Dear Into the Hill readers,
We here offer to you our critical scale, the tangible scale based upon which our critics review albums. We realize, of course, that, like any art form, an experience with a particular piece of music is unique for each listener. Listening and reviewing music is, almost always, a subjective experience. What one of our critics says about an album might not represent the feelings of another of our critics about the same album. Or of your feelings about it. We hope those disagreements will lead to positive and useful dialogue.
But we realize also that there is such a thing as good music and that there is such a thing as excellent art. Our goal at Into the Hill is to point our readers, and each other, towards excellence. We believe there are certain things that make good music or good art and therefore we consider it our job, no our privilege, to point those elements out. We also believe that it is part of our job as critics - and lovers of music - to point out those things that make for a bad album or a poor listening experience.
The beautiful thing is that we can discuss and dialogue and debate these things. We don’t pretend to have all the answers as to what makes good music or what makes excellent art. But we can assure you that we will seek out those answers no-holds-barred, with passion, one foot right in front of the other. We hope you will join us in the conversation as we journey a little deeper INTO THE HILL.
The Into the Hill Community.
We use the following 1-11 scale to rate music:
11. A transcendently good album. That very rare album that could possibly alter the course of modern music. The album that transcends genres and styles. Has uniquely profound things to say about humanity and music as an art form. A masterpiece in its genre and in mood, tone, and impact. The kind of album that might be an all-time favorite. See, “OK Computer” by Radiohead or any number of early Dylan albums.
10. A stunningly good album. A complete and organized whole with no real failings. A masterpiece in its genre, though still a new exploration into the netherlands of the genre’s potential. Lyrically poetic and insightful. The kind of album that would be a years-best-album.
09. A great album with few failings. Dynamic and worth listen after listen. Lyrically profound, even if not transcendent. Insightful and respectful of the power of the art form. A display of great musical talent.
08. A really good album, but one that comes up short of greatness. A few shortcomings. Still an excellent experience with valuable insight into the world, the art form, and it’s genre.
07. A solid album. Some good performances. Lyrically fine; a fine piece of music in its genre. If you like the genre you will likely enjoy the album. Good but some room for improvement.
06. An okay album. Some good elements, but with nothing that sets it apart. Also some poor elements. Pretty average all in all. Perhaps musically simple or lyrically lacking. Not a bad album though.
05. A low end of average album. Little to nothing to say about the genre; no real exploration into the power of the art form at all. Might be enjoyable in certain aspects to some listeners who like the particular genre.
04 - 01. A poor to terrible album. Little value or insight. Not worth the money and perhaps not even the time, depending on how much time you have.