Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What's the Deal With Album Ratings?

You probably wouldn't agree that The Wombats are worth a 7.8, Humbug is an 8.4, or the next album I'm going to review is worth a score of 4.9; yes, there is a bit of bias in my reviews, but its not that there is no rhyme or reason to it. Considering the hundreds of albums released every year (most of them being crap), to a typical listener and without any regard to their own tastes, a score of 8 is just "worth giving a chance". A 7 is also worth a chance, but it kind of depends on your taste. A 6 is alright, but it REALLY depends on your taste. Basically, I'm not saying that you have no musical taste if you don't agree.

And on that note, I should point out is that this is not Pitchfork. I actually happen to dislike a lot of stuff that Pitchfork seems to love, so my rating system reflects a different look on music, think of a 6 as a "passing grade", anything less is not necessarily "bad", but rather, if you didn't hear it, you're not missing much. That being said, not only do I rate albums based on my tastes, but I also take into account the staying power of each album. Will people be talking about this years from now? Will people being comparing a band's new work to this album in the future?

Without further ado, how about I clear up some confusion:

10 : Absolutely perfect
The greatest album ever made, you absolutely must hear this and love it or risk losing your elitist cred. Pitchfork tends to pump these out every now and then (Kiss: Alive? Seriously?), but as much of a positive person as I am, I try to find something to pick at. It just bothers me to think of music that is "perfect", especially since everyone has different tastes. This rating will never be given out.

9 : Brilliant
One of the best albums of the decade. This album was part of a generation of music that defined an entire genre. For years to come, future albums will be compared to this. I could recommend this to anyone getting into a certain type of music. But again, that doesn't necessarily mean everyone would like it.

8 : Excellent
One of the best albums of the year. Chances are, you've heard of this album and it got a great deal of praise. If you are a fan of this type of music, you should definitely check it out. Albums like this are generally cited as either the essentials of their genre or ocassionally referred to as rare gems that are still hold up even to this day.

7 : Great
One of the best albums of the season. From here on out, opinions start to split. These are the albums that either don't get a lot of exposure or get mixed reviews. Critics could hate them, but they would always have their dedicated fans. During a slow season, this is the stuff that stood out. Give their singles a try and if you like them, give the album a go.

6 : Good
One of the best albums of the month. When waiting for the next big LP from your favourite sell-out band, you might have missed this rare gem. Again, albums of this calibur tend to have mixed reactions. Critics could hear some great jams, while you just hear noise, or it could also be the other way around. If you listen to similar artists, you might find something that you like.

5 : Average
One of the best albums...of the week? Not bad. For a big-name group, it could be a massive disappointment, but for a really underground indie act, its a decent-enough start. You might not have heard of these guys unless you regularly dig around this genre of music.

4 : Fair
One of the best albums...of a single-given day? From here on out, I really can't recommend this type of music unless you really liked a certain band and even then I could see you saying this isn't their best work. Albums of this calibur are not awful, they might have some good singles for instance. However, the majority of the album happens to be very weak in some crucial areas. That being said, it still is miles ahead of most of the crap that the music industry squeezes out every five minutes.

3 : Poor
To get a score this high, the album must be doing something right. This could be a very good single or is decent in one area such as rhythm or lyrics or some cool radio static. There is definitely room for improvement here, but then again you're looking at a project that is average at best.

2 : Bad
I can find very little going for this album. It doesn't even matter if I'm spiting it for ripping off some style of music for monetary gain since it probably can't even do that right. It might have one song that is almost tolerable, but that's about it.

2.0 and below: Awful
Much like how I won't give a perfect 10, I can't give a flat 0.0 either; I'll try to find something that this album does almost sort-of okayish. These "efforts" have no tolerable songs and are almost impossible to listen to. I could recommend them to you only if you hate yourself and are interested in what truly horrible music sounds like. That being said, I'm not going to be a hater on some band that is widely liked, but I'll be more than happy to pick on someone that is universally disliked (Bieber for instance).

Well, I hope that clears a few things up. Plus, I should probably mention that up until now that I've reviewed a few albums that I really like that most critics don't, so I understand the mixed reactions. Now, how about I review an album that I don't like, but a lot of critics do? Also, I'm interested in what you would say is an album that you really like that most people don't. I'm willing to give anything a second chance.


  1. I'd find some albums worth a 0.0...

  2. Screw other people's opinion on albums, I'll listen to it myself and decide.

  3. I like the scale, and I like the open minded-ness. Approved!

  4. So many times, I see negative reviews, and then find myself with a new favorite song. I've learned to take any music opinion with a grain of salt. Fortunately, that works well with your scale.

  5. B-but think of the children!

  6. Just find out for yourself...
    They can be a good guide, but that's it - a GUIDE

  7. It's just like a book, some will like it, others won't.

  8. i strongly believe the wombats is a 9.9

  9. Gimme an example of a 10. For me a 10 is Sepultura's "Arise". I bet you don't even know about the existence of this band, probably it will be just a lot of crap for ya... but who gives a fuck i cum everytime i listen to them, so chill out dewd what's the point on quantifying a musical piece of work.

  10. this is very very subjective..

  11. the scale working is nice, but subjective... Although it does help rating things :)
    keep up the good work :)

  12. Great blog! Keep the good stuff comming.