Variety's Scores

For 60 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 91% higher than the average critic
  • 0% same as the average critic
  • 9% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 10.6 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Music review score: 83
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 56 out of 60
  2. Negative: 0 out of 60
60 music reviews
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    You have to buy the White Album again. ... [Giles Martins' remix is] a secondary attraction. You come to hear multiple alternate versions of material that could be and was played live by a rock band ... or sounded just as complete in hootenanny form in the all-acoustic demos. ... Tracing the small lyrical changes is a delight.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 82 Critic Score
    The group has scaled down a bit (how much bigger could they get?) writing, rhapsodizing and crooning about lighter topics than usual. Similarly, the group--along with co-producers Rich Costey (Interpol), Mike Elizondo (Eminem, Fiona Apple) and Timbaland (Jay-Z, Missy Elliott)--has also changed up its sound with a mix of electro-punkish riffs and sprightly beats filtered into its densely layered orchestration. ... Refocusing their ambitions in a way that won’t alienate fans but also keeps them anticipating whatever might come next.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Dragons’ producers Alex da Kid and Mattman & Robin have tamped down the epic flourishes and thudding bottom end that marked this album’s predecessor, “Evolve,” resulting in a more direct sound and message.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 93 Critic Score
    It shouldn’t come as any huge surprise that in a year when Ashley McBryde and Kacey Musgraves have been responsible for the genre’s finest records, a strength-in-female-numbers Pistol Annies collection would turn out to be 2018’s best country album. As an alternately droll and affecting wallow in and cure for the blues, it beats the hell out of a recreational Percocet.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Even absent a lone alternate of “Idiot Wind” that somehow fell between the cracks, it’s a profound look into the difficult birthing of an acknowledged masterwork in Dylan’s canon.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 55 Critic Score
    He paved his own lane by being his weird self, but sadly, on “Nuthin’ 2 Prove,” Yachty’s guilty of following the crowd.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    King has gotten a pretty good album out of a pretty bad spell, and we can use her candor and her voice--not just figuratively but literally, since those bluesy, gutsy tones rarely make it into any kind of rock and roll these days, much less the alternative kind.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 93 Critic Score
    The album is on the elegant side, to be sure, but it’s elegance with a distinct pulse, as the Imposters lean into soulful swing and Costello avoids the outright belting that you either loved or didn’t in the ’90s to do the most nuanced cooing and yelping of his career. ... A great cake of an album that doesn’t really sound that much like any of the 30 before it.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It’s throwback-y in spades, but bears such a personal stamp in a world of cookie-cutter male competitors, that it still feels like Church is moving country forward.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Take my recommendation and forget about the most deeply conceptual parts of this concept album--which just seems like a lot of work--and enjoy the many parts of Trench that don’t require a thirst for symbolic origin stories. There are plenty of these, like “Morph” and “My Blood,” which sport falsetto R&B hooks, somewhat in the tradition of the previous album’s best track, “Heavydirtysoul.”
    • 84 Metascore
    • 92 Critic Score
    It’ll clearly be her fourth consecutive record to be nominated for a Grammy for best jazz vocal album… and maybe her third in a row to win. If there were such a thing as a Grammy for best jazz piano album, The Window should rightfully be up for that, too, because keyboardist Sullivan Fortner is an equal--and equally spectacular--partner through all 17 tracks, regardless of whether he gets cover billing.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 68 Critic Score
    You can enjoy the album and still wish that producer Taylor had done more to put a new or distinctive signature on this time-honored material. Well, actually, he adds one trademark touch fairly often: The overt AutoTune phasing that made his collaboration with Cher on 1998’s “Believe” so memorable returns here any number of times.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The good news: Musically, despite the age of some of the songs, V is fresh, flush and even frenetic at times, with the crunch of the Southern trap and ropey rap-rock sounds that Wayne pretty much started in the first place.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Despite its subject matter and context, The Hex is by no means a grim listen. It’s very much a continuation and, inevitably, a conclusion of the fine solo work Richard Swift did in the past, and a fitting and self-aware cap on a career that ended far too early.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 93 Critic Score
    This album takes you under the piano, so to speak, witnessing genius casually at work.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 62 Critic Score
    For every three sweet nothings like “Time will never wait on us but it never can age our love” (from “Stan”), there remains a “Life without my love is a slant rhyme / That mean it works out but it ain’t quite,” dulling the moment.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    McCartney is very much interested in keeping things lively, if not always lusty, while making room for the kind of quieter reflections heard back on 2005’s “Chaos.”
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Kamikaze may not be flawless, but it comes closer than he has in years.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Ariana Grande’s fourth and most delightful album.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    An epic 19-track collection that stands as her best and boldest recorded work to date.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    At 17 tracks, Astroworld is not without filler--the 21 Savage feature “NC-17” is tiresomely sophomoric, while “Can’t Say” and “Houstonfornication” never really take shape--but rarely does the album feel lazy or uninspired.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 86 Critic Score
    It’s in Miller’s melodious baritone, stark mantra flow that Swimming is most effective--a simple, stately, poetic autobiography.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The Southern-fried flows on “Nonstop” and “Mob Ties” may raise eyebrows, but they also show off Drake’s versatility; “Summer Games” and “In My Feelings” cast Drake’s signature nocturnal musings over interesting new textures; and Jay-Z and Ty Dolla $ign both bring welcome energy to their guest slots. But it’s hard to listen through the entire expanse without performing a backseat edit, and even after several spins, too much of the album remains an indistinguishable muddle.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 95 Critic Score
    As strong and revealing as the bare-bones collection is, it’s hard to imagine a Coltrane freak who won’t want to plunk for the deluxe version. It affords one of the deepest looks available at the way Trane addressed creative choices in the studio. No less than three more versions of “Impressions” are heard on the second disc, and they are the best advertisement for the two-disc package. ... Is its belated arrival a godsend? Absolutely.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    If you have just enough residual idealism that you think you might enjoy even a temporary respite from our collective growl in 2018, Passwords feels a bit like one of those Records We Could Use Right Now. .. It turns out, he makes about as good a re-enfranchised romantic as he did a disappointed one.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Both artists’ high standards guarantee that the songs are musically and melodically on point.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Sophie combines sweet pop melodies and sounds with absolutely hideous noise--grinding, clanking, blaring, burbling, blurting, unpleasant and jarring sounds, wildly autotuned voices--to create a form of pop music that, if not entirely new, may never before have been presented in such extreme fashion.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The general rule for Liberation is that the less hard Aguilera sounds like she’s trying, the more enjoyable the album is.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 94 Critic Score
    It’s a real album, with an arc and continuity. Lost & Found is one of those rare records that’s adventurous but can also appeal to that aunt or sister-in-law or Grammy voter who finds a new artist they like every 15 years.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    A mind-boggling host of collaborators are along for the ride yet the album-- including Bhasker, Malay (Frank Ocean, Zayn), Rostam (Vampire Weekend), Emile Haynie (Lana Del Rey, Eminem, Bruno Mars), even Skrillex--and the vision never feel like they’re anyone’s but hers, and the title track, “Deep End,” “Sex Money Feelings Die” and especially “Last Piece” and “Utopia” are easily among the best songs she’s ever done.
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