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April 9, 2009 | by  | in Music |
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Kim’s New Album Rating System

There were some heated responses to my review of Morrissey’s album, Years of Refusal, on the Salient website the other week. In the wake of the comments that I received I have been inspired to devise a new album rating system to aid the readers of my reviews in the future. In addition to my take on an album, each of my reviews will now include 3 different ratings as well.

The first rating will be a gross generalisation of how I think a mainstream music listener (watches C4, probably had fun at Homegrown) would score the album. For this rating I will use a simple star ranking system, with five stars being the best possible score and one star being the worst. There will be no use of half-stars, so there will only be five possible scores that can be awarded.

The second rating will reflect my opinion of what a standard, but hopefully open-minded indie kid (reads Pitchfork, likes Belle & Sebastian, appreciates some hip-hop) would think of the album. Naturally I will employ Pitchfork’s 0.0 – 10.0 scoring method, which is very specific. This system inherently allows for plenty of comparison, discussion and bemusement. For instance, Pitchfork’s review of Daft Punk’s Discovery (6.4) suggests that that album is significantly worse than Squarepusher’s Music is Rotted One Note (9.8). Hah!

The third rating will give you my personal opinion of an album. At the end of the day, when I narrow things down as much as possible, there can only be three categories that an album can fall into.

The first category is ‘Disposable’. ‘Disposable’ albums are of no interest to me. If, for whatever reason, I’m not feeling the album at the time that I review it, it will probably be ‘Disposable’. Some pretty decent albums will be given the ‘Disposable’ label, so please remember; this rating is simply an honest reflection of the fact whether I feel like listening to an album regularly or not.

The second category will be ‘Makes the iPod’. Some shitty albums are on my iPod, because I derive some form of value from them, however minor. I will probably end up looking like a hypocrite, because sometimes I will give an album a bad review, but still put it onto my iPod. Context can also play a major role in determining what goes onto my iPod. Sometimes I listen to a lot of Hip-Hop. Sometimes I feel nostalgic for 60’s pop. Sometimes I am in love, and sometimes I am heart-broken.

Albums falling under the third category will be designated as works of ‘Genius’. Few albums will receive this special form of commendation. Albums will be given this rating if I feel that they are in some way spectacular. ‘Genius’ albums are likely to have some kind of unfathomable quality that makes them seem timeless. Kid A is the best example of a ‘Genius’ album that I can think of. Late Registration is also a work of ‘Genius’.

Yes, this probably sounds like it will be an incredibly self-indulgent, overly complicated, self-congratulatory system. That’s because it is. However, this system also has some genuine merits. Firstly, I think it will be fun to use, and secondly, I think it will be honest. I should also point out that I do not think my opinions are in any way more valid than those of anyone else. At the end of the day, they are just opinions, and opinions are fickle, changeable, stupid things. I also hope that this system will spark some debates, or at least get people thinking. Do we like an album just because Pitchfork tells us it is good? Do we like a song because it got played lots over our favourite summer? Do we like a song because it’s on rotation everywhere, all of the time? Or do we like a song because it helped us get over a break-up?

Ultimately, this system allows me to poke fun at myself, as well as at everyone else. I know I’m just not quite cool enough to be a true scenester indie kid, but at the same time I sure as hell don’t have conventional or mainstream views on music. Music is weird, and subjective, and beautiful. That is why I love it, so why not have fun? Let’s not take things too seriously, okay?

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Comments (3)

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  1. Al Gangbang says:

    “Yes, this probably sounds like it will be an incredibly self-indulgent, overly complicated, self-congratulatory system. That’s because it is.”

    It also sounds patronising to your readers. I do not believe you can categorise music lovers into such compartments. Perhaps instead you should try improving the words you write to communicate a more substantial and illustrative summary/interpretation of the albums your review.

  2. hey says:

    shut the fuck up boy. you are starting to piss me off.

  3. theboss says:


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