Variety's Scores

For 429 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 93% higher than the average critic
  • 0% same as the average critic
  • 7% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 12.4 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 85
Highest review score: 100 The Beatles [White Album] [50th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition]
Lowest review score: 40 Jesus Is King
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 0 out of 429
429 music reviews
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Despite the loss and longing that course through the 44-minute runtime, this is a feel-good affair with ridiculous replay value, thanks in large part to the sample-flipping prowess of Knxwledge. He moves seamlessly from Pharcyde-esque chillhop (“MoveOn”) to Paisley Park two-stepper (“Daydreaming”), with a proficiency that recalls fellow crate-digging senseis like J Dilla and Madlib.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 65 Critic Score
    “Dopamine” is an album that could have been a dissection of what she’s been through, or an understanding of how R&B can effectively meet pop on the playing field. But as it stands, it’s simply there, as pleasant as it can be, a token for fans who presaved the album and, more hopefully, a stepping stone to what could one day be her full potential.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    In recent years boxed sets have basically evolved into source material for people’s own playlists, and that’s the best use for this fascinating and presumably definitive set. But for anyone who’s wondered about the origin story of Ziggy Stardust, it’s got everything you could want that’s actually worth hearing.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 96 Critic Score
    Innovation and self-examination aren’t supposed to be easy so it shouldn’t be surprising if the results are a little messy emotionally — but it’s rare for them to be this fully realized in every other way. “Brat” vaults Charli back to the front of the line as a pop innovator, not that she’d ever slipped.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    With a wide range of collaborators — Cautious Clay, Chocolate Genius (aka Marc Anthony Thompson, Tessa’s father), pianist Vijay Iyer and longtime accompanists Petros Klampanis on bass, harpist Maeve Gilchrist and keyboardist James Francies — “Night Reign,” contrary to its title, is a brighter but no less beautiful take on Aftab’s music.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    Swirling dreary beats with even more overcast thoughts, Dark Times is a lucid snapshot of melancholy. It lives up to its name. It’s dark out, but Vince presents a meticulous portrait of someone with just enough reason to wait for sunrise.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Although it might take the average Zayn fan more than few listens to connect with the LP as a whole, the boldness of the material’s experimentation is worth putting in the effort.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 93 Critic Score
    Eilish is also exercising her knack for turning a song around on a dime, mid-stream, as previously heard in the whisper-to-a-scream title track of “Happier Than Ever.” So it’s a 10-track record that happens to contain 13 excellent songs.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 95 Critic Score
    Forensic analysis aside, the album is still great, ranging from sweetness and playfulness to dark menace, from vintage soul to dark experimentalism. The title track has fuzzed-out ‘70s synths, a tight rhythm and a clean vocal from Glover. .... The ballads are fire too: Grande turns in a soaring performance on the gospel-inflected “Time,” and “Sweet Thang” is a harmony-loaded slow jam with a heaping medley of voices and a woozy guitar solo that could have been an outtake from Prince’s classic “Sign O’ the Times.”
