7 Top Tips to Writing an Album Review

Writing an album review can sometimes seem tricky. Luckily, Jordan Foster has got tips to make it easier!

7 Top Tips to Writing an Album Review

Album reviews

The creative process behind album review writing takes some getting used to. At first, it’s can seem difficult to be informative yet entertaining, critical while being insightful as well as being engaging to super-fans and to casual readers alike.

But don’t let theses hurdles put you off review writing; music journalism is a never-ending sandwich of creativity, filled with juicy perks like unreleased records and free gig passes!

Here are 7 top tips on album reviewing:

Analyse

It is A Level’s golden rule for a reason. The better review won’t just outline the fact that the Stone Roses hail from Manchester, it’ll evaluate their significance within the Madchester music scene. See the difference?

Contextualise

The best articles consider ‘the bigger picture’ and take into account things other than the actual sound of the music.

Think about what inspired the artist, and why it’s politically/socially/culturally relevant. To do this, you better get your research on!

Most modern rap and punk music, for example, is impossible to deeply explore without knowing the issues/themes behind it. Think Kendrick Lemar’s award winning ‘Damn’ and the story behind that.

Structure 

Now, this is more of a practical tip. Be sure to link paragraphs to make the flow as seamless as possible, and coming full circle by linking the introduction to the conclusion is always a winner!

Creativity

Be ambitious and diverse with words, but be sure to remember the audience that you are targeting. If your review is for teenage Bieber fans, they may not take kindly to an expansive use of vocabulary!

Narrative

The review might have more direction if you make it into some sort of story. While keeping in mind the wider context, ask yourself the following questions to generate ideas:

  • What space does the artist/band occupy within the industry?
  • Are they doing anything different in relation to their peers?
  • What speed are they progressing?
  • In what direction are they heading?

Read, Read, Read

Religiously. Especially up-to-date editions of music magazines. If alternate/indie music is your thing, holy grails in independent music journalism like DIY, Crack and London In Stereo are your bibles. Not only will you gain a solid grasp of house tones for when you’re prepping a killer pitch, you’ll find bags of inspiration from the industry’s gurus.

See an interesting format/wording? Make a note of it and use it as a template for a different feature.

Originality

Originality is a hard thing to judge. Even more important than originality, is being honest.

Emulating your peers might make you seem like a better journalist, but it’s also crucial to avoid echoing existing reviews on the same release.

Distinguish yourself from the ever-expanding crowd of