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Explanation of the Rating System

Just like in school!

The rating system seems to be the big lynchpin of all the record review sites on the web. Some go for a minimalist, 1-10 'star' scale, some for a more advanced scheme involving rating the group, adjusting individual album scores by band score, some algorithm that tries to justify higher or lower ratings.

Here's what I'm going to do. My system is based on the A+ to F grade scale just like back in high school. Its easy to judge at a glance, is flexible, and short. There will be no band ratings, which IMHO only doubly punishes bad records by less than stellar artists and doubly rewards good albums by higher quality artists. What's the point of widening the spread? I will also not limit an artist to a single maximum rating of A+, but will award a 'best purchase' for each group. All groups are measured on an absolute scale, meaning, an A+ for the Beatles is equal to an A+ for Britney Spears (though don't hold your breath on finding the later rating on this site any time soon.)

I will allow for readers to submit ratings along with their comments, which will be averaged and displayed as the 'Reader Rating' after enough have accumulated. I hope all of you will participate in this once I get it up and running.

Here's the breakdown of what each rating means:

is an album that belongs in every record collection, according to me. Only the highest combined levels of songwriting, lyrical, and performance quality, or maybe musical adventure may qualify. Or, an album that provokes such a strong positive emotional reaction from me that the above categories are deemed unimportant. Buy this album if you have any interest in the style of music performed on the album. Fuck interest. Buy this perfect thing right now. Everything rock music is about.

albums are those that nearly meets the criteria above. A faulty song or component may drop an otherwise perfect album to this grade. Anyone would probably like this album unless they are opposed to the style. Entertaining, fun, important, original, catchy, memorable. A near classic. I say buy it.

is a dang good album that somehow lacks in an important area, or has some fundamental problem. A seriously crappy song may reduce an A+ album to this level. A good part of it is excellent, though, and you'll have a great time listening to it. Not a bad introduction to a new group, maybe.

albums have some lame songs, or bad performances, or clanky lyrics, but in general are so much fun that you'll want to give the album repeat listenings. A good effort by an otherwise bad band, maybe...or a second rate album by a fine group. A worthy purchase nonetheless, if you like the artist in question. Considerable if you are interested in a new artist.

albums show definite problems and are difficult to wholeheartedly recommend. They are usually half successful. In a good mood I may want to play such an album, but for the most part it is really a second rate effort. Bands usually have higher rated albums, so this is better for a later, rather than introductory purchase. An artist whose highest rated album is a B has definite problems.

albums are still recommended as secondary purchases but have serious issues that may turn off certain listeners. A fan may find a lot to love, but to the average listener it may be boring or disappointing. Still has some merit, though, and may provide entertainment. Some B- albums may have considerable emotional power, but may have technical problems with performance, etc. or may be highly professional genre exercises that lack depth.

albums have fundamental problems that infringe on the listenability or enjoyability of the album. Often these records are failed experiments or incompetent genre exercises. Real fans will enjoy some of the songs, and the album may contain one or two excellent tracks, but as a whole must be considered mediocre.

albums hold almost no interest for non-fans of the artist. May contain a good song or two, but has real problems with enjoyability and emotional impact.

albums have serious problems that may be partially redeemed by a few competent, but not outstanding, tracks. Even fans will have problems finding much worth in these albums. Not recommended.

,, and albums show varying degrees of badness and unlistenability. No one should subject themselves to these albums unless they are completists or real masochists. Possibly a listenable song somewhere along the line. One may finish listening to a D+ album, but a D- album will probably find itself stopped halfway.

albums are a blight and are enjoyed by a very small group of very strange people. Completely not recommended. Will probably be impossible to listen to any of the tracks all the way through. No listenable songs. A noticeable lack of any emotional feeling, performance ability, songwriting strength, catchiness, guitar solos, cool noises, interest. Truly nothing good here.

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