RARB Reviewer Overall Score - Really?

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RARB Reviewer Overall Score - Really?

Postby soccercta100 » Thu Oct 04, 2012 1:10 pm

So I'm commenting on the recent review of Clemson TIgeroar's "On The Hunt." A particular reviewer whom I will not name (but can easily be found on the review page) gave Tigeroar the following ratings in the 6 judged categories:

Tuning/blend: 2
Energy/intensity: 2
Innovation/creativity: 3
Sound/production: 4
Repeat listenability: 3
Soloists: 3

These ratings average out to 2.833, and yet the reviewer gave the album an overall rating of 2. Based on simple rounding, shouldn't the group have received an overall rating of 3? If someone could explain this to me then it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
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Re: RARB Reviewer Overall Score - Really?

Postby michaelmarcus » Thu Oct 04, 2012 2:58 pm

Hey there! So nice to see some activity on this forum for a change.

soccercta100 wrote:These ratings average out to 2.833, and yet the reviewer gave the album an overall rating of 2. Based on simple rounding, shouldn't the group have received an overall rating of 3? If someone could explain this to me then it would be greatly appreciated.

Our scores are really just a quick shorthand for the reviewers' opinions about the album. They are useful, to be sure, but they aren't very nuanced. And there's no math involved.

Per the RARB scoring guidelines, a score of "2" means that the album "has some problems that need work." I think the text of that particular review reflects this sentiment pretty well. Moreover, those categories don't even necessarily figure into the overall album score. The last line of that scoring guidelines page reads thus: "Reviewers may consider these categories when commenting or deciding on overall or track scores, but they do not have to."

Michael Marcus [@michaelmarcus]

    Founder & Creative Director, Uncommon Technical Director, RARB

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Re: RARB Reviewer Overall Score - Really?

Postby mwpiper » Sun Oct 07, 2012 8:13 am

Thanks for posting! I can definitely understand where you're coming from, and this is a good place to clarify some of the mystique around scoring procedures.

For me, the "Overall" category stands alone as a seventh category. It is influenced by the other six categories, but is by no means a precise arithmetic mean. The score for each of the other six is a measure of what is done with songs compared with what could have been done (could the arrangements have been spiced up, could the production have been cleaner, could the soloist have been more moving, etc). The "Overall" score takes the bigger picture into account. It measures what the collection of songs can do for individual listeners and the a cappella community (entertain, inspire, set new standards, attract a larger audience, etc). There are a lot of qualities that define an album, so everything that doesn't quite fit into the six categories gets squeezed into a few paragraphs and that single digit "Overall" score. As Michael suggests, reading the commentary is usually a better bet than crunching numbers to get the most out of a RARB review. Hope that helps!
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