Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The S:L ratio

While working on some of the recent albums we have taken a look at here on the site, I realized that I had, unconsciously, created a sort of mathematical formula in my head when working on a review.  I believe that trying to review music in a strictly objective manner is rubbish, as what makes music so powerful is its inherent ability to be subjective.

However there are objective criteria that can be applied to music.  For example, Enemies of Reality by Nevermore was a stunning example of bad mastering.  The initial release was muddy, incoherent, poorly mixed.  This is objectively bad.  Likewise, the remix which corrected these flaws was clear, precise, well balanced.  This made the album objectively better.

Yet the intangibles are often more important than the tangibles.  This last week I realized I had this measurement in my head that tried to balance the subjective to the objective.  I call it the Skip to Listen ratio, or the S:L.  It is simple really.  A ratio of 1 means I am skipping as many songs on the album as I am listening to.  An album with a ratio that hovers around 1 will get an Explore it rating.  Go much higher than 1 and you can bet there will be an Ignore it at the end of the review.  In other words, the smaller the ratio the better.  You know, inversely proportional.

Sadly, too much of the stuff I have been listening to lately has been > 1.  That makes for an unpleasant listening experience.  So don't be too surprised if you see a few reviews that are purposely chosen because they have low ratios.  I need some music that really gets me going, not music that feels like a chore.  Also, don't be surprised if you start to see the S:L ratio showing up in reviews at times.

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait to see some of your reviews for ignorable albums.