Writing a Music Review

how to write a music reviewBefore buying a music group’s album/song on the Internet or in a music shop, you can shape your opinion of it by reading numerous reviews. This is nice when you are not sure whether or not you are making the “right” purchase”; this is especially useful when you want to buy digital music and want to know what you will pay for. Music reviews have long been a popular genre in media, helping people make choices, contributing to musicians’ popularity or demise, and today we are going to learn how to write one.

Steps for Writing a Music Review

  1. You will need to listen to the album or song you are going to write a review about with concentration. It is better to listen to the source material at least three-four times, with intervals.
  2. While listening to your selected music, take notes on what is good and bad in the album or song, what impressed you and what did not impress you.
  3. When beginning the writing of your review, include some background information: name of the group, genre they play in, album’s tracklist, date of release, and so on.
  4. After writing the background information, write an evaluation of the music, usually a paragraph for each category. The categories are usually the lyrics (for example, whether it was meaningful or not), vocals, the instrumentation, quality of performance, general impression of the album/song and its originality. If you are reviewing an album, you can focus on particular tracks, if you like, but make sure the review covers the whole album.
  5. After writing the evaluation portion, summarize your impressions and give a rating. It is common to give a 5-point or 10-point rating i.e. “Cool Kids” earns 4/5.
  6. Edit your review a few times and check if the factual information you wrote about the music group is correct.

Key Points to Consider

  1. If you are not a professional musician, giving your opinion about music you have just listened to might be difficult. This is why you need to listen to the source material at least a few times to let it sink in. After listening to your chosen music a few times, you will be able to notice nuances, and find something special about every song you listen to (or you may discover there is nothing special about it, which is also a piece of material for your review).
  2. While writing about music, it is better to use language that describes your emotions rather than facts. If you say, “The drums in this album are pretty decent,” nobody will bat an eye; however, if you write something like, “The drums in this album reminded me of a heavy machine gun combined with a jackhammer thrown in,” the impression created by your words will be stronger and more vivid.
  3. Quality over quantity. A music review is not a genre where you need to write lengthy academic content; 250-300 words is more than enough. Just keep in mind: it should be high quality writing.
  4. If you like the artist on whose music you are writing a review, try not to be biased. Your feelings towards a musician can be spotted easily, and after this the credibility of your review will be zero.

Do and Don’t

Do

  • Try to write in an outstanding manner. Review writing is a genre where you must have a unique manner of expressing your thoughts and impressions; otherwise, your review will be boring.
  • Write a review as a piece of persuasive writing. If you liked the album, do your best to convince your audience of its worth; if not, make them dislike the album.
  • Compare the album you are writing about with more (or equally) famous music. Sometimes comparison is the best illustration. Do not overuse this method, though.
  • Read reviews by other authors before you start writing your own one. The experience of other people can be valuable. Be careful not to get swayed by others’ opinions though.
Don’t

  • Show a biased attitude towards the band or album you are reviewing. Phrases like, “I’ve been listening to these guys since my childhood—they are so great!” indicate your bias and lower your credibility. Be an analyst, not a fan.
  • Forget to make a point. Should your readers abstain from buying the album or song? Would it better if they listened to the band live? Write a logical conclusion.
  • Be too picky, especially if you did not like the original material. If your review is all negative, your readers might (once again) think you are biased. Remember: it is not possible to create something perfect, and be a bit merciful to the artists you are reviewing.
  • Write massive amounts of text. It is better to write a more concise but to-the-point review than a manuscript about nothing specific.

Common Mistakes When Writing a Music Review

- Being biased in your review rather than being objectively critical or praising.

- Writing long reviews that lack specific details.

- Writing either entirely positive or super negative reviews.

- Forgetting to check the factual information in the review after finishing the writing process.

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Samples for Writing a Music Review

"Cool Kids" by Echosmith

Review of “Cool Kids” by Echosmith. From the album Talking Dreams.Released in 2013, it was a serious chart topper the following year, ultimately being #13 on the Billboards Hot 100. “Cool Kids” is from Echosmith's debut ...

Album Review: The Centre by Sami Yusuf

U.K. based Sami Yusuf has gradually reinvented himself as a solely Islamic pop musician (once named “the king of Islamic pop”) to a singer-songwriter who embraces a more secular approach, though bent on s...

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