Monday, May 29, 2017

Stuff I Didn't Do and Album Rating System

So over the last couple of weekends, there were a couple of things I considered doing but wound of wussing out of, musicwise.

The first is last weekend, I didn't drive out to catch any of the Montauk Music Festival. I actually looked through the lineup, and there were two artists I was particularly interested in seeing. The first was a young acoustic duo called Lennon and Katie. I'll be honest, I no longer remember exactly where I first heard about them. Well, that's not exactly true -- I heard about them from looking up a band called Youth Be Told who has apparently morphed into Lennon and Katie, and I don't remember where I first heard about Youth Be Told. For some reason, I thought they were from Brooklyn, but they list themselves as a Long Island band. So I'll be on the lookout for when they play again.

The second is another young LI acoustic artist named Paris Ray. In this case, I'm pretty sure I first ran across her on CD Baby. I actually purchased her EP there, but right now, I have such a backlog of CDs it's not even funny, and the ones from 2017 move to the front of the line, so it might be awhile before I actually get to listen to it. But I'm hoping to maybe catch her live this summer.

I think if I could have lined it up so I could have caught both of these artists back to back, it would have inspired me to take the drive. But the times didn't really line up, which would have meant I'd have had to drive out there twice. And with my usual parental duties going on last Saturday, I just didn't get it done, although I very seriously considered getting up very early on Sunday morning to at least catch Paris Ray at a morning bagel shop gig -- I', not that into bars these days, but I still do breakfast.

In any event, I didn't get it done. But these guys are both on my radar now, so hopefully I'll rectify that sometime soon.

The other thing I didn't get done, either last weekend or this one, was to catch a performance of Spring Awakening by the CAP playhouse at their new performance space in their building in Syosset.
The play won the TONY for Best Musical a few years back, and the soundtrack album is excellent. Unfortunately, it's not a particularly happy story, so I wasn't able to tempt my daughter into coming with me, and the timing didn't line up good enough for me to talk my wife into it either. And I find that these days, when left to my own devices, sometimes I just get lazy. If the theater was nearby like The Gateway where I saw Rent the other night, I probably would have gone for it. But I just couldn't motivate myself to drive to Syosset by myself this time. Bad on me.


Anyway, this post at least gives me an excuse to explain the star rating system I've been using on all of these album reviews I've been posting here this year. Because I post these reviews on The Sputnik Music website first, I've been using their rating system, so it occurred to me I ought to explain it. You might look at an album, for example, that I've rated 3 out of 5 stars and think "Oh, only 60%. That sucks!" But actually, that isn't true. Here is the Sputnik Music rating system, which is what I've been using for the Album Reviews I post on this blog:

1 - Awful
1.5 - Very Poor
2 - Poor
2.5 - Average
3 - Good
3.5 - Great
4 - Excellent
4.5 - Superb
5 - Classic

"Staff" members and official "Contributors" can actually go as low as .5 stars when they rate an album, and they can also rate between these numbers (e.g. 3.2). But I'm not one of those, so this is what I'm working with. So as you can see, a "3" is actually "Good" or above average.

I grade pretty strictly, especially at the top.  In the entire history of music, I've only ever given out fourteen "5's", most of them for albums released in the 1970s. They are:

Blondie - Parallel Lines
The Eagles - Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975)
Future Bible Heroes - Memories of Love
The Good Rats - Tasty
Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin IV
Meat Loaf - Bat Out of Hell
Paramore - Riot!
Pink Floyd - The Dark Side of the Moon
Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run
Bruce Springsteen - Darkness on the Edge of Town
The Who - Quadrophenia
The Who - Tommy
The Who - Who's Next

So that's the rating system. Next planned album review is of an album by yet another '80s icon. 'Til then ...