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Cain
04-02-2006, 09:09 PM
Hey all, I may be a little late in bringing this to the forum's attention, but I think it's important as we hope to retain a more or less professional standard as much as we can when reviewing albums.

Basically, I feel that there is an important lesson that needs to be learned by reviewers with regards to the "5" classic rating and pretty much the upper-echelon ratings from 4 to 4.5 as well. For high-rating honors, I think it's all the more imperative at this point that the reviewer in question try to keep a few other things in mind about the album they're reviewing than their own subjective opinion of its individual quality. As it stands, the "five" rating generally seems to be being thrown around far too much, in a fashion that goes beyond a level where you can argue it subjectively and where it clearly is the result, more or less, of a totally individual award of excellence by the reviewer.

As I tend to read reviews of all types, especially music and movie ones, written by professionals as a hobby (I like to check my opinions against theirs and compare insights) I think a few people, most notably Roger Ebert the movie reviewer and the reviewers for the All Music Guide compilations for various genres, have a good system for rating such things as "classic" etc.

First and foremost, the "Five" or top rating is only reserved, generally speaking, for CLASSICS. This is why the rating is listed as such: the way I see it, fives need to be more than excellent, even greater than great: they need to have had or currently have a discernable influence on the music scene in general or within their genre, which doesn't neccesarily equate to being the most successful or the most influential in the mainstream sense, but certainly requires that some attention be paid to overall influence, or innovation especially. Albums which represent clear milestones in musical evolution within the context of a genre or a band would be candidates for "fives," or contemporary albums that are commonly held to be modern greats and potentially radically influential albums could be as well. Therefore, IMO, the reviewer's perception of an album's quality alone should earn any album no higher than a 4.5: for "5" status, more attention MUST be paid to the album's broader appeal and impact than it currently does. I realize that this is all remaining very subjective and I have no problem with that, but we're at a level here where subjectivity doesn't even really enter into the equation: it's just plain misuse of the five rating which destroys its relative worth as the highest of the high ratings for excellence.

This probably goes for the higher 4 ratings as well: to be more than average, they need to represent a culmination of something, be it talent, or lyrical or musical focus, or expansion or innovation across genres or within them. 4's get more leeway in this, I feel, though, because 4s are commonly held to represent general excellence without necessarily being classic or even radically innovative.

And just FYI: All Music Guide's genre review books list one to five diamonds for individual album quality, and to signify if the reviewer feels that it is a must-own for fans of the band, they add a hollow white star next to the title, which represents an album that is a culmination of everything a band represents. If they feel that it is a must-own album for fans of a genre, they add a black star next to the rating, which then indicates an album that had a wide impact with regard to either sales, influence on later groups, the mainstream, or the genre (usually some combination of the three). This is a small detail but allows for considerable leeway in the way the reviewers rate: they are allowed to rate it at whatever quality they feel it is, and then add those stars to signify that they have considered the album's larger appeal and impact and have rewarded it accordingly. I don't see it as neccesary that we incorporate such a system here, but since not everyone is going to understand how to properly use the rating system or, more importantly, effectively justify their choice of the rating in general, it might be worth considering as an alternative or an addition, or even perhaps a replacement for the "classic" rating itself.

Thoughts? I could just be blowing out my butt again. We'll see.

Jom
04-02-2006, 09:27 PM
That's all well and good for the older crowd who want to feel like they could write for AMG or Rolling Stone, maybe, but Sputnikmusic has a significant population of younger users. These are kids, man, not communications or music majors. They review because they like to do it, not because they're professionals. People who write for AMG are paid to write. People have zero incentive to write here other than to get their opinion out. They don't need to be chained to what a professional site's standards are.

I'm probably in the minority here, but if people provide justification for their ratings, then why should we discourage them by assigning colored stars like AMG? Why should we look down upon reviewers for not following what AMG or other professional sites use? Who cares what they use? What's the big deal in having a handful of users ooze professionalism and others who write for the sake of writing and others who do it to practice writing and others who do it because they like to review, at a cost for it being not up to one's professional standards? For me, that has no cost, but some people think it's a travesty that track-by-tracks are on the site.

I'm not stating that a 5 rating for a Disturbed album is realistic. I'm just stating that if someone can write a five-star review thinking it's a five-star album, why should we discourage that at all? People who disagree will let the reviewer know accordingly.

I have a hard time believing that everyone will suddenly adopt this new style of scoring albums instantly. If they do, I'd be impressed.

EDIT: Good post though.

Liberi Fatali
04-02-2006, 09:33 PM
Well I think one area where we make up for a lack of true accuracy (in terms of rating) is by having comments, with comments we can disagree and say why. We are also allowed to submit our own blurbs or reviews of albums, once again allowing us to express our view of the album. AMG on the other hand has one review, and you can't comment or rereview it. Not a very interactive experience.

I do agree that there are too many high star ratings, but there isn't really anything that we can do about this, other can speak our minds rationally.

Cain
04-02-2006, 09:39 PM
That's all well and good for the older crowd who want to feel like they could write for AMG or Rolling Stone, maybe, but Sputnikmusic has a significant population of younger users. These are kids, man, not communications or music majors. They review because they like to do it, not because they're professionals. People who write for AMG are paid to write. People have zero incentive to write here other than to get their opinion out. They don't need to be chained to what a professional site's standards are.

I'm probably in the minority here, but if people provide justification for their ratings, then why should we discourage them by assigning colored stars like AMG? Why should we look down upon reviewers for not following what AMG or other professional sites use? Who cares what they use? What's the big deal in having a handful of users ooze professionalism and others who write for the sake of writing and others who do it to practice writing and others who do it because they like to review, at a cost for it being not up to one's professional standards? For me, that has no cost, but some people think it's a travesty that track-by-tracks are on the site.

I'm not stating that a 5 rating for a Disturbed album is realistic. I'm just stating that if someone can write a five-star review thinking it's a five-star album, why should we discourage that at all? People who disagree will let the reviewer know accordingly.

I have a hard time believing that everyone will suddenly adopt this new style of scoring albums instantly. If they do, I'd be impressed.

EDIT: Good post though.

Thanks, that's true. I guess I was feeling a little silly about it, and needed to say it so I could either be agreed with or put in my place.

Anyway, consider this simple advice or something, then. BTW: By no means was I suggesting that star thing as something to limit a user's choice to review. If anything, I feel like having a rating at all can be more trouble than it's worth considering the wealth of minute differences in opinion out there, and having that as a supplement would make it easier for people who want to rate albums "fives" but get pounced on for not living up to this and that user's idea of "classic." I was making reference to professionals because I feel like they've got the right idea about how to review stuff, and it could only help younger reviewers practice than to be aware of certain ideas about how one can review an album, especially professional ones. Because what if, then, people decide they want to review professionally because they liked it on sputnik so much? How does anybody learn to grow as a debater other than to grow aware of the way it works for older people and businesses, etc.? I'm not saying we should implement the "five rating must ONLY BE FOR UNDISPUTED CLASSICS" as a policy or something, I'm saying it should be encouraged that reviewers at least think a little more about issues like that and address them within the review.

I totally get what you're saying and was perhaps too abrasive in my initial communication of my thoughts, but eh, I just thought it would be a good guideline to go by at any rate. Something to think about. I don't want to discourage anybody, though.

Zebra
04-03-2006, 09:09 AM
I don't pay to much attention to the ratings to begin with, and half the time I'm not sure what to rate the album that I'm reviewing. I could care less how many five star reviews there are as long as they are well written and they explain why they chose to give the album a five star rating.

I do agree that there are too many high star ratings, but there isn't really anything that we can do about this, other can speak our minds rationally.

I agree with this, but I try not to pay much attention to the ratings.

Damrod
04-08-2006, 07:22 AM
I'm not saying we should implement the "five rating must ONLY BE FOR UNDISPUTED CLASSICS" as a policy or something, I'm saying it should be encouraged that reviewers at least think a little more about issues like that and address them within the review.


The thing is, Sputnik is like the forums here: I think the majority is around the early teenager regions. For them, in their era of music listening (that will only be around two years long, until the develop different tastes), the albums might be classics. It always depends what people think of when you state "classic"

Example: Just by the word 'classic', I would deem Nirvana's Nevermind a classic. Not because it was so groundbreaking musically, but because it had a major and HUGE impact on newer guitar driven music. Others deem an album classic because it's old. It always comes down to what the listener in question thinks

[/ late reply]

Killtacular
04-08-2006, 01:32 PM
Nevermind is a classic. It's just not all that great.

Classic does not automatically equal a fantastic album.

morrissey
04-08-2006, 02:04 PM
I think as long as people justify it (or attempt to justify it), any rating is fine. Be it 0.5, 3 or 5. Everyone has a different viewpoint so as long as they can explain their rating, I'm fine with it. A number is just a rough guideline anyway. Read the review to get the detailed opinion.

C20H25N3O
04-09-2006, 04:08 AM
To Me, a five has to be really good, and really inportant to the genre, If an album is great, but it didn't play a big role in advancing the genre, I'd give it a 4.5, if the album advanced the genre, but it wasn't perfect or way above average, i'd give it a 4.5.

I think all but one of my reviews are fives, and that may seem bad, but I started out only reviewing my favorite albums, but as time goes on, i'll get more diversified and review all types of albums. It's just funner to review the great ones.

Damrod
04-09-2006, 06:05 AM
Nevermind is a classic. It's just not all that great.

Classic does not automatically equal a fantastic album.

That's why I'm kind of unsatisfied with 5/5 stating classic. As excellence and extraordinary music does not necessarily equal classic album. Like in the case of Nevermind, music must not be extraordinary to be classic

Kif
04-09-2006, 09:07 AM
Most people review albums they like anyway. I've found it rare to find albums lower than 2 on Sputnik. Now, I'm not saying that's a bad thing. If you choose to review an album you like simply because there's no albums you own which you don't like, then that's fine. But if someone reviews an album which they do like, then they should have the right to give that a rating based on their own opinions of the album, and if that goes up to 4.5 or 5, then so be it.