Here’s a breakdown of the criteria I use when coming up with an album’s rating.
Each song on the album gets a rating out of 10. Skits, interludes, or any other tracks that aren’t full-fledged songs get a mark out of 3 (A mark of 0 means the piece detracts from the album, a mark of 1 means it doesn’t detract from the album but doesn’t benefit it either, a mark of 2 means it benefits the album but can’t stand on its own, and a mark of 3 means it’s enjoyable in its own right). The music score, then, is the average of all of the tracks on an album. This score accounts for 80% of the album’s final rating.
This is where things like the album art, the album title, the song titles, or any other non-musical elements that contribute to the overall feel of the album come into play. This also takes into considering the production and mastering of the album. This score accounts for 5% of the album’s final rating.
This score considers things like theme, concept, experimentation, innovation, artistic vision, depth… all that pretentious stuff. This accounts for 5% of the album’s final rating.
Finally, this score considers how well the album functions as, well… an album. How satisfying is the listen from start to finish? How well is the album sequenced? Does it feel like a cohesive listening experience rather than a random assortment of tracks? Is the whole greater than the sum of its parts? All of that comes into play here. This score accounts for the remaining 10% of the album’s rating.