The New York Times' Scores

For 1,930 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 55% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 41% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.4 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 70
Score distribution:
1930 music reviews
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Grimes doesn’t make her songs depend on the words. The nervous energy, dread, anxiety, death wish and poppy nihilism are also in the sound of her music. Throughout “Miss Anthropocene,” personal and societal disasters seem imminent.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    On “Changes,” he finally stakes his claim, honing a vocal approach that’s soothing, tender although maybe slightly tentative, a middle ground between comfort and reluctance. It is an effective album, and also a deliberately unflashy one — Bieber is consistent and confident, and also not drawing too much attention to himself.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    On “Marigold,” Pinegrove is a more temperate band than it has been, and also a crisper and less complicated one, a musical direction it had already been moving in on its last album.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Throughout “Romance,” the pop machinery clicks cleverly and efficiently into place around Cabello’s voice. The productions tend to be sparse — spooky electronic sounds, an occasional acoustic or electric guitar, hefty but discreet drums — and even where the choruses ratchet up, Cabello’s voice often stays close and confiding.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The album is a production tour-de-force. There are plenty of moments, even in lesser songs, when instruments merge in shimmering brilliance and voices stack up in surreal stereo fireworks.
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The music still sounds contemporary and alive. ... Every song exults in the architectural savvy of a musician who, from the drumbeat up, seemed to know exactly how he’d be jamming with himself as he built the song. ... A handful [of the previously unreleased material] — including the absolute standout, “Purple Music” — are gems; none is a dud.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    “What You See Is What You Get” challenges him less than his debut album did. It is mundanely forceful, laden with chunky guitars and hard-snap drums, and just barely ambitious. Which is to say, in the current country ecosystem, reasonably effective. Where Combs shows the most promise is in his emergent desire to restore the genre to the high-octane pep of the 1990s.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Despite the album title, religion barely figures on “Magdalene.” FKA twigs seeks a person to believe in, not a creed. In these songs, that would be vocation enough, a chance to find transcendence by giving everything. It’s the faith of so many pop songs: the glory of love.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    “Wildcard” isn’t as intimate as her 2016 double album about her divorce, “The Weight of These Wings,” or as musically adventurous as its predecessor, “Platinum.” What it does have is some sharp songwriting.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    A more engaged and vivid album than “Ye,” from last year, though nowhere as robust as “The Life of Pablo” from 2016, it is bare-bones and curiously effective, emotionally forceful and structurally scant.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    While King Princess writes about 21st-century romance — one new track is “Watching My Phone” — the music places her songs on a longer timeline, full of ghosts from previous pop eras.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The music is denser and more intricate, conjuring symphonic grandeur alongside overdriven noise. The jokes are gone; the stakes feel higher. But the band’s underlying moxie hasn’t changed.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    “Ghosteen” is an eerie, somber monolith, a set of 11 songs that stretches over an hour and is grouped on two CDs.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    There’s something alluring about this odd little gift of a session, which for Coltrane must have landed somewhere between “just a gig” and “just a favor.”
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Even when he is stretching the boundaries of his sound, as he does in several places on “Hollywood’s Bleeding,” the results feel the opposite of experimental. When you’re an omnivore taking a mortar and pestle to six decades of pop music history and turning it into a smooth slurry, it’s nigh impossible to shock. ... Whatever someone might be hoping to find is in there somewhere. Post Malone is emotional tofu, a skill, not an accident. ... His ambiguity is of an elevated, refined sort.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Each song on “i,i” is an intricate, labyrinthine, multilayered construction. But the marvel of Bon Iver is how fragile and conditional each song seems; not monumental but precarious and permeable, susceptible to chance or whim or fate. All the planning creates music that feels as impermanent, and illuminating, as a sunbeam.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    “Lover,” her reassuringly strong seventh album, is a palate cleanse, a recalibration and a reaffirmation of old strengths. It’s a transitional album designed to close one particularly bruised chapter and suggest ways to move forward — or in some cases, to return to how things once were.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    He’s an objectively strong rapper who makes work with a moral valence — just like Cordae, just like Chance, just like Lamar or Logic or J. Cole. Where NF falls short is that he mostly works in one gear.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Too many of the new songs sound diligent and derivative, as if Sleater-Kinney were working through a pop apprenticeship. It’s good to know that the group doesn’t want to repeat itself, that the band is also out to master 21st-century digital tools. But on “The Center Won’t Hold,” Sleater-Kinney hasn’t found its version 2.0.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    It feels no more fleshed out than “Coloring Book,” from 2016 (which was nominated for a best rap album Grammy), and is less sonically consistent than “Acid Rap,” from 2013. And it’s less impressive than either of them. At 22 tracks, it’s overlong and scattered.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Beyoncé joins their ranks [Paul Simon, David Byrne, Peter Gabriel, Carlos Santana] soulfully and attentively, seeking full-fledged fusions. She mixes (apparently) personal thoughts and archetypal ones; she savors musical hybrids and rhythmic challenges; and she digs in to every line she sings. ... Unlike the movie that occasioned it, “The Lion King: The Gift” is no remake or reiteration, no faraway fable. It tells a story of its own.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    No one is quite as adept amid a range of styles as Sheeran. ... But right near the top of this album, he stretches too thin. On “South of the Border,” which features Camila Cabello and Cardi B, Sheeran dips into a little Spanish, as has become de rigueur, and leans into the tired trope that going “south of the border” is where real freedom reigns. ... But even though this record presents countless opportunities for Sheeran to fumble, there is something to be said for his choice to release it at all.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The outstanding “Clarity” is her first full-length album, full of songs that are stitched so tightly and varnished so brightly that they cease to be mere pastiche and transcend into something utterly new.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Hoop has made her quietest, most contemplative studio album.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The songs teeter on a psychological divide between intellectually informed glumness and the physical pleasures of rhythm.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 30 Critic Score
    It’s ... not good. A haze of half-gestures and amateur missteps. A deflated balloon. The songs end quickly, as if embarrassed. Apart from the nonsensical yet warm electro-trap song “Panini,” none of the new tracks display even a stray ember of creative curiosity.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    On Western Stars, a few songs — “Tucson Train,” “Sundown,” “Stones” — sound like the E Street Band could be swapped in for the orchestra. But Springsteen strives to meet his chosen idiom more than halfway. He wrote songs that thrive on the swells and undulations of orchestral drama, and he sings with long-breathed phrases that aren’t exactly crooning — he’s not built for that — but that set out to sustain more than they exhort.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Some songs here are made with the pop songwriter-producer Jack Antonoff, but while they’re pensive and expand Abstract’s range, they don’t always suit his natural density, making the album less centered than his excellent 2016 release “American Boyfriend: A Suburban Love Story.”
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Though the mood of Igor is generally consistent, its songs are irregularly shaped, united by Tyler’s by-now signature keyboards, which are warm but a little sweet, and dance gingerly. As Tyler has gotten older--he’s 28 now--he’s become more willing to engage with emotions.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Both the boxed set and the film sprawl proudly and unpredictably, just as the Revue itself did. And both projects traffic in revelation and put-on, sometimes simultaneously. ... Dylan completists will likely cherish newly unveiled rehearsal tapes . ... For those willing to dig in, the new box also makes clear how consistently impassioned Dylan’s Rolling Thunder performances were.