Saturday, May 16, 2009

Condition Critical

Something's been bugging me for a while now: how exactly do critics rate albums? Do they take into account all that goes into making a record, or do they base their reviews purely on the completed product? And if they use the former as a basis for review, where do mixtapes fall?

I personally enjoy the way XXL has set up their reviews because they break down how they review material. For me, it takes too much time to read an entire review only to be told that that critic doesn't like the album, but doesn't give any real reason. Mixtapes are an entirely different animal; they simply can't be reviewed like proper albums.

Here's how I personally rate albums:

  • Production (The beats and music have to be top - notch, but not necessarily complicated. They have to go with that artist and with the albums whole flow.)
  • Lyrics (The punchlines have to hit hard, and everthing has to engaging to the listener. Weezy's proved that not everything has to make sence if it sounds good, though. Telling a story, and telling it well, earns bonus points.)
  • Flow (Albums have to have a flow to them. Songs can't come from out of the blue when you're listening to a record. If the artist is going for a theme, they need to stick to that, and not deviate because they want to go platinum.)
  • Can I Sit Through It All The Way (Sometimes albums get tiring. This judges replay value.)
  • Hype*(This has more to do with major label releases. Can the project match or exceed its hype?)

It's a different story for mixtapes:

  • Mix (It doesn't matter if it's a mixtape; songs have to go together and not be just put someplace.)
  • Hosting (DJ Drama needs to be a feature, but he can't take over the tape.)
  • Editing (If you're trying to get put on using a mixtape, EQing doesn't hurt at all.)
  • Inventiveness* (A cool concept gets me everytime.)

Okay, I put up my two cents. Now all I need is a dollar and I can get an Arizona.