How to Level Up Your Music Writing Before You Start Typing

Writing a Music Review 101

So you want to write a music review? Sick, go on then. 

What’s that? Where do you begin? Good question. 

Reviewing or just talking about a piece of music can seem like an overwhelming task. Especially if you’ve got a lot to cover but don’t worry. I’ve got some strategy tips and advice nuggets for you. 

Listen 

Duh. When you want to review a piece of music, ooooobviously you’ve got to listen to it first. 

Whether it’s your first or fiftieth listen, get out a pen and paper, or a fresh document, and start jotting down everything you notice about the music.

Don’t just think about it on a technical level but dive deep into how it makes you feel, what it reminds you of. Emotions are a much more effective communicator than intricate facts. 

Pay attention to both the instrumentation and the lyrics. At times, these two elements could be telling a very different story, an interesting titbit to pick up on. 

Research

Now you know how you feel about it, it’s time to learn how the artist feels. 

For me, I think it’s better to establish your own feelings before knowing the true meaning as to not sway your thoughts. 

Have a look at some interviews that the artist has given on the release and see if anything they say aligns with you. 

It’s even spicier if you got the wrong impression and the artist was going in another direction entirely. This highlights how subjective music can be and what one man hears, another misses. 

Read Other Reviews

Get into the practice of reading 2-3 reviews from other people. Not only will it give you a gauge of the general response to the piece, but it will also inspire your own writing. 

Other reviews may have also picked up on some subtleties that you missed and may offer you some insider knowledge. 

Checking out how others write will also help you structure your own review! 

Consider Other Elements

As important as the music is when writing your review, think about everything that surrounds it too.

Consider the context of the piece. 

When and where was it written? Were there external factors that influenced its creation? 

For example, lots of music that was released in the 70s was politically charged thanks to a certain Prime Minister who was in power at the time. 

Think about the artwork. 

How does the cover reflect the content of the album? Do you like it? Would you say the cover is an accurate representation of the vibes?

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