I'm interested in how everyone rates songs in their reviews. This is how I rate them...
6 stars: Songs that you love the absolute shit out of, i.e. in the 95th percentile (the top 5% of your EOY list) 5 stars: Songs that you love and would not usually skip in your playlists. 4 stars: Songs that you like and would play on a reasonably regular basis. 3 stars: Songs that are ok where you don't mind hearing them but you wouldn't play them in your own time. 2 stars: Songs that you find boring or are in a style of music that you don't generally enjoy. 1 star: Songs that actively annoy you and you want to skip immediately.
6 stars songs that chart in my top 5 5 stars top 10 4 stars top 20 3 stars songs that make my top 50 2 stars songs I don't like that much but do tolerate rarely these songs scrape in my top 50 1 star songs I cannot stand
I don't listen so much to mp3s but in terms of music videos as a form of music i don't have a star system but i would have three categories. Good, Bad and Indifferent. Good would probably be akin to what people put as a 5 or 6 star i.e something i can listen to and never grow tired of it. Indifferent is what people would put as a 2 or 3 star meaning don't love it, don't hate it...might listen from time to time to bring back the memory of the song and bad is just well bad...nothing redeemable about it
You know, I haven't reviewed a song on here for a very long time, but I remember when I signed up for this website thinking how strange it was to have a scoring system out of 6.
In the last 5 years or so, I have listened to so much music that it is honestly quite difficult to keep track of all of it, and most music I listen to I'm just mostly indifferent towards, so I don't find it particularly worthwhile writing reviews about it.
I may do it again someday, but I would only bother reviewing songs on which I have a well-thought through opinion of. These would usually be my favourite and least favourite songs of the year, as well as songs I have just been exposed to so much that I know them back-to-front and can break down bit-by-bit into an interesting review.
Now considering that most of the reviews I have written are very old at this point, I don't think you can use this guide and compare it to some of my very old reviews, especially since I had a tendency to overrate and underrate things, particularly early on. If I had the time, I would go back and adjust all the songs I have rated during my time using this site, but even during a nationwide lockdown, it has never really been at the top of my to-do list.
In general, though, this is how I use the 6-star rating system:
6 stars: My absolute favourite songs of all-time. These are the songs I would consider the "classics", which are usually incredibly innovative and original, or do such an amazing job at what it sets out to do that I could basically listen to it at any time in any mood and just love it. I reckon there would only be 100-150 songs that I have ever listened to that would fall into this category. The best of the best.
5 stars: These are songs I love, but are not right up in the top echelon for me. Most songs that appear in my top 40 or so of the year would be in this category. As we all know, there are songs you can like a lot without considering them your favourite songs ever, and that is what this tier is for. These can also be songs that just do a very good job at what they set out to do, but don't quite reach greatness (not that all songs need to strive for that), or can just have that one little element that has it falling shy of 6 stars. No shame in a 5 star rating though.
4 stars: There are usually songs I just like, and if I heard it on the radio or on a streaming service, I would listen to it the whole way through and enjoy it, and then save it to my liked songs and add it to a playlist, while also keeping an ear out for future releases from that artist. Songs that usually fall into this category can be songs that don't set out to achieve much but end up being catchy, enjoyable and slightly unique in its own way, or songs that have admirable qualities from a critical perspective, but wouldn't necessarily be songs I come back to a lot. Most songs that appear from 50 onwards in my year-end list (but not necessarily all songs if it is a strong year) would be in this category.
3 stars: As you guessed, the "average" category. Songs that I don't particularly care for, but aren't bad. On some occasions, there can be songs which have both great and awful qualities that cancel each other out, and ends up in the middle. I'd ay about two-thirds of the music I listen to falls into this category.
2 stars: Songs I dislike, whether that be due to the performance, instrumental, songwriting or numerous other aspects. These are songs I would never want to listen to again, and can also include songs which I can find overrated to an aggravating extent. Put simply, if I just don't like it, it goes here.
1 star: This is a rating that I perhaps abused a little in my earlier years here, but I see it as the flip of the 6 star rating in that only 100-150 songs I have ever heard honestly deserve this rating. This is mostly reserved for songs where the composition/performance of it is woefully incompetent, and/or the songwriting and messaging could have potentially damaging cultural and artistic impacts. To put it briefly, these are songs that have no redeeming factors and should be actively discouraged.
If I went back and re-did my scores, I would say there would be quite a few songs changing from a 6* -> 5*, a 5* -> 4* and a 1* -> 2*. As for the lower scores, there are a lot of songs I would give a 2* rating which I strongly dislike, but I am well into the point in my life that I don't go around abusing people for liking that music or making them feel bad for it, nor do I think that the musicians should be "attacked" for the music they make (unless they fit in that 1 star category I was mentioning, but even then, I don't think that is the way you should handle your dislike of that music).
The way I see it, if someone's music is bringing joy and happiness to another person's life, I see no reason to begrudge either person of that, I sure know that not everything I like is necessarily artistically ambitious. If more people approached music discussion in this way, with more polite disagreement and constructive discourse, I think the world would be a much better place
Given that I was actually involved in the Swiss academic system a few years back, I'm fairly familiar with this as an academic grading system. I suppose that it never occurred to me, since most rating systems I have seen regarding the arts, mainly film and music, involve a rating system out of 4, 5 or 10 (or even 100), so I thought this website was just going for something a bit different.
When you pointed it out, I remembered that this website was founded in Switzerland (Hung Medien) and I was able to connect the dots as to why this rating system is in place. Good to know