The New York Times' Scores

For 1,953 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 2.3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 70
Score distribution:
1953 music reviews
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    [Tony] Allen’s drumming propels five of the album’s nine tracks, spattering syncopated accents, quick little snare-drum rolls and hissing cymbals all around the central beat — and constantly striking sparks. ... Coldcut’s presence is ubiquitous; it was the duo that put all the scattered pieces of Keleketla! together. But the thoroughly hybridized music makes clear that in Africa, Coldcut was ready to listen above all.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This newfound looseness and fluidity suits them. Best believe that Haim still has chops and a bar band’s encyclopedic knowledge of rock riffs, but on its third album it’s finally learned how to carry those things lightly enough to move with its own particular stride.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Strange and exquisitely moving. ... Bridgers’s lyrical talent was evident on her 2017 debut, “Stranger in the Alps,” which had a few perfect songs but as a whole sometimes felt muted, languid and downcast. “Punisher,” though, moves along fluidly with its eyes to the vast sky. Bridgers’s arpeggiated guitar work remains quietly deft.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Latter-day Bob Dylan is for die-hards. ... His music is adamantly old-fashioned, and he’s not aiming to ingratiate himself with anyone. But for those who have stuck with him this far, his new album, “Rough and Rowdy Ways,” is at once a summing-up and a taunt, equal parts death-haunted and cantankerous.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The arrangements on “MTV Unplugged” are occasionally overstuffed with stately “Eleanor Rigby” strings, but I prefer them to much of the studio material, since they’re airy enough to allow the unvarnished snarl of Gallagher’s voice to come through loud and clear. ... The crowd, and the record, comes alive most when Gallagher indulges in some old Oasis classics.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    It has some sparkling vocal moments. It reminds us how easily Lady Gaga, 34, can coax the world onto the dance floor. But it feels overwhelmingly safe. ... “Chromatica” is also a mixed bag.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    For an album as expansive and big-swinging as “Notes,” its hit rate is surprisingly high. The 1975 is still walking that tightrope of self-indulgence, but more often than not it has learned how to retain its balance.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The sturdy structures of pop only go so far in Perfume Genius songs. They provide reassurance that others have found ways to capture similar feelings. But they can’t hold back the immediacy of longing, the all-consuming physical need. That’s captured in a pair of songs near the end of the album.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It’s hard to imagine many of its songs being performed onstage, even before the pandemic — even as it encompasses more sonic possibilities, from the orchestral to the surreal. ... Sumney doesn’t have to explain himself in prose. His songs do it even better.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Many of these songs sparkle with insight and the daring of a shape-shifting vocalist, but a handful assume too readily that maturity and seriousness are only achieved through dour restraint. Still, as she and her band proved on Paramore’s excellent 2017 record “After Laughter,” Williams was already a pro at packing complex emotions and perceptive wisdom into bright, technicolor pop-rock songs.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    A largely effective album-length odds-and-ends collection but not, you know, an album — may be more valuable as data than as songs.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    “Fetch the Bolt Cutters” is daring in a new way, scrambling and shattering the pop-song structures that once grounded her. ... I am floored by this record. I hear freedom, too. These songs make some breathtaking hairpin turns. ... It’s not just the wild craftsmanship of each song. It’s also that she’s fearless about what she’s doing: with sounds, with structures, with people’s expectations.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    It’s not the early, edgy Strokes, but what they’ve grown up into. Maybe the Strokes won’t make new friends with this album, but old friends can get closer.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    “After Hours,” his rousing fourth studio album, is laden with sparkled trauma, kaleidoscopic emotional confusion, urgent and panting physical release paired with failed-state romantic dyspepsia.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Confident and accomplished fifth album.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Reznor and Ross revisit some of their most distinctive sonic vocabulary on the new albums. ... “Ghosts V: Together” has prettier, warmer ingredients. There are serenely elegiac piano melodies, counterpoint in plinking bell tones and choirs of sampled voices.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Reznor and Ross revisit some of their most distinctive sonic vocabulary on the new albums. ... “Ghosts VI: Locusts” thrusts the anxiety upfront. Tracks tick and pulse with the tensest kind of minimalistic repetition, and when piano and bell tones appear, they’re usually brittle, not cozy.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Affable but slightly numbing. ... But by and large, these are polite songs, and familiar, too. Balvin is a sweetly elegiac singer — see especially “Azul,” where he stretches out soft vowels like taffy — but his rapping is largely blank.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The strikingly good “YHLQMDLG” (which stands for “Yo Hago Lo Que Me Da La Gana,” translation “I Do Whatever I Want”) moves in a different direction, looking deep inside the genre’s long history and proposing that there is enough information in the past on which to build a whole worldview.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It is part old-fashioned bluster, part flamboyant style exercise, all rowdy thrill.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Enchanting. ... It’s liquid, fast-moving and rerouting. Into it he mixes the soul-opening honk of Albert Ayler, full of enough breath to evoke a door blowing wide open; the winding intensity of John Coltrane; and the troubled placidity of Lester Young. And somehow, he never seems to need any more volume than Young did to get his point across.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Early James is 26, but his music has much older underpinnings, glancing back to the 1970s, the 1960s and before.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    As a whole, the strong but not particularly unruly “7” is less sure-footed than “Love Yourself: Tear,” the group’s last full-length, from 2018, and the first K-pop album to debut atop the Billboard album chart.
    • 79 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.
    • 57 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.