When you write a music review, you’re aiming to share your impression of the music with the reader. And when you’re reviewing an album, these tips will help you to write something that is readable and engaging.
Before you start writing a review, listen to the music from start to finish at least twice. As you listen, note down your initial thoughts and feelings.
Next, think about how you will introduce and summarize the music. As well as sitting down to listen critically to the music, it might help to listen through speakers or headphones as you go about your day.
2. Research Is Key
Once you’ve listened to the music, do your research. Read articles and interviews with the artist to gather facts about them and the music you’re reviewing. It can also help to read other people’s reviews so you become familiar with the language used in music writing.
3. Think About Context
Think about the music in the context of its genre and the artist’s history. How does it compare with the rest of its genre? Is it a classic example of bubblegum pop, or does it bend the boundary between heavy metal and hardcore punk? And how does it compare to the artist’s previous work?
4. Consider Different Angles
Think about all aspects of the album: how it works as a whole, the individual songs, the lyrics, the artwork, the instrumentation, and its production. Set out your overall impression and go into detail on anything you find interesting (e.g., a theme running through the lyrics or a repeating melody).
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5. Avoid Bias
If you write for as wide an audience as possible, try to be objective. Whether it’s music by your favorite artist or a band and genre you hate, try not to let this cloud your judgement. If you don’t like an artist or a genre, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the quality of the music is bad.
6. Be Honest
It might be tempting to copy what everyone else is writing about the music, but your review should give your honest opinion. If you loved an album that the rest of the world seems to despise, let everyone know!
You can acknowledge other people’s opinions and general attitudes to the music, but it is your review and therefore your own opinion matters most.
7. Write Clearly
Your review should be clear and readable. For longer reviews, use subheadings and cover different aspects of the album in separate sections to make it easy to follow. You can also include images of the artist or the album artwork to break up the text and illustrate your writing.
8. Edit Your Review
Once you’ve written a first draft of your review, think about how to edit it. Look for ways to make it clear and memorable. It may help to read it aloud or ask others to give you feedback. Make revisions where necessary, and remember to check your spelling, grammar and punctuation.