The Puluche Album Review Rubric © is aligned to an educational approach that is not your standard music review. This method has two sections: scoring analysis by five categories and grading levels, and a three-part commentary section that discusses the album scoring analysis in detail.
There are five categories where each album will be analyzed. We feel these are essential components upon which a record release must be judged:
2) Breaking Ground
4) Lyrical Voice
Our reviewers will listen to assigned records with headphones and have its lyrics and production packaging available to complete this analysis. Highlights will then be made on the rubric in each section as to where they feel it the album rates in each respective category.
Each of these five categories will be rated in four grading levels:
1) Exemplary (Perfection – worth 20 points)
2) Proficient (Very Good – worth 15 points)
3) Developing (Has weaknesses – worth 10 points)
4) Underdeveloped (Has numerous weaknesses – worth 5 points)
This grading system is based on a 100 point scale – five categories and four grading levels. For example, a grading of five Exemplary scores would equate to 20 points times (x) 5 categories equaling (=) a 100 score. A grading of one Exemplary (20 points), three Proficient (15 points each), and one Developing (10 points) would equate (=) to a 75 score (20+15+15+15+10 = 75).
There can also be an example of a scoring that features a category that receives a “mixed” scoring. For example, since each category and their four level ratings have multiple criteria, the album reviewer can highlight two different scores for one category. For such instances, the points move left or right by 2.5 points for each scoring level, or the user halves each score then combines them. To clarify, if the reviewer is scoring the category Engagement and highlights (scores) half Exemplary (10 points – half of 20 points) and half Proficient (7.5 points – half of 15 points), this would equate to 17.5 points.
Once a score has been formulated, there is an inter-rater reliability check to confirm the scoring accuracy. If an album score receives an 80, another reviewer (referred to as an IRC) will also complete the process and if it is a similar grade the record score is confirmed. If the second reviewer has a different score of 5 or more points, a third reviewer will then grade the album to help ensure objectivity and accuracy of the analysis. A consensus will then be determined as to the actual score to be determined.
Once a review score has gone through this process, there are three areas for the reviewer to complete their review: Comments; Commendation, and Next Steps. This aspect of the review is also very much aligned to the educational field, similar to a professor grading a student’s paper and giving feedback as to why they got the score they received, what they did well, and what they need to do to improve on their next effort.
For the Comments section, the reviewer discusses the album and explains the reasoning of the scoring referring to the rubric.
For the Commendations section, the reviewer specifically points out the greatest strengths and/or accomplishments achieved by the artist. This could be songs that are highly recommended by the reviewer, or any aspect of the album that was recognized for a prestigious award, such as a Grammy Award or other noteworthy nominations.
For the Next Steps section, this is where the reviewer gives feedback, if applicable, as to what did not go well with the album and/or what aspect of the rubric criteria needs to be addressed for improvement moving forward.
The Puluche Album Review Rubric © is a medium that strives to implement objectivity and eliminate bias when reviewing and scoring a record. Is such a method absolutely flawless? This we are not going to profess. If one person hates metal and they see a review score of 90, they will not agree because it is not aligned to their musical taste. However, we carefully analyze all music that we cover and evaluate it solely based on the above criteria.