Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Rating the Stars

Geek. Nerd. Dork. You have too much time on your hands.
You may think one or all of these things after examining my favorite albums of all time, and I’m OK with that.
Let me explain how I came up with my list.
Apple’s iTunes allows you to rate songs in your playlists from one to five stars. As you should have already figured out just by the nature of this site, I’m a sucker for ratings and reviews, so I naturally started to rate some of my favorites while I listened to them. As I’m also basically a completist, rating a few songs started a snowball rolling, and I kept going and going until a good chunk of songs from my favorite artists were filled out. I then added up the ratings and divided by the number of songs on an album (interludes and other such oddities excluded to avoid skewing lower than deserved) to come up with an overall record value.
Here’s how I defined the stars:
• 1 star—Song skipped basically every time it comes up
• 2 stars—Skipped regularly, but not mandatory
• 3 stars—Not skipped when it comes up, but not usually sought after, either
• 4 stars—I go looking for this song
• 5 stars—A must-listen every time the CD is in
As with placing a value on anything artistic, this is not ironclad science. The rankings for albums of a single band are dead on, but because I only compared each song to other songs by that artist, looking at albums from multiple bands doesn’t always accurately reflect my overall tastes. For instance, there’s no way if I was stranded on a deserted island I would take my top-rated Dave Matthews Band album (“Under the Table and Dreaming” at 3.92) over a middle U2 album (say, “The Unforgettable Fire” at 3.52). Likewise, “Led Zeppelin IV” is my top-rated record, but U2’s “Achtung Baby” actually means more to me. Also, there are albums dragged down by a couple of clunkers that I would still take over an album that has a higher score based on consistent quality (like I would ever choose “Led Zeppelin I” over “Physical Graffiti”!). Like I said, this isn’t organic chemistry here, but I do think it’s an interesting conversation starter if nothing else. You should give it a go—it’s kinda fun, and a lot more interesting than solitaire.
Anyway, here’s the list (to be updated periodically as I buy new CDs and take time to rate those and others).

Led Zeppelin, “Led Zeppelin IV” (4.625)
U2, “Achtung Baby” (4.45)
Bruce Springsteen, “Darkness on the Edge of Town” (4.40)
Bruce Springsteen, “Born to Run” (4.375)
Pearl Jam, “Yield” (4.33)
Pink Floyd, “Dark Side of the Moon” (4.33)
PJ Harvey, “Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea” (4.25)
Bruce Springsteen, “Born in the U.S.A.” (4.25)
Dashboard Confessional, “A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar” (4.21)
The White Stripes, “Elephant” (4.21)
Pink Floyd, “Wish You Were Here” (4.20)
U2, “The Joshua Tree” (4.18)
Alkaline Trio, “From Here to Infirmary” (4.17)
Pearl Jam, “No Code” (4.17)
Rage Against the Machine, “Renegades” (4.12)
U2, “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” (4.09)
Dashboard Confessional, “The Swiss Army Romance” (4.00)
Nirvana, “Nevermind” (4.00)
Pearl Jam, “Vitalogy” (4.00)
Saves the Day, “Stay What You Are” (4.00)
Soundtrack, “Singles” (4.00)
Bruce Springsteen, “Nebraska” (4.00)
U2, “Zooropa” (4.00)
Wilco, “Summer Teeth” (3.94)
Dave Matthews Band, “Under the Table and Dreaming” (3.92)
Coldplay, “A Rush of Blood to the Head” (3.91)
Dashboard Confessional, “The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most” (3.90)
Led Zeppelin, “Led Zeppelin II” (3.89)
The White Stripes, “De Stijl” (3.85)
U2, “All That You Can’t Leave Behind” (3.82)
Wilco, “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” (3.82)
PJ Harvey, “To Bring You My Love” (3.80)
Led Zeppelin, “Led Zeppelin I” (3.78)
Fall Out Boy, “From Under the Cork Tree” (3.77)
Dave Matthews Band, “Crash” (3.75)
Nirvana, “In Utero” (3.75)
Led Zeppelin, “Physical Graffiti” (3.73)
PJ Harvey, “Dry” (3.73)
Stone Temple Pilots, “Tiny Music” (3.73)
Stone Temple Pilots, “Purple” (3.72)
Led Zeppelin, “Led Zeppelin III” (3.70)
Pearl Jam, “Binaural” (3.69)
Wilco, “Being There” (3.68)
Led Zeppelin, “Houses of the Holy” (3.625)
Bruce Springsteen, “The Rising” (3.60)
Bruce Springsteen, “Tunnel of Love” (3.58)
U2, “Pop” (3.58)
U2, “The Unforgettable Fire” (3.56)
The White Stripes, “White Blood Cells” (3.56)
Dave Matthews Band, “Busted Stuff” (3.55)
Bruce Springsteen, “The River” (3.55)
Dave Matthews Band, “Remember Two Things” (3.50)
PJ Harvey, “Rid of Me” (3.50)
Pearl Jam, “Vs.” (3.50)
Bruce Springsteen, “Devils and Dust” (3.50)
U2, “War” (3.50)
The White Stripes, “Get Behind Me Satan” (3.46)
Wilco, “A.M.” (3.46)
Bruce Springsteen, “Lucky Town” (3.40)
U2, “Boy” (3.36)
Bruce Springsteen, “Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.” (3.33)
U2, “Rattle and Hum” (3.33)
Pearl Jam, “Riot Act” (3.29)
Dave Matthews Band, “Before These Crowded Streets” (3.27)
Led Zeppelin, “Presence” (3.14)
PJ Harvey, “Is This Desire?” (3.08)
Led Zeppelin, “Coda” (3.00)
Bruce Springsteen, “The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle” (3.00)
Bruce Springsteen, “Human Touch” (2.86)
U2, “October” (2.73)
Led Zeppelin, “In Through the Out Door” (2.71)

1 comment:

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