For those who were ever curious as to how I approach my ratings on my blog this is the lowdown. As stated on the blog the ratings I give are merely on opinion and not the word of God so if have ever had a project that I rated and it had a low score please don’t take it personally. While I may have rated albums with low scores over the years I also still give airplay to those bands if possible and I appreciate the work that a artist puts into their work regardless if the music connects with me or not. But, this is basically what goes into my ratings;
The first thing I notice is artwork. While artwork is not the be all end all to a bands identity or music it does serve as a pre-cursor as to whether or not I think it looks interesting and whether or not I want to delve further into the album. Often I feel that if a band puts forth a concerted effort to have good artwork it means they are serious about the music they create or perform. Granted, in some cases depending on the style of music the art will often reflect that but to be honest the more thought put into artwork the more interested I become.
Since the dawn of the internet age the influx of bands/artists that I have access to now is virtually tenfold. And with that comes a lot of copycats and clones. Sure, its almost impossible in this day and age to really set a band apart from the slew of bands before them. But, there are those that can take those influences and make it their own. Whatever deviations a band can come up with that at least makes it their own is worth the price of admission. Technicality from the vocals all the way to the drums plays a significant part in how a band can separate itself from the pack.
In every genre you will have hundreds if not thousands of bands right there with you. Often times you will have what I call you’re A grades, B grades, C grades, and so on. With this in mind I will rate an album based on how it compares to others in the same genre. So if a nu-metal band for instance puts out a record to which I score it a 7 or 8 (being good) it doesn’t necessarily mean that I love that record or will play it endlessly. It just means that among its peers in the same genre it qualified having a high score because it may have been better than others ive heard in the same genre.
Its very rare when a band puts out an album that has 13-17 songs on it that it will get a 8 or better score wise. The reason for that is its incredible difficult for a band to sustain the momentum that they may have on a particular record. More times than not a band will have what I call “filler” songs that while may be decent are not as good as the few tracks that stand out. Sometimes a band can hurt their scores simply by having too many tracks to go through which at times can kill the overall feeling of the record. Same with albums that only have 3-5 songs on them. Often times I feel bad about a rating because if they band had just cut 2-3 tracks from the record the score would have been higher. But, those are not my call to make.
Production will always play a major part in how I generate my ratings. Keep in mind this excludes demo work and only applies to actual albums and EP’s. While certain genre’s rely heavily on raw sound and production I have learned over the last 10 years that there are ways to accomplish that without making it sound like crap. Often times I get into debates with friends when it comes to production because of personal taste. But for this guy the more power and oomph you give your music the longer I will give it a fair listen.
So this is my approach to how I do ratings every week. I am not a musician and have never claimed to be and I know that music in general is subjective but I still try to be as fair as possible in my assessments when doling out the ratings. Keep in mind I hear literally on average 10-15 albums a week and out of those maybe 4-6 bands are familiar names with the rest being bands I am unfamiliar with. The reality is there are countless bands out there, many whom I have yet heard so whether or not your score was flattering do know that at least you were unique enough to grab my attention in order to be mentioned.