As you may have noticed, our song reviews have a brand new format with features that you’ve never seen on our site before. In essence, the reviews are now tied to a number-based system. Weird, right? But there’s no need to worry. Below, you’ll find an explanation as to how we come up with the score and what it implies about the track in question.
First, the Grand Total score is divided into five sections worth 10 points each:
Originality attempts to determine how new and forward-thinking the track in question is. Does it explore new avenues in the genre? In the context of the artist’s own background, is it a recycled version of their other songs? Have I heard the same, basic song before? If the artist in question is playing it too safe, the score might be slightly lower than if they took a risk and tried to break the mold in some way.
Songwriting takes a closer look at the track’s composition, including how effective the overall structure and “story” is toward impacting the listener. Is the song engaging or stale? Is the arrangement appropriate and exciting or more hollow and lacking? The track in question can be the most unique one in the genre, but if the songwriting leaves the listener feeling disconnected and wanting more, its score in this category might be lowered.
Post-production is a category that’s especially important for dance music, as sound design, sound quality, mixing, and mastering factor greatly into a track’s overall presence and power, both at live shows and at home. In this section, writers will consider the song’s attention to clarity. Are the sonics capable of being played at clubs and festivals as well as through headphones? Is the mix clean and tight or blurry and missing some crispness?
Replay Value is the most self-explanatory of the five sections. In this category, writers will give more points based on the track’s ability to make the listener return again and again. Is it approachable enough to keep coming back to? Does diving deeper into the track provide more details than they noticed at first? They’ll consider whether the song will be able to stand the test of time, or if it will grow tired after a few weeks of listening.
Subjectivity is the final section, and gives the writer 10 points to use solely as they see fit. This is where their own preferences and personal tastes come into play. Is this song something that they would listen to off the clock? Will they remember this song after they’re finished reviewing? What do they think, themselves?
Writers will begin by considering each section to be a “5,” and will add or subtract point accordingly throughout their listening experience. Giving out “10”s will be very rare, and will be reserved for only the best and most incredible productions. If a writer finds themselves thinking a song is 10/10 perfect across the board, or that it’s truly terrible and deserves several zeros, they’ll first run the song by another staff member to receive a second opinion and temper their judgment.
Above all, the new system is being put into place to more fairly and objectively determine the quality of the music that passes through our site. If you disagree with the final score, you’ll now be able to search section by section and find out exactly why the writer gave the amount of points they did. Rather than loosely base our reviews off of our own preferences and our mood at the given time of writing, we feel that implementing the new system will add balance to the process and make our analyses more accurate.