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Stars & Hearts: iTunes' new ratings options explained (with jokes)

Stars & Hearts: iTunes' new ratings options explained (with jokes)


What is a star? What is a heart? What is love?

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The new version of iTunes gives you the option of choosing two different rating systems for your music. There's the classic five-star ratings we all know, but with the addition of Apple Music, you can also "Love" a song or artist to signal to Apple that you'd like to hear more of that kind of music from playlists and recommendations. You can also mix and match stars and hearts at will — and that means a universe of confusing options has just arrived. We know what they do technically, but our emotions need guidance.

What is a one-star heart? What is a three-star, no heart album? Why are they called "Loves" and not hearts? What is love? We did our best to figure it out.


Zero stars, no heart

  • All ratings are lies. All music is equal. I refuse to participate in this sham of personal auditory meritocracy. - Dieter Bohn

Zero stars, heart

  • A drawing by your child. - Liz Lopatto

One star, no heart

  • "One star, no love" is actually the name of Britney’s next tour. - Micah Singleton

One star, heart

happy star
  • Pharrell's "Happy" or any hit song that you liked at first, before it slowly destroyed your sanity. - Micah Singleton

Two stars, no heart

  • Reserved for Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck. - Loren Grush (Editor's Note: )

Two stars, heart

  • An ex with whom you had some good times in the past, but for whatever reason you can't get past that one thing they did that one time. - Nilay Patel

Three stars, no heart

  • This is the scientifically precise measure of mediocrity. - Adi Robertson

Three stars, heart

  • Load-era Metallica. Like, it’s no Master of Puppets, but I’d like to hear more Metallica. - Dan Seifert

Four stars, no heart

  • A song that is probably as perfect as I will ever find, but marred by the constant gnawing anxiety that there is something better. - Adi Robertson

Four stars, heart

  • Death Cab for Cutie. It's fine, but it's the past. Eh whatever, let me live in the past. - Dieter Bohn

Five stars, no heart

  • A rating that says, "Yes, I understand Radiohead is great, but please leave me alone." - Russell Brandom

Five stars, heart

  • The saxophone on "Baker Street" and saxophones not on "Baker Street," too. - Liz Lopatto