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The New Decibel Tolls Album Rating System Unveiled

For your consideration, The Decibel Tolls is unveiling a new album rating system that will not only demonstrate an album’s creativity, musical or cultural importance, relevance, or otherwise, but also make reading album reviews fun again. This blog refuses to use the cliched “how many stars did it get” method, or the completely arbitrary number-with-decimal-point system, wherein Pitchfork reviewers are somehow able to judge an album’s vitality within a scale of 100 metrics (0.0 to 10.0). Rather, The Decibel Tolls will evaluate albums based on what Don Fagen and/or Walter Becker (Steely Dan) would probably think of it. Firmly secure in the upper echelon of advancement, Don and Walter are judge and jury (respectively); the final arbiters concerning what is worth your time, and what is not. The system has five tiers.

The new review system will be enacted today with the forthcoming Deerhunter Microcastle review. Here’s the legend.


Is this record so good that… that a smile stretches across the face of tortured Don Fagen? Oh my. As Bertrand Russell once said, “happiness that is genuinely satisfying is accompanied by the fullest exercise of our faculties and the fullest realization of the world in which we live.” Don doesn’t know what this means, but he’s pretty sure this album probably does that.
Walter finds this most satisfactory, and worth his time as much as his latest inamorata. Sure, it’s not as exhilarating as copulation opportunities that oft present themselves when you’re a smooth entrepreneurin’ motherfucker. But only top shelf exercises in rockitude are granted speaker time when WB takes shorty back to The Grotto to set the mood for a trip to Bonehenge.
Split decision. Walter’s feelin’ it, but Don is rather unimpressed and is bummin’ hard style. He’d rather toke a J and rock righteous on his new keyboard that he picked up last time he was in outer space. Good hustle, though.
Don Fagen is not pleased. He demands an explanation for this jive.
What’s your 20? Well, Steely Dan’s 20 is on the red telephone, and all bets are off. They just initiated DEFCON 1 and are deferring to Mick Fleetwood. Mick says: “heh heh heh… cute. Kill them.”