intensity and diversity of Part 1 hinted at even more bombastic and unexpected songs to come on Part 2, which instead mostly continues the sound he already mastered on Aromanticism. It’s not that Part 2’s songs aren’t gorgeous and poignant; it’s just that, given Sumney’s unwavering focus on shattering longtime boundaries, Part 2’s songs occupy shockingly familiar musical territory.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Though it contains mere hints of the scrappy rocker we’ve watched for 15 years, Petals Of Armor is the bold signature of someone who is more than ready to show off different sides of herself—yet has nothing left to prove to anyone.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    If there’s a downside to the electricity in Williams’ veins on Good Souls Better Angels, it’s that the gentler material doesn’t have quite the same impact.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Fetch The Bolt Cutters is full of visceral, jittery, wonderfully imperfect performances that make the album feel like a dreamlike concert at Largo.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 67 Critic Score
    If you can get past the pall cast by that song’s sentiment, I Am Not A Dog On A Chain features some of Morrissey’s best songs in years, and a couple of his worst. It leans—in weird but not unwelcome ways—on electronics more than any record he’s ever done.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    This is the sound of a band working hard to evolve, and if the strain of incorporating such a large swath of musical experimentation occasionally shows, well, maybe that’s the cost of attempting new tricks at an advanced age. Never let it be said that the band embraced different sounds at the expense of its tried-and-true formulas, however. Part of what makes Gigaton fascinating is the way these sonic departures actually fuse in unexpected ways with some of the band’s traditional four-on-the-floor stompers.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Moore has finally grown into the adult voice that sounded so jarring in her teenaged hits like “Candy,” and her songwriting also reveals a sadder, wiser maturity. ... Silver Landings’ best moments arrive when Moore’s explorations veer from her own story to the more universally relatable.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 58 Critic Score
    Artists can certainly grow up and mature without losing their edge or creative spark. Changes, however, is ultimately a transitional record that finds Bieber navigating how to reconcile adulthood with pop stardom—and discovering that, at least in his case, this merger is a tricky one.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 58 Critic Score
    Parker’s long-awaited Currents follow-up, The Slow Rush, isn’t quite as interesting as its predecessors in terms of songwriting and production, and this gap makes Parker’s lyrical weaknesses more challenging to ignore.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    High Road works because of Kesha’s self-assurance and self-possession.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    Fine Line proves that the musician has absorbed the best lesson passed down by California’s great musicians: Don’t be afraid to take chances within a folk- or pop-rock framework, as that’s how you create iconoclastic music that endures.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Overall, in spite of its goofy throwback artwork and the presence of Pharrell Williams, Hyperspace belongs on the shelf closest to Sea Change. There are more clunkers here than on that classic, but it feels similarly honest and world-weary.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 67 Critic Score
    Here’s what it is, though: quietly ambitious, occasionally ham-handed, decidedly political, dopily mystical, surprisingly pointed, and mostly pretty good. And, maybe most importantly, it is unexpected, in good and bad ways.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    If the first half of Our Pathetic Age is DJ Shadow pushing forward, his muse challenging and expanding his sonic palette in ways not always accessible or satisfactory, the back half is his class reunion, a trip through nearly all 30 years of his career that revisits sounds and styles across his output, rejiggering them for an anxiety-inducing, more contemporary aural aesthetic. ... The two create an impressive testament to DJ Shadow’s creative nomadism, uncompromising and imposing in its aggressive music
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    He sounds simultaneously alone at the edge of the world and surrounded by benevolent spirits, a fittingly biblical cloud of witnesses who haven’t seen the power of God so much as they’ve moved through the fallout of their own atomic blasts; theirs is a communion of radiation. So it’s a bit of a surprise that Ghosteen is also Cave’s most accessible album since The Boatman’s Call.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 67 Critic Score
    The music is gorgeous but feels labored over, like pottery lacquered with one too many layers of shellac. Hopefully Olsen will also still release her stripped-back take on All Mirrors, as it’s the dressing—not the songs themselves—that stumbles.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 67 Critic Score
    With melodies that are stretched thin and simplistic lyrics that feel even more so next to the sophisticated arrangements, Birth Of Violence’s dark beauty is like standing outside watching the stars in winter: stark, beautiful, and a little numbing.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    As a mood piece, Norman Fucking Rockwell does an admirable job preserving Del Rey’s mystique while moving her sound forward.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    The record is as raw as a scraped knee and more furious than a woman scorned, a brick through the window of our reactionary era that draws inspiration from the equally pissed-off first wave of punk rock.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    As always, Lover is an album Swift made for her fans. But it also feels like a record she made for herself, unburdened by external expectations and her own past.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    It’s a productive scaling-down—the sound of a great rock band getting back to work. The Hold Steady achieves its classic-punk alchemy by balancing the powerful rock ’n’ roll mythmaking of guitarist Tad Kubler’s riffs with the conversational myth-puncturing of Finn’s lyrics, and that balance threatens to topple over if the songs venture into more grandiose or self-referential territory.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This may also be Sleater-Kinney’s lustiest album yet. Several of the album’s 11 songs are peppered with breathy sighs and ecstatic yelps, and it’s almost as if Brownstein is staring you directly in the eyes as she sings, “Let me defang you and defile you on the floor,” in “Bad Dance.” But this, too, has its political aspect. ... A stunning finale is another Sleater-Kinney specialty, and The Center Won’t Hold delivers with the devastating, disarming “Broken.”
    • 71 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The Big Day is a rare bouquet on full display; a stunningly realized array of color, sound, and sensation that swallows the room. Any structure at risk of pop cliché finds new life through Chance, whose mastery of composition creates spins on existing musical archetypes like new synaptic grooves being carved out for the very first time.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    The first record was a grower, gradually establishing itself as one of the great producer-emcee efforts of the young millennium, but Bandana seems designed to dazzle, to assert a joint legacy.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 67 Critic Score
    It’s a delight to hear the man summon the musical spirits of his past, but it’s all a bit overly tasteful and mannered to have the force as his usual work.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    The net effect is a host of sounds and voices being drawn to Flamagra, much as a Quincy Jones opus involved dozens of contributors, some famous, others known only by professional reputation. If it all sounds vaporous at times, or even predictable to listeners long familiar with Flying Lotus’ sound, then at least it represents his growth into a full-fledged record producer, someone capable of straight-up great songwriting as well as engagingly electronic funk.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Without the baggage of his political views--which is where the letter grade on this review comes from--California Son would be a worthy addition to a mostly stellar catalog, offering insight into a great singer and lyricist’s taste and breathing new life into mostly forgotten songs.