Albums to watch

The Justin Timberlake: cleaner but not necessarily better

The week in ADM

Michael Palmer reflects on the week's notable album action in the ADM chart

It's been a big week for comebacks. In the 20 years since mucking about on The Mickey Mouse Club with all the other famous people from the 2000s, The Justin Timberlake has done some stuff. He was in one of the biggest boy bands ever, he released an alright solo album, he brought sexy back, he released a fantastic solo album, he got good enough at acting he could drop the "The" (it's cleaner) and now he's released his first music for six and a half years.

But is it any good? Nobody knows. Well a lot of people do know, but when you mix them together all you're left with is a confusing mush, sort of resembling a 7.2 average. The Arts Desk, Sputnik, BPM, Paste and Pitchfork all love it enough to rate it higher than an 8. They praise how bold it is and its respect for the pop roots it nods to. All Music, Slant, The Quietus, BBC and Pop Matters all hate it enough to rate it 5 or below. They mock how self-centred it is and say the songs are long and boring.

The week's next big comeback was The Strokes. Actually they released an album as recently as March 2011, but it's still a comeback because most people wished they hadn't. So have they finally got over the burden of a debut album people love too much? Nope. They average a 6.3. Six respectable 8/10s are no match for four quite brutal 4/10s. Maybe next time.

In "bands you have to look up how to spell every time" news, Phosphorescent's "heartrending" and "heartbreaking" album charted with a 7.9 overall. A 10/10 from State, backed up with 9s (pretty much) from Paste, AV Club and Pitchfork should go some way to easing Matthew Houck's break-up-blues.

Our jury of critics is very divided on Daughter, whose debut album is either loved or hated. State, music OMH and gave it 10/10 and thirteen sources rated it 8/10 or higher. However with no middle ground in the scores, its average is weighed down by a few 6s, a 5 (NME) and a 4 (The Observer) so it sits on a 7.7.

Elsewhere: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's new effort is only managing a 5.8 average. Peace started the week strongly, but a 5 and a 4 dragged it down. Deptford Goth's 10 from Artrocker is balanced by its 4 from Mojo. And No Ripcord and The Daily Telegraph bring John Grant's 10/10 count to a very impressive seven, closing in on our All-Time-Chart-Topper Frank Ocean's tally of nine. With a US release in May, can he beat Kanye's amazing record of fourteen?

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