The Blurt Guide to CD Ratings

 

Or, How Numerology Saved My Reputation as
a Critic:
Too many
superlatives, not enough truth.”

 

By Bill Holmes

 

[Ed. note: Awhile back, official Blurt
meta-critic Bill Holmes asked us why we assigned starred ratings (between 1 and
10; no fractions or half stars) to the CDs we review. While our kneejerk
response ran along lines of, “Somebody eventually had to assign a one-star
rating to John Mayer’s last album…”, in truth, we don’t know! Everyone else
does it, though, and Blurt is nothing if not all about following the crowd and
never marching to a different drummer. At any rate, Holmes spent the past month
pouring over our reviews (at last count, we’d published 1,449 since June of
2008), running percentages, creating spread sheets, parsing mixed metaphors and
simplistic similes, and generally laughing himself silly, in order to come up
with a coherent guide to our ratings. You, dear readers, can now know what we
REALLY think when you spot a review on the site or in the magazine without
every bothering to read the actual review! Take it away, Brother Holmes…
]

 

 

10 – An essential
classic that will transcend its era. Think BLONDE
ON BLONDE
or STICKY FINGERS.
You’d get in a bar fight to defend your rating years later. (Would you really
do that to defend that 10 you gave No Doubt?). You consider getting a tattoo of
the album title on your bicep.

 

09 – Possibly the
apex of an artist’s career (assuming the artist is great – Kenny G’s best album
could be a 3) and a no-brainer purchase for fanatics of the genre. Lands on
your Best of the Year list without hesitation.

 

08 – Among the
best of the artist/genre; you’d definitely refer to this album when trying to
convince someone to give the artist a shot.

07 – Not perfect,
but the good outweighs the bad. You wish it were better but there are enough
enjoyable elements to spend your money and feel rewarded.

 

06 – Enjoyable
for fans of the genre, but average for others. Not going to convert the
skeptical but a fan will be glad you made them aware of it.

05 – Average,
some good but not most. You keep it but probably only play it when you come
across it in the stack. You won’t look for it on purpose that often.

 

04 – Momentary
pleasures, won’t last – not bad but not memorable. Gathers dust.

 

03 – Bland, dull,
nondescript. You’d sell it if you could only find a sucker.

 

02 – Real
problems, poor effort, lazy release. You are pissed that you spent the money
and/or wasted your time and you make a point to tell everyone it sucks.

01 – Horrible.
Embarrassing. Vapid. Hire a lawyer and sue the artist for damages.

 

 

[I hate assigning numerical value to art, but
rules are rules; after having to do so for several publications I
think this is a good overall barometer even though I still screw it up on
occasion. –
BH]

 

 

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