Against all odds (but a rating system? Yes, I’m going to try it)


Now that there are more and more reviews on my site, I notice that it is becoming more difficult to make clear with words exactly how good I think an album is. Words as good, nice, fine, excellent are sometimes not sufficient to describe what I really mean. In a previous column I already explained why I have been struggling with this for a while. At that time I did not think it to be desirable to add a rating to my reviews but as I'm only human I have changed my mind. (but I condider it to be a trial for now)

The biggest problem for me is the fact that once a rating is given, it seems so definitive afterwards, while it often happens to me that a song or an entire album only dawns on me later. It also happens that I would rate an album lower at a later date than I did at the beginning.

It is the problem of every music lover who writes reviews and it also plays a role that it is often very difficult that an album  a band has worked on very hard does not touch you and therefore should receive a low rating but you cannot really do it. Bit weak I know but that's just the way I am. It's just hard for me to hurt people.

Nevertheless, I am going to make an attempt to introduce a rating system. What should that look like? I go for a grading system from 0 to 100 so for example an album can get 68 points and that is a nice score. I often see very high ratings for albums on other sites and that is of course possible, but there must be a solid perspective.

What are the frames of reference and how should you view my rating?

An album that I don't think is worth buying myself gets a rating that is below 60 points. From 60 points on, I think it's worth owning an album. I discussed in a previous column how I organize my CD collection so it helps to read that. 

From 80 points on, an album will be in my A collection and also in my annual list of the relevant year of release. So between 80 and 100 points are really the top ones for me. My favourite album ever so far is The Visitor by Arena and I would give that album  96 points at the moment (I'll come back to it). So that's really a lot for me and serves as a reference.

How do I come to the total score? I'm going to give a rating to each song individually and come to an average. Next, I'm going to see if there are any reasons to change this and I'll mention this in the review. For example, a concept that makes it better as a whole or even very nice artwork. The quality of the mix and recording can also influence the overall appreciation for the album. Shall I also give a rating for the cover? Why not, I'm going to put it at the bottom of every review.

The first album I'm going to rate is Dreams, Myths and Machines by Retreat from Moscow, click on the button to read this.

Slippery ice, I know, but the schoolmaster in me wants to try this out.

Just to be clear , the rating can always change over time! (even after years)

As you can read, I am also a bit unsure whether this is a good idea so I would really appreciate it if you as readers would let me know via facebook what you think of this. The call for this will also be posted on facebook.