* * * * *: A timeless masterpiece that stands up to repeated listens and is outstanding in both the Bay Area musical community and the international music community at large. Merits Best In The West tag.
* * * * 1/2: Excellent. A work that is memorable, consistently interesting, stands up to many repeated listens, and is outstanding in the Bay Area music community.  Merits Best In The West tag.
* * * *: Great. A work that is memorable, stands up to repeated listens, and whose strengths greatly outweigh any weaknesses present.  May merit Best In The West tag.
* * * 1/2: Very good. A solid and consistent work with few missteps. Sometimes merits Best In The West tag.
* * *: Good.  A solid work with some ill-advised moments.
* * 1/2: Average.  A work that is listenable but with a considerable number of ill-advised moments.
* *: Fair.  A work that is listenable but not particularly interesting, memorable or well-advised.
* 1/2: Poor.  A work that is uninteresting, unmemorable, or ill-advised.
*: Very poor.  A work that is only barely listenable.
1/2: Awful.  A work with very few or no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
- : Abysmal.  Unlistenable, the absolute bottom of the barrel.

BEST IN THE WEST is given to albums or singles with particularly outstanding qualities or that are particularly solid.  It also can be given to works by an artist that far exceed the artist's previous output. The rating is not usually given to demos, compilations, promo albums, live albums, or mixtapes, unless those recordings are particularly excellent.