The Observer (UK)'s Scores

For 2,363 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 36% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 60% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 5.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 67
Highest review score: 100 Gold-Diggers Sound
Lowest review score: 20 Collections
Score distribution:
2363 music reviews
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Much of it is pretty dispensable, with new songs Smiley and Acid Horse generic and lacklustre, offering little of the gift for transcendent melody twined around tough beats that made Orbital so iconic. Fortunately, the tour-ready updates of Chime, Impact (The Earth Is Burning) and Halcyon + On + On are much more engaging, and a trippy, strung-out Belfast rivals the original for quality.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    Where Expectations saw Kiyoko taking space to explore her own voice, Panorama feels like a leap backwards, trading personality for affectless tracks that fade into the background.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Occasionally this can leave you longing for something less overblown, but this is Rogers 2.0: dancing sweatily in NYC karaoke bars and singing lines such as “sucking nicotine down my throat/ thinking of you giving head” (on new track Horses) and rocking out. Letting rip suits her.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Thankfully, The Theory of Whatever takes a gentler, more mature tack; no longer the mouthy street poet of the people, Treays is simply singing his heart out about his muted memories of love, nostalgia and hangovers. It’s a joy to perch alongside and listen to him reminisce.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Musically, Special’s a bit of a retread. Lead single About Damn Time, with its Saturday-night, last-song-before-we-leave-the-house vibe, bounces on a similar podium to 2019’s Juice, and the title track boasts imperious orchestration, just as it did on Cuz I Love You. But it works.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It’s an unsettlingly raw album, the sparse instrumentation – Nastasia’s soft voice and acoustic guitar, recorded, as ever, by Steve Albini – making her lyrics all the more stark and powerful. ... An astonishingly moving record.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Overall, About Last Night… manages to keep the party going – it’s just more convincing when tears mix with the prosecco.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A sumptuous listen that glows like a freaky summer love.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Best listened to as a whole, Hellfire is as challenging and unsettling as it is exhilarating. About as sui generis as it’s possible to get in 2022.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A well-polished gem – welcome back.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Pearson wears her talents lightly on an album that allows space for them to breathe. Sound of the Morning is a remarkably mature record; hopefully, future releases will be just as absorbing.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Though Burna has always subtly weaved elements of pop into his music, it feels too omnipresent in the second half of the album.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    You could, just about, call these psalms remixes, in that the thematic stems hold true. But there is respite, too, in the gentler notes and oscillations of Splendour, Glorious Splendour.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    An ambitious album (it comes with an 8mm film and several quirky videos) from a unique artist.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    As an album, it never comes close to Guided By Voices at their mid-90s peak; it isn’t even the best one by this incarnation of the band (that’s possibly 2019’s Warp and Woof). But this is yet another solid addition to one of the most impressive canons in US indie rock.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This is a record full of elegant consolation, but one that refuses to patronise the listener.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Released from both internal and external shackles, Muna feels like phase two for one of pop’s best bands.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Borrowing 10 beats from inventive producer Soundtrakk’s vault, Lupe tries out different flows with varying success.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    She can be puckish, yearning, impossibly weary, intimate – and that’s all on one track, 20 Years a Growing. The pair’s most engaging songs start spare, then meander with gathering intensity to an orchestral crescendo
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This is an EP to fall into, as though in a swoon, its fine detail revealing itself over time.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Certainly, there’s an appealing directness to the maximalist likes of Wake Me Up, with its bellowed chorus seemingly precision-tooled for festival crowds. ... Unfortunately, the quality flags as the album goes on, and the undistinguished likes of Crest of the Wave only succeed in coming across like an ersatz Everything Everything.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    O’Brien’s music, while often smart and sharply played, is rarely exciting as it skips from dusty funk to spiky electronica, and her poetry isn’t quite limber enough to enliven the bare scaffolding supplied by her band.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    More introspective and contemplative than his previous two multi-platinum albums, Gold Rush Kid finds Ezra becoming a man for all seasons.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    There are flashes of the full-throated musicality that made her an exciting prospect, but the album falls short. Perhaps hampered by a pressure to take her sound in a fresh direction, Balbuena loses the vitality that distinguished her in the first place.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Every Head album is a gem, but Dear Scott – named after a note-to-self by F Scott Fitzgerald, down on his luck – has a particularly deep internal lustre.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    As several of her songs attest, music can be consolation in the most troubled times, and Big Time is a silky balm.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Gallagher still has a voice that can imbue even the most meaningless lyric with more feeling than it deserves. But the old adage about cooks and broth holds true, because for all the efforts of the crack team surrounding him, the results are largely unremarkable and at times, as in the case of Oh Sweet Children, downright cloying.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The most country thing about this body of work is the hard-lived wisdom it offers up. The love songs are very grown-up.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Two years on, this sequel is a similarly entrancing, sometimes frightening listen.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Ultimately Styles is more concerned with mood than minutiae. On Harry’s House he’s created a welcoming place to stay.