Variety's Scores

For 195 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 91% higher than the average critic
  • 1% same as the average critic
  • 8% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 11 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 84
Highest review score: 100 More Blood, More Tracks: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 14
Lowest review score: 40 Jesus Is King
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 0 out of 195
195 music reviews
    • 73 Metascore
    • 84 Critic Score
    “Shoot For The Stars, Aim For The Moon” holds weight, innovates and – pardon the pun – blows more fire than smoke.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    “Mordechai” contains this unusual and alluring group’s best work yet.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    If there is any problem with “Translation” — and there isn’t too much, as it is the best overall BEP work since 2003’s “Elephunk” — it’s that, too often, it goes for the big bang, rather than the subtle nudge. ... That said, BEP have found a new sense of adventure, inventiveness and contagion through the modern Latin music prism. They’re almost completely there toward making it totally their own.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 92 Critic Score
    “Homegrown” is an essential addition to the Young catalog and the best of his many archival releases since the equally essential “Live at the Fillmore East” (which was recorded in 1970 and finally released 36 years later).
    • 90 Metascore
    • 96 Critic Score
    One of the year’s best.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 82 Critic Score
    “Pick Me Up Off the Floor” is a cohesive journey reflecting both tragically and sweetly on the amorphous cloud of heartache that lingers in these moments of pain, offering a hand to help us out of the fog.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 94 Critic Score
    Now, as on that pivotal work [2001’s “Love and Theft”], it makes for songs that can be as confounding as they are thrilling. What an accomplishment it is to be 79 and achieving new levels of elusiveness — riveting elusiveness — as his mystery train rolls closer to the station.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 95 Critic Score
    Above all, “RTJ4” is a triumph of all sorts of unexpected syntheses, seamlessly uniting disparate moods, styles and eras. ... If Killer Mike and El-P haven’t yet fully ascended to that most rarefied plane of telepathically attuned hip-hop partnerships — Q-Tip and Phife, Prodigy and Havoc, Erick and Parrish — they’ve come extraordinarily close.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 96 Critic Score
    Possibly, song for song, her best yet. ... She sounds like she knows exactly who she is, what she wants to say and how she wants to say it — and with “Chromatica,” she’s laid a rock-solid foundation for the next phase of her remarkable career.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 78 Critic Score
    By putting us off-guard so many times earlier in the album, maybe Healy feels he’s earned the right to be mawkish, in the clinch. And maybe he’s also earned our willingness to put the whole 22-track affair on replay, give or take a mere half-dozen skips.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    “Alphabetland” remains true to the rough sound of those early albums, but pulls the elements together even tighter.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    Although his 2016 debut, “Green Twins,” was a stoner-soul classic, his latest, “Will This Make Me Good,” is actually even trippier.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    “Græ” is a magnificent, multi-genre mess in a dress of many colors — the greyness of its monochrome title notwithstanding — and not just possibly 2020’s literally biggest album, across its double-album sprawl, but also one of the year’s boldest and best.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 96 Critic Score
    As one might expect from the title, “Set My Heart on Fire Immediately” is elaborate, dramatic and demanding, and is not the kind of art that one comes to lightly — although, in yet another of the album’s counterintuitions, it works just as well as background listening as it does in intense focus. Expect this challenging and ever-changing artist’s most definitive statement to date to top many album-of-the-year lists.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    “How I’m Feeling Now” is very much a continuation of the innovative futurist-pop her discography has followed over the past five years. ... It also shows this deeply talented and creatively restless artist pushing the boundaries of her music practically in real time (which one can do almost literally via her Instagram and Zoom sessions), and giving tantalizing hints of what might come next.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 86 Critic Score
    The band’s bluntest and most contagious — yet experimental — work.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 96 Critic Score
    “Fetch the Bolt Cutters” sounds as fresh as something that crossed Apple’s fertile mind 10 minutes ago. It may be way early to say it’s the most satisfying album of the year, but if there are any more to come along this good, 2020 is not going to feel like such a waste of time after all.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 92 Critic Score
    “Never Will,” is not a letdown. ... It’s McBryde as the driver that makes this the second straight country album of the year contender in a row he’s produced (coming off Brandy Clark’s very different, more stylized effort).
    • 88 Metascore
    • 92 Critic Score
    It’s an impeccably crafted, gleefully executed half-hour-plus of pop perfection that does meet the moment, maybe, in just reminding you how good it feels to be human. And to be in love. And to be in Studio 54.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It might seem over the top to say that “Gigaton” is Pearl Jam’s best or most fully realized album since ”Ten.” But to paraphrase “Pal Joey’s” rakish Frank Sinatra talking about a sexual dry spell, “29 years is a long time between drinks.” And “Gigaton” is one stiff, glorious weird and zealously melodic cocktail.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 93 Critic Score
    Extraordinary . ... A defining work from an exciting new star … even if it’s landing in a world very different from the one in which it was created.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 82 Critic Score
    Adam Lambert has made “Velvet” a testament to finding his way, personally and professionally, in what is his most accomplished solo work to date.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    “A Written Testimony” offers ample proof that none of us ever overestimated his talent, but the man behind the curtain remains as mysterious as ever. It’s nice to see that some things haven’t changed.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 96 Critic Score
    The Weeknd’s music has always been about contrasts, and here the beauty and the madness are more smoothly integrated than ever. “After Hours” is one of the most successful musicians of the past decade testing the balance between innovation and commerciality as much as anyone today.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 92 Critic Score
    Her producer, Joyce, who’s famous for working with Eric Church, knows something about country music outsiders, and together they’ve made a collection that never tries to squeeze into any radio-friendly box, all the better to be a fit and a find for life’s own jukebox, as cultivated listeners happen across it. Here’s a quarter: Brandy Clark definitely cares.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    On “Suga,” Megan Thee Stallion is mixing the cold hard steel of hip-hop power, with the teasing romanticism of mod R&B — and it looks great on her.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Throughout, the EP is marked by Letissier’s vocal and songwriting cool — even when the tempos are faster and the energy level is high, there’s a certain effortless ease to her singing and the music.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    “The Slow Rush” is arguably Parker’s most fully realized and satisfying effort to date.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 92 Critic Score
    Taut and primal, “MOTS: 7” is a kind of self-referential homage. ... Each get solo turns to shine here, their collective work is what stands out.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 93 Critic Score
    Her ultra-high, almost kewpie-doll-like voice — which sounds autotuned even when it’s not — and previous tendency toward cheerleaderesque hooks wore thin quickly and threatened to become creative dead ends. Here, she’s found ways to reshape and reinvent them — and in the process, open up a whole new realm for herself as an artist.