Buddy Holly was so vibrant and eager to take chances with his music that it's a shame so few artists on this tribute album follow his example. Paul McCartney has fun with "It's So Easy," My Morning Jacket get in the sentimental spirit of "True Love Ways," and the Black Keys strip "Dearest" to its skeletal core. But many other performers here either copy Holly's arrangements (Fiona Apple) and mannerisms (Justine Townes Earle) or muss up the songs with chaos (the Strokes' Julian Casablancas) or indifference (She & Him). The best tributes on Rave On Buddy Holly are the ones that seem to have no particular reverence for the original versions, especially in the case of McCartney's garage-style rave-up and the island rockabilly of Cee Lo Green's "(You're So Square) Baby, I Don't Care."
— Michael Gallucci