:: Music reviews and ratings

For music reviews, Melody Cafe gives three number ratings on a scale of 1 to 10. A rating of “10” is roughly equivalent to saying, “this is superb; music cannot imaginably get any better than this.” A rating of “1” means “this causes me to lose hope for mankind.” A rating of “5” means average. Note that this does not mean mediocre (see definition #2). By “average,” I mean the average quality of CDs you see being offered in a large CD shop. Taking an average of artists who have made it to major labels, I would say that the average quality of music is above mediocre (there are individual exceptions of course). The rating scales:

MC G-factor: this number is given based on how good I think the music is. By “good,” I mean production quality, singing quality (for vocal CDs), melody, strength of songwriting, integration of instruments, etc.

MC L-factor: this number is given based on how much I like the music. I (like most people) like music for many different reasons, not necessarily because it’s good, although that is often a factor.

Fan factor: this number is given based on how the average person who is already a fan of the singer/artist/band/group would likely rate the work. The fan factor will tend to be higher because a fan has bias in favor of an artist they already like and know.

None of these ratings have priority over the other. They are meant as a reference point for you, the reader, to figure out how I feel about a particular piece of work. Everyone has different opinions. If I”m reviewing something, of course it’s all in reference to my own biases.

but…what does it all mean?

Having a “G” and “L” rating are attempts to separate what is good from what I like. It’s my firm belief that the two are not equivalent. For instance, what you respect in a leader and what you prefer in a best friend can be two widely different things. Similarly, what you respect about a musician’s songwriting can be different from what you like to listen to for fun.

In general, when the “G” rating is much higher than the “L” rating, it means that I don’t like the CD as much as I recognize it is probably a good piece of work.

When the “G” rating is much lower than the “L” rating, it’s what you call a guilty pleasure — something that you know isn’t so good, for example smoking, but that you enjoy on some level anyway.

aren’t you still biased (toward what you like) when you rate “how good” something is?

Yes, of course. What you like and what you think is good can never be completely separated. What you think is “good” comes from who you are as a person. That plays into your personality, the kind of music you grew up with, the values you hold, the reasons you listen to music, etc…

then why have number ratings at all?

If we have imperfect standards, should we throw them away and have none at all? The numbers you find on this site are merely markers, indicators, that tell you about how I feel about music. Some reviewers prefer to do away with numbers and ratings completely. I feel that it’s better to know how a reviewer feels about something in relation to how they feel about other things. If you find that you agree with my reviews, then this site will be more useful to you in terms of music recommendations and the like. Ultimately, it’s just another resource.

Friday, March 2nd, 2012 About

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