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    “Optimism” is pummeling, concerted and arranged exactly how it should be, a pop record meant to wash over you like a breeze rolling off of the surf.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    “All Born Screaming” is focused and of a piece and all over the place at the same time. It’s a tribute to St. Vincent’s vision and skill that an album bursting with so many ideas is such a coherent whole.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 94 Critic Score
    “The Tortured Poets Department” feels like it comes the closest of any of her 11 original albums to just drilling a tube directly into her brain and letting listeners mainline what comes out. If you value this confessional quality most of all, she’s still peaking: As a culmination of her particular genius for marrying cleverness with catharsis, “Tortured” kind of feels like the Taylor Swift-est Taylor Swift record ever.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Throughout, the music has a sort of cloudy yet optimistic feel to it that the artist has described as “happy melancholia” – reminiscent of Fred Again’s masterful “Real Life” albums without necessarily sounding like them – and an innate musicality.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    If the sound had a home base, it would probably be the Northern English industrial city of Leeds, which not coincidentally is also home to several major universities and spawned such major acts in the genre as Gang of Four, the Mekons, Delta 5 and more. On “Angeltape,” the quartet Drahla has revived that sound with a striking level of authenticity.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    There’s no shortage of the unmistakable sound that brought the group so many fans in the first place. All three are excellent musicians, but Spear is a marvel, playing with a fluid style that incorporates multiple influences, from rock to African to blues to funk to Duane Eddy twang, with an innate sense of melody that carries the entire band. Yet he never overplays.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 93 Critic Score
    No apology necessary: “Only God Was Above Us” is an essential chapter in the band’s still-evolving sound and career.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 94 Critic Score
    “Act II” feels a lot like a 27-course meal, difficult to describe in whole, but endlessly easy to digest, serving by serving. .... As a whole, “Cowboy Carter” is a masterpiece of sophisticated vocal arranging, laid out on top of mostly fairly stark band tracks.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 73 Critic Score
    For the most part, Metro makes more of the duo’s first volume than Future does. Then again, there are stunningly soulful and richly melodic tracks such as “Running Outta Time” (co-produced with Zaytoven and Chris XZ) where the rapper sounds clear as a bell, passionate and hungry, with the backing of simple hammering piano and a slow, grinding organ.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    Tyla never abandons her sound in her debut. Instead, she makes her boldest stylistic choices as subtle as possible, cementing her growing status as a pop star.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Minor deviations aside, “Tigers Blood” functions as a seamless extension and advancement of the aesthetic Crutchfield perfected on “Saint Cloud,” her Americana masterpiece that stands as one of the few artifacts worth revisiting from March 2020.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    Her mastery in hitmaking is on full display. .... “Las Mujeres Ya No Lloran” is the updated testament to her successful track record. She rejoices in the experimentation and liberation of the new school she helped build.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 58 Critic Score
    It isn’t the most groundbreaking album in his discography, but it’s the clearest vision that he’s presented in years. Its songs are mercurial yet intentional, each its own bizarre sector of a larger blueprint, and the 16-song set is often musically great, from the Brazilian funk sample on “Paperwork” to the bellowing horns of “Problematic.” .... Lyrically, however, those hoping for West to seriously reconcile with his public controversies will come up short on “Vultures 1,” where in characteristically antagonist form, he leans into them.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Timberlake doesn’t reconcile with remorse across the suitable yet uneven “Everything I Thought It Was”; rather, he quickly gestures towards it on opener “Memphis” and moves on.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    For listeners up for an adventure — for an album that reveals itself gradually, continues to surprise after several listens and takes you places you didn’t necessarily know you wanted to go — there are many rewards in store.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The topical shifts can be as jarring as the sonic variance, but through her conviction, adaptability, and deft vibes control, Whack makes it all cohesive while sustaining the energy of her best releases. .... With the release of the stellar “World Wide Whack,” all theoretical outcomes can recede into the glory of the real thing.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 86 Critic Score
    i/o
    Are the songs treasures? By and large, yes — although I’m not nearly enough of an inveterate audiophile or compulsive A/B tester to really want to compare two or three versions of each of them.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Nearly every one of the 16 tracks begins with delicate finger-picking, and then stays there, flying proudly in the face of “there needs to be a banger” convention and staying committed to the acoustic bit. It’s uncompromising in that way, and all the lovelier for its confidence that you’ll turn up the volume, so she doesn’t have to.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 93 Critic Score
    If there’s a more innovative and exciting rock album coming in 2024, we can’t wait to hear it.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    Ultimately, with “Loss of Life,” the group seems to feel more comfortable than ever in its own skin, unshackled to trends or preconceived notions about how some may feel they should sound.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 96 Critic Score
    There’s no question whose album this is, and like so many female superstars, Grande is tragically underrated as a musician. She’s not only a virtuoso singer but a skilled vocal arranger and producer whose multitracked backing voices are like songs on their own, embellishing and responding to her lead like a troupe of attuned dancers.