Sunday, January 6, 2008

Uncle E’s Guide To Rating Albums

First things first: I believe that you should live with an album for a bare minimum of one month before you can critically and objectively score/ rate an album. Most of the ratings from consumers (on Amazon, itunes, etc) are tossed off without really thinking about it, and are usually biased based on the consumers fanaticism, or lack thereof, for the band as a whole. The already converted will usually give grace to a sub-standard album by their favorite band, and ‘professional’ critics are not immune to this phenomenon either. Neither am I. But I have come up with a system that works for me, and I try to be objective about it.

That being said, I offer you my mathematically based, very anal retentive album rating system, probably useful only to me. But, here it is anyway. At least it’s in writing…

First, divide the number of tracks of the album into 100, to get an ‘individual track percentage’. For example, if there are 12 tracks to an album, each track represents approximately 8% of that album.

Second, rate each track’s percentage on a 1-100% scale (track #1 is good, but not THAT good, I rate it at 80%). Once you rate the track at 80%, take 80% of the 8% (which would be 6.4%) and BINGO! You’ve got the individual track percentage!
Do this for each song, then ADD UP all the individual song percentages to get your OVERALL album percentage.

And lastly, if you’re using a 5 star rating system, then each star represents 20% of the whole. So, if your individual song percentages total up to, say 80%, and remembering that each star equals 20%, you’ve got yourself a FOUR STAR album!

Just for kicks, lets take a supposed ‘5 STAR ALBUM’ and dissect it using the above system, and see what happens.

ACHTUNG BABY, BY U2

12 tracks, each track is worth 8%

Zoo Station: Great opening, my favorite track on the album, earns a full 8%
Even Better Than The Real Thing: Another winner, earns a full 8%
One: They’re on a roll, another 8%
Until The End Of The World: Good, not great, a little overblown. 70% of the 8%, therefore the track earns 5.6%
Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses: A little sappy, but a good tune overall. 85% of the 8%, therefore the track earns 6.4%
So Cruel: Great atmospheric number, 95 % of the 8%, the track earns a 7.6%.
The Fly: A masterpiece, the song earns 8%.
Mysterious Ways: Back on a roll, another 8%.
Tryin’ To Throw Your Arms Around The World: Decent, if a little maudlin, 65% of the 8%. Song earns 5.2%.
Ultra Violet: The albums most underrated track, 95% of the 8%. Track earns 7.6%.
Acrobat: Great guitar atmospherics, good vocals from Bono, 90% of the 8%. Track earns 7.2%.
Love Is Blindness: Way too fey for my liking; trying to be serious and sounding like it. Because of the guitar, I give it 40% of the 8%, therefore track earns 3.2% .

Now on to the totals!

The album as a whole earned 82.8%. And remembering that each star represents 20% of the total, you’ve got a 4 STAR ALBUM!

4 comments:

Hal Johnson said...

You're right about so many reviews being just "tossed off." Interesting rating system you have there. I think it's valid, and might mitigate the ratings inflation we see at places such as Amazon.

uNCLE e said...

Amazon is probably the worst example of "preaching to the already converted" out there, Hal. Ever check out the comments after someone offers an educated, negative review? They're vicious!

Don't mess with people's music, maaaan!!

Phil Fountain said...

OK, I applied your formula to every record I've ever heard and it turns out "In A Mellow Mood" by Mr. Acker Bilk is the greatest record ever made. No question.
Hey, it's YOUR formula.

Rob said...

How much "Oregano" was rolled prior to creating this system? Seriously, what mind thinks of this!!

But actually, it is quite effective!! Thank you for creating new ways for me to waste time at work!!