However, I believe it is time to usher in a new wave of automated criticism, so creators don't even have to talk to another human to be ridiculed! After all, who knows if the critics really understand their subject matter. They could just be reading off of a standard written by someone else, and probably most of them are. They don't like creativity, innovation, or persistence; character is a foreign word to them. Therefore, I have done my part in automating the criticism of music by developing these standards for a computer to follow when criticizing:
1: The piece of music must have a rhythm that follows one of the standard time signatures: 4/4, 3/4, or 2/2. It must also use only quarter notes/rests, half notes/rests, and whole notes/rests. As little variation as possible is encouraged.
2: The melody must be in whole/semitone increments: no accidentals or intervals!
3: Thusly, the harmony must use only the tonic, subdominant, and dominant notes. Harmony must only use whole notes.
4: No artistic license is allowed, and preferably humans won't even perform music. Computers will! The music must not exhibit creativity of any kind, and should sound exactly like other music, with different notes. No dynamics!
On a serious note, the above criteria, once reversed, become a general way for the layman to judge music.
Obviously, music can follow all the rules above perfectly and sound horrendous!
I have found, however, that all classical music follow these rules, many hymns, much of jazz, and contemporary film scores. Obviously, no rock pieces can ever obey these, nor can hip-hop "music", dance, reggae, or blues. Or RAP, that cacophony of brain-damaging sound.
So here are the actual criteria:
1: The piece of music will have a unique rhythm, that can follow one of the standard time signatures, or a new one. As much rhythmic variety as fits with the piece is preferred.
2: Melody, being the most important part, must be equal parts innovative, reminiscent, emotional, intellectual, complex, and simple. Uses as many intervals, accidentals, and grace notes as fits the song.
3: Contrapuntal harmony is one of the best kinds, and ideally the harmony should be nearly as interesting as the melody. Uses many accidentals, minor-key notes, and intervals.
4: Musicality and artistic preference are to be encouraged. Dynamics are very important.
So, the next time you hear music, try to analyze it and see if these rules label it as good, bad, or something in between. I think you will find, as I did, that only certain types of music are worth listening to.