There’s been a couple recent questions about how I score albums, so here’s a guide with a few companion albums.

98-100: Among the best albums ever recorded. (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Blood on the Tracks)

95-97: A special recording with remarkable ambitions exceeded only by execution. Among the best recordings of the decade. (The Blueprint, After the Gold Rush)

92-94: An exemplary album without apparent weaknesses; a frontrunner among the year’s best. (Blond, Tracy Chapman)

89-91: An exceptional, multifaceted record where its composite greatness overwhelms its subtle faults. A candidate for the best of the year. (Coloring Book)

85-88: Simply “great.” A can’t-miss album that’s worth listening to despite readily identifiable shortcomings in editing or technique. (We got it from Here…. Thank You 4 Your Service)


80-84: A strong effort bound to be appreciated by fans of the genre. The whole exceeds the sum of the parts, but the worse moments distract from enjoyment of the best. “Good.” (More Life)

70-79: An album that struggles to build a noteworthy and consistent identity but nonetheless produces some worthwhile moments. “Good,” with reservations. (untitled.unmastered)

60-69: A recording likely to find acceptance from fans of the creator, but lacks the focus, inspiration, vision, or drive necessary for a wider audience. “OK.” (Future)


50-59: While capable of highlighting the ability of the artist, an album that’s noticeably scattered, erratic, and unlikely to have staying power as a complete work – even among fans. (Starboy)

25-49: A sincere but misguided effort that significantly lacks in cohesion and purpose. The bad considerably outweighs the good.

0-24: Lazy, uninspired, and insulting. An album that lacks respect for the listener. Merely “bad” is insufficient, the intentions by its creators seem insincere and fraudulent.