About the Music Reviews
All of my song reviews on this site follow a particular format: There is an overview, lyrics, pictures/scans if I have any, "Dave's Take," "My Take," and a sub-section on the music video if there is one. While the experience of listening to a song is mostly centered on feelings for me, I take a methodical approach when reviewing it for this site. I've listened to the songs so many times, sometimes actively and sometimes passively, like for example to help me concentrate on work or whatever, but for the sake of doing the reviews, I will sit down, put on some high-quality headphones, put on the song, and listen with no distractions. I aim to hear every instrument and every nuance in Dave's vocals. After the song is finished, I'll think about it for a bit- think about how it makes me feel and what it sounded like. I then read over the lyrics again and then I fill out the "My Take" section for the song, which is pretty much my raw opinions and feelings about the song. I might sprinkle in some stuff based on me listening to the song many times before or if I picked up on anything based on other things I may have heard or read about it. But after I finish giving my own take on it, then and only then do I research into what Dave's original thoughts and feelings were on the song when he first wrote and recorded it. I do this in that order because I want the song to speak for itself, first, and I want to put down my feelings about it before hearing about anybody else's. Then, when I find out what Dave's true intent of the song is (if he clearly reveals one), it becomes interesting to compare and contrast between those two views. So, when you're reading those sections, if you see a disconnect or even a contradiction between something in "Dave's Take" versus "My Take" of a particular song, that is the reason why. I like to see where I've shared similar views about a song as he did or if I was completely off the mark.
I take a methodical approach with my album reviews, as well. Before coming up with the final rating out of 10, I will listen to the whole album from start-to-finish with as few distractions as possible, and then assign a number between 0 and 10 to each song, with 0 meaning the song is absolutely terrible and has no redeeming qualities whatsoever and 10 meaning the song is phenomenal, I absolutely love it, and it is virtually flawless. Choosing my favorite and least favorite song does somewhat correlate to their number rating, but I make those decisions independently of the numbers (especially since multiple songs may possibly share the same number rating). After rating each song, I add up each rating, and then divide that number by the total number of songs on the album- a calculated average, basically. The result is another number between 0 and 10 that reflects the "average rating of all of the songs on the album." However, this is not the final result, because an album can sometimes be greater (or lesser) than the sum of its parts, quite literally in this situation. So, I will again re-assess the album as a whole based purely on my gut feelings and ask questions like, even though there were a few stinkers on the album, did the album as a whole give me a good feeling? Or, even though there were these phenomenal songs on the record that were perfect 10s, did the stinkers really bring the whole thing down? Whatever it is, it might end up pulling the final number up or down several tenths of a point and that will be my final rating on the album, itself. For the record and as a final note, I should probably mention that thus far, none of Dave's songs have been an absolute 0 for me. I've given a 1 to a song or two but the vocals and music would have to be absolutely distasteful to me to give a rating of 0 for it, and that, to me, seems impossible. I mean, I adore Dave's voice so much that he could probably sing the alphabet sans any beat or instruments backing him and I'd be hanging on every word (or letter in that case)!
I review live shows very similar to how I review albums in that I take them as a whole rather than judge each song in isolation. But with shows, there is also the visual aspect and audience experience to consider, as well. While I sincerely wish I could have been at every show that I review on this site in person, for the most part the only way that I have been able to enjoy them is through video recordings. Therefore, with that in mind, my setup is the following: I will watch the concert video on a big screen TV and use high-quality stereo or surround sound audio in order to get as much out of the live experience as possible, and then I will, of course, rate each aspect of the show- the presentation of the video, the performance of the songs, and finally the overall perceived atmosphere of the audience. For the actual performances of the songs themselves, I will go into more depth on those and give my take of how each song sounds and looks as the band performs them, how they compare to the studio original, and any other things worth noting, such as notable audience interaction. Taking all of these into account, I will give the whole performance a rating in the range from 0 to 10 with 0 meaning absolutely awful and 10 meaning absolutely perfect. Because there is just so much to consider, I use a slightly less precise rating system than I do for individual songs and albums and will just stick with whole numbers for the final rating.