As those who've regularly read the blog over the last two years know, I am in constant struggle with the notion of a grading system. I like grades. They're nice, in the arcane sense of the word. But I can no longer be bothered by trying to pick the inane differences between a B+ and an A-, between a C+ and a B-, etc. And, really, what's the point in giving an album an A- instead of an A? Yes, one of them is better than the other, and there are differences, but they are going to be personal. Is High Violet an A-, an A, or an A+? Well, it's not an A+. That's a completely different thing. But you see my point.
I'm making a change today to a different, less-precise system. The new rating system is by no means revolutionary, you've seen it in other places, but here we go, from highest to lowest:
Masterpiece- Perfection. The album transcends the idea of genre. Albums will likely only earn this "grade" in hindsight.
Highly Recommended- An exemplary album, often appealing to those who don't enjoy the genre.
Recommended- If you like this type of music, you will like this album.
Genre-Exercise- If you are enthralled by a type of music, or by the band behind this album, you'll likely still enjoy it. Otherwise, there's not much here.
Slim-Pickins- There may be a song or two worth your time, but as a whole, there is no cohesion, nothing really impressive, nothing to stand out.
Awful- Nothing about it to recommend. At all.
No Line On the Horizon- Only the most execrable albums earn this. The album is not only terrible, but it dares to insult you by clearly considering itself to be a masterpiece. Your life will be worse for having listened to this piece of trollop. You will have lost an hour of time you will want desperately to retrieve, but you never, ever will.