ALBUM APART offers brief and visual track by track album reviews. This is done by using the classification system shown below that transcends genres. Color, icons, and quick descriptions exhibit the most dominant characteristic of each song. Together they give a quick assessment of all of the songs on a given album.
The asterick (*) in each track description depicts the strongest characteristic in the song.
wow tracks are rated the highest which ultimately contribute to a better album score.
The rating system was designed with built-in constraints to establish a standard in how every record is reviewed. An album score consists of the album makeup, wow track makeup, and song makeup.
If every song was stunning but they didn’t gel together in some way, it’s fair to say it wouldn’t be a perfect 10. Because of this, ALBUM APART dedicates 1 point of the overall score to address the record as a whole. This single point is reserved for evaluating how cohesive an album is. Each album is looked at individually, but generally speaking, the five S’s are thought about:
Subject – What patterns were there in the album?
Structure – How were those patterns weaved throughout the album?
Sequence – How did the tracks flow together on the album?
Substance – How impactful was the album?
Signature – How original was the album?
Wow Track Makeup
The highest rated songs are wow tracks which amount to more points in this makeup (they get double the points). These are the kind of sticky tracks that we revisit and never skip. They have something to say and that something is effectively conveyed. There’s a balance or completeness to them, as if there’s nothing to add or take away. They are what elevate an album to greatness. They fundamentally “wow” us, whether we say it out loud or not.
If an album received no points from the album makeup and wow track makeup, it’s apparent that it’s not a masterpiece… but the song makeup section serves as a baseline and still recognizes the potential value the record has to whoever is listening to it, beyond the reviewer. Ultimately, this baseline is here for a few reasons.
First, it fights against the biases we all have for the artists, genres, and time periods that albums originate from. Second, the artists being reviewed are somewhat recognized at the very least (if not fully ubiquitous in the public sphere) which demonstrates they are garnering attention and likability from a large swath of people, which brings us to the third reason.
There’s something to appreciate, like, learn, and/or respect in all styles of music! The 4.5 points for the song makeup is an acknowledgment of all these things.
Here’s how each record score appears: