Variety's Scores

For 333 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 11.8 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 333
333 music reviews
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    “Renaissance” (volume one of three) is sticky, sweaty, hedonistic art — flanked by a pastiche of genres that never lingers on long enough for the listener to get too comfortable. It’s what makes the collection its own kind of masterpiece: beauty in the chaos.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Even within a semi-unplugged framework, White contains multitudes, packing in plenty of styles under one faintly folksy umbrella. One thing that immediately stands out is White’s wholly underrated knack for making great piano-based roots-rock recordings. ... The rub is gentler, but there’s no less reason to feel tickled.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It’s hard to imagine this isn’t immediately locked in as one of the leading album of the year candidates. On another day, maybe we’ll think that the lack of ballad showcases keeps this from being the career peak-to-date it feels like in the moment. Whether in years to follow the record will hold up as Ms. Right may be anyone’s guess, but it is definitely Ms. Right Now.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    On occasion, such symmetry and solace is overbearing and a little too perfect. ... Missteps such as these — especially on an album with nearly 20 songs — mean little when its main man has made yet another vocally and lyrically poignant, to say nothing of sonically immersive, step into the future of Afro-Fusion with “Love, Damini.”
    • 73 Metascore
    • 78 Critic Score
    As a standalone Drake album, it’s deeply refreshing, and a dose of vibrant pop likely to reverberate through the remainder of the summer.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    “Cruel Country” captures a band wholly secure in its status; it does a handful of things very well, and does those things repeatedly, with few deviations.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 78 Critic Score
    “Twelve Carat Toothache” finally feels like a transitional album for one of pop’s biggest stars. (And we do mean pop, not hip-hop) ... But with no small help from Bell, who’s the best kind of musical enabler, Malone’s turns of melodic phrase and aptitude for true confessions are making him a far more interesting artist than we could have guessed even a couple of albums ago.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    “Harry’s House” is a bit more intimate and less stadium-sized than its predecessor. Lyrically, it’s heavier and more serious in places. ... He’s built himself an enviable solo career that “Harry’s House” goes a long way toward furthering.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    It’s the sound of one of America’s foremost poets offering an all-access visit to the darker corners of his mind, unconcerned with whether anyone would choose to take that trip again. “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers” may not be a masterpiece, and it may not always be pleasant, but it’s clearly the work of a genius, accountable to no one but himself, intent on showing you all the scars that he acquired on his way to becoming the defining rapper of his generation, and plenty that came after that, too.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 94 Critic Score
    All of this is captured in pristine sound quality — that’s Richards’ guitar in the right channel and Wood in the left — even the weak, historic-interest-only songs from night one that are tacked onto the end. ... The concert captured here was the first day of the rest of the Stones’ lives — and 45 years later, you’re in that sweaty club with them.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Harlow builds upon his bedrock strengths and finds a heady musical elixir for his new album, a vibe more potent, direct and swaggering than on his first major label outing. ... If “Come Home the Kids Miss You” feels like Harlow’s “Off the Wall,” could his “Thriller” be very far away? Thankfully, Harlow is the type of artist that warrants that question.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    WE
    Superb ... The emphasis this time around is not on bells and whistles or external bombast but simply on the music itself.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    It's easy to imagine a track like ["I'll Be Lovin’ You"] ending up in the hands of any number of hit-hunting younger singers, but impossible to imagine anyone else investing it with Lambert's precise calibration of wistfulness and swagger. And that goes for the rest of the album too. ... She's never sounded more perfectly at home.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    “It’s Almost Dry” is no break from form. While sonically much more cohesive than its chaotic predecessor, Pusha fails to push himself into new territories, making the entire album feel safe, rather than an attempt at growth. ... Still, musically, there are several outstanding moments that show off both Kanye West’s and Pharrell Williams’ production prowess.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    He’s elusive even in the midst of taking on a new musical persona that seems high-concept. But it’s that combination of intriguing opacity and occasional open-heartedness — and his twin inclinations between deep philosophizing and deadpan comedy — that give “Chloë” the oddball breadth to be one of the best albums of the year.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    If life was fair, these songs would be streaming out of the earbuds of every teenage girl (and hip boy who wants to belong).
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    “Fear of the Dawn” benefits from being so single-mindedly devoted to capturing a stream of consciousness that’s moving about as fast as the Colorado River, and would generate just about as much electricity, dammed up. ... He’s finally made an album every bit as hysterical as that trademark howl.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Above all, “Wet Leg” delivers on the infectious pleasure of music that was made by friends trying to make each other laugh — and we’re all in on it.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    So, whether she means “Crash,” as some sort of elaborate art joke or her most direct-ever (potentially) hit-filled work, Charl XCX is going out from her longtime label with a bang.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    It is this balance of experimentalism and familiarity, of the tentative and the trusted, that makes “Unlimited Love” utterly unstoppable and unlike anything you’re likely to hear this year.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 97 Critic Score
    An album that not only marks Rosalia’s true arrival, it moves her toward the front line of today’s musical innovators.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 95 Critic Score
    The kind of album you can put on and leave on: vividly atmospheric, melodically beguiling, and seductive enough to keep you coming back over and over.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Calmer and a bit moodier than the debut, it finds the two bringing out things in their sounds that hadn’t really been there before. ... Combined, the two EPs make a warm and well-rounded album with two distinct sides.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Throughout this adventurous new double-album, Big Thief dives into both the natural and otherworldly, paving new sounds and textures while uncovering new mysteries.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 84 Critic Score
    Many of the low-key experiments in sound — an open airiness, often oddball instrumental quirks, bluesy vibes — remove Blige from the comfort zone of her Capitol label-era albums, and bring fresh life to her not-so-quiet storming soul.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Watching the arc of Mitski’s career, you might expect bombast, but “Laurel Hell” instead highlights the singular insistence of self that made Mitski into the hero she became, even if it comes in the form of honest mid-tempo melancholy.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    The album closes with a hushed but comparatively straightforward version of Eddie Heywood’s “I’ll Be Seeing You,” which was immortalized in the 1940s by Billie Holiday — completing yet another stellar addition to the Cat Power canon, which is formidable no matter whose songs she’s singing.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 85 Critic Score
    “Scenic Drive” is a pulsating, minor marvel of economical soul-hop that satisfies all that Khalid fanatics have come to crave — that high dozy warble, those out-of-the-blue hooks — while pushing his new-found exigency (and lower range) into the future.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 95 Critic Score
    “After Hours” has resonated for nearly two years after its release, and in the face of another phase of a daunting pandemic, it seems that “Dawn FM” — possibly the Weeknd’s best and most fully realized album to date — will help carry fans through this one as well.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 78 Critic Score
    From “hibachi” with Kodak Black and 21 Savage to “no way” featuring a few motivational words from actor Jamie Foxx, the album rides a sonic wave of high-octane bangers and more subdued, reflective respites that provide fleeting glimpses into who Roddy Ricch is.