100 – Perfect - How many genuinely perfect albums are there in this world? Not many. If you see this rating more than once every few years, we probably aren’t doing our jobs properly.
90-99 – Exceptional – Ratings in this range are reserved for the best of the best. These albums set themselves apart from the pack by way of their consistency, originality and enduring nature. They are albums we believe make a significant contribution to their genre, whether through a mastery or transcendence of the style. We expect to be listening to them to for years down the road think they deserve a similarly prominent place in our readers' music libraries.
80-89 – Excellent – An album in this range is extremely good, exhibiting consistency and staying power similar to those in the 90-99 range. While it might not be quite as stunningly original, or as clearly recognizable as a “modern classic,” it will be an album that we highly recommend to our readers.
70-79 – Very Good – This rating denotes an album that is overall solid and that we believe to be well worth our readers' time. The album might have a few weak tracks, but they will be few and far between. In general, the music will still be consistently enjoyable and/or interesting.
60-69 – Good – An album in this range is generally worthwhile, being consistently pleasant and/or interesting enough to give a few listen-throughs at least. Alternatively, it might have several amazing songs, but be littered with filler tracks. The album is likely one that you might expect to listen to for a week or two, and then forget about, aside from a few playlistable songs.
50-59 – Mediocre – Even here, there is room for enjoyability, albeit of the highly disposable sort. The album might have a couple decent songs but generally falls short of its ambitions or is largely derivative. For the most part the songs are innocuously mediocre and/or do not work well together.
30-49 – Poor – Here is where the quality really starts to fall off and active dislike becomes involved. Albums in this range might be obnoxious, dull, or something you find yourself unintentionally tuning out. The band might be derivative in such a way that makes them far inferior to their influences. The songs might be poorly written and sloppily played/produced in a way that overpowers any potential charm.
1-29 – Awful – Albums that fall into this range have virtually no redeeming qualities, being uninteresting, near-unlistenable, or so totally lacking in originality that they are just plain boring.
0 – Sonic Garbage - Same as for 100, except, you know...the opposite.