Music Ratings

When CYWI reviews music, we usually give it a score. We give prisms, not stars; from one to five, with an extra ‘five gold’ for really special albums. We are testing the work primarily against the principles of this blog, which focuses on the strength and character of songwriting, where song melody and structure in a contemporary idiom are key criteria.

However artists being the creative little darlings that they are, somebody is going to come up with something that nobody’s ever heard before, or that simply wows the reviewer.  Got to allow for that – so we may push the score up because we were delightfully surprised; and surprises potentially move music forward, so we encourage them.

If we perhaps don’t praise your work as richly as you understandably believe it deserves, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad work of itself – just that it doesn’t match what this blog is for. Sorry about that, but there’s individuality for you. Got to draw the line somewhere or there might be cultural chaos!

So, these are the scores we give based on our assessment of our criteria:

Oh dear. Thrown together? Little to no expression of songwriting, or riddled with clichés; or serious, perhaps novice production problems. Apparently written for the artist not the listener, so cannot be considered to be of distributable quality, though it might work live on stage.

There is a hint of something here that raises it above the dross, but not really at an appreciable standard due to either lazy or cliché writing or novice production. Leans toward self-indulgence (the artist’s prerogative of course). Not recommended.

Lots to commend it, but ultimately an average output. Some clichés apparent. Hints of filler here and there. Take it or leave it – your tastes may differ from those of the reviewer.


Several elements make it worthy of repeated plays. Evidently strong and impassioned songwriting. Perhaps occasional esotericism, inconsistency, artistic or technical flaws make it imperfect, but still a recommended addition to your collection.

Beautiful and engaging songwriting, well-structured, clear and compelling mix and master. Memorable performance. A near-perfect, potentially classic, must-own work.

For albums only. The pinnacle, rarely seen. Hence using prisms – because unlikely as it may seem, this offering really is better than ‘Dark Side of the Moon’. Potentially industry-changing. Remortgage the house if you must, but buy it, or die trying.

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