Another Note On Grades

So I was compelled to write this after my Trace Adkins review on Wednesday. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I hate grades, I’ve mentioned it (I know I need to shut up about it). However, after doing some debate with the whole thing and really assessing where things are right now, I’ve decided to address my grading scale, since believe it or not, while I don’t care all that much for them, I do put a lot of time into judging what I believe is the “correct” grade for something (correct in this instance meaning, “what I truly thought” of course).

You’ll notice I don’t really hand out 10’s except in rare instances, and I rarely go below a 3 or 4 out of 10, and while that has raised some questions (like on my Josh Turner review), I do have some reasonings behind it.

I’ve talked about some blogs that have influenced me over the years, and I’ve made tons of mentions about them throughout various posts here. There’s one that I never usually mention here though, mostly because when I write a post related to country music, I’m talking about country music bloggers. There is one person out there who’s also inspired me throughout the years, only he’s not a country music blogger, or really even a blogger. Actually, he covers all genres of music (I think). I’m talking about none other than Mark Grondin of Spectrum Pulse.

Now, I used to copy Mark’s style back in about late summer/early to mid Fall. I’ve come to really loathe Mark’s review style these past few months, and I wouldn’t say I’m nearly as big of a fan as I used to be of him, but that’s a discussion for another day. One thing I always did like about him was his grading scale. He grades things out of 10 points such as we do here, but his scale in reality really only ranges from 3-9 out of 10. He’s given out two 10’s during the existence of his channel (he’s been doing this for almost four years though), and he’s only given three albums below a 3 (and all of them received two’s. Fun fact – one of them was Thomas Rhett’s “Tangled Up”).

If you watch his channel long enough, you’ll start to see where his thoughts fall in relation to the grade, and for the most part, while I don’t exactly like grades due to them really just being a stamp at one particular point in time, I have always liked the scale.

9’s are of course, the cream of the crop, and 8’s are close as well. These are usually the albums that are the most exciting or could truly be labeled great or excellent. 7’s are where things go from great to merely “good”. These albums aren’t going to make the year end lists anytime soon, but they’re definitely still worth your time. 6’s and 5’s are where decent to mediocre come into play. Most people consider 6 as a positive grade, but for me it’s merely decent and worth maybe one listen. 4’s and 3’s are where the bad and truly awful shit come into play, and for those of you wishing for those rants someday, this is usually where it would come into play. I might perhaps give a 2 someday. I still consider Old Dominion’s Meat and Candy album to fall into that category, and who knows? It might happen again.

Why not go below a 2? I don’t know the answer myself, but for me, I probably never would since I do try to find the good in everything, even if it is minimal. Besides, I’m not sure I’d waste my time with something below that anyway.

This a weird, somewhat boring piece, and I thank you for bearing with me. I just wanted to clarify where I come from in terms of grades, since while once again, I don’t like them, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t usually check the grade first when reading a review first either. So while my scale (or rather, Mark’s) may seem more lenient, hopefully you get where the numbers line up or what they truly symbolize. I used to have a page for my grading scale, and I still might bring that back eventually. I’ll see.


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