How Music is Graded (My 100-point scale.)
Tone/Overall Sound: 20 pts
How do the instruments interact with each other, and how is the end result aesthetically? This also includes vocal qualities, though not lyrics (covered under Theme).
Melody/Harmony: 20 pts
Does the artist display technical prowess by utilizing melody and/or harmony effectively?
Rhythm/Syncopation: 20 pts
Does the rhythm of the piece contribute to the sound as a whole? Have they searched beyond the standard rhythms or utilized different percussion instruments?
Mixing/Production: 20 pts
How polished is the album on execution? Are effects, samples, and dynamics used effectively to improve the overall quality of the album? Does the flow of the album from track to track feel natural?
Theme/Concept: 10 pts
Is there an overarching theme to the album as a whole? Are the lyrics meaningful, well-presented, and well thought-out?
Presentation: 10 pts
Do the artwork and packaging reinforce the story of the album? Does the presentation fit the image of the band, and vice-versa? How is the quality of the artwork?
Originality, exceptional execution, and innovation are all rewarded heavily.