The Observer (UK)'s Scores

For 1,854 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 35% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 62% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 6.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 Beautiful Africa
Lowest review score: 20 Some Nights
Score distribution:
1854 music reviews
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Lu seems intent to immerse us fully, deeply, intimately into her gossamer creative vision--and she succeeds. An astonishing first album.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    For his second album, the 24-year-old’s flow remains defiantly old-school, concerned with language and jazzy storytelling rather than the Autotuned postures that get the streams.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Serfs Up! feels like a giant leap forward.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    LSD underwhelms, even if you accept that three of the world’s most interesting musicians would always struggle to create something greater than the sum of its parts.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Recorded at the same time as Oxnard, Ventura distinguishes itself from its predecessor by being looser and warmer.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    In choosing lower-key collaborators, however, Rowlands and Simons seem to want these more-banging-than-average tunes to speak for themselves.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    In any case, this debut packs some impressive punches--like the sparky Day Month Second and ambitious wobbler Friday Night Big Screen. Elsewhere, Girli’s rough-edged pop--if nothing else, a welcome respite from the prevailing chart sound--feels undermined by clumsy songwriting.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Ultimately, it is Titanic Rising’s fusion of ancient and contemporary, 70s singer-songwriter tropes and electronic burbles, that convinces; the beauty Weyes Blood offers has its eyes wide open.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Here are evergreen contemporary songs in which gratitude and fortitude are exercised in no facile fashion, but with spittle and swagger. The love songs are present and correct.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    At 17 tracks, the album feels long, but at its best, Free Spirit finds Khalid soaring closer to becoming pop’s next big star.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    There are few genres White Denim won’t disrupt, and this wide-ranging record touches upon many of them.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The resulting album--Collins’s ninth solo effort--is a joy, brimming with ideas, but light of touch.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Fascinatingly ambitious, and often extremely fun, this debut finds pop in safe and thrilling hands.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Even the mildly satirical skits, which don’t quite work, prove her desire to create a proper album, rewarding repeated listening.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    ally fun. For a new band, this would be a perfectly serviceable debut, but with Ex Hex having flown so high previously, It’s Real is a disappointment.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Her incisive storytelling is at the fore on Heads Gonna Roll, which describes a road movie with “a narcoleptic poet from Duluth”. Ringo Starr plays drums on it, such is Lewis’s back-channel clout. More gripping vignettes follow.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    To Believe is heartbreakingly brilliant: a collection of exquisitely assembled songs that appear delicate from a distance before revealing a close-quarters core strength. ... A triumph.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Curiously, this bold new direction isn’t sustained; the further into the album Malkmus gets, the more normal service resumes, as if he isn’t entirely convinced of his new direction.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    This album’s default seltzer dynamics are superbly well appointed, but the aim of many of these songs is often occluded by Burton’s knee-jerk tastefulness.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This is hardcore music for a generation weaned on rave and grime, jazz’s cutting edge. The comet isn’t coming, it’s arrived.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It all culminates in Lesley, a staggering, 11-minute exploration of toxic masculinity and domestic abuse. “Tell a yout’, if you got a brain then use it,” he raps, early on; Dave’s doing that, but has much more in his armoury than just brains.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    There are “interludes” and “intermissions” aplenty; the blissed-out Beltway has shades of The Girl from Ipanema in its melody, and Binz is as catchy as a playground clapping game--but both are over before you know it. Exit Scott (referring to another street in Houston) uses a gospel sample that could--and would, in the past--have been stretched out to make a hit single, but here it is, just one minute and one second long.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Sigrid is at her best when difficult emotions complicate her pop endorphins. ... Yet there’s a slight feeling, for all the quality here, that she could have maintained her momentum while taking a few more risks with her high-polish sound.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    More boring and pointless than Brexit.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    It’s a lovely sound, but the songwriting veers more towards the serviceable than the inspired.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    This is the band’s first self-produced album, and it’s stronger on detail than as a unified structure or statement. But there are plenty of ripe pickings, revealing a new depth to Teen, and intriguing potential for the future.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Hagerty’s guitar playing remains as unkempt as ever, but, touchingly, the duo’s vocals play tag throughout, augmenting one another’s frazzled joint vision as though no time had passed.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It swings. It grooves. It’s not bogged down by a self-consciously poetic concept. And it feels like a record rather than a showcase, anchored by the production work of Simz’s childhood friend Inflo.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    It’s a perfect period production that only occasionally tempts the listener to wonder how much more affecting Yola’s songs might be if she turned her attention from “whip-poor-wills” and “the grocery store” to landscapes closer to home.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Andrew Fearn’s soundscapes, meanwhile, improve with each album. Particularly potent is the ominous post-punk bassline he deploys on OBCT; even what sounds suspiciously like a kazoo solo towards the end can’t puncture its sense of menace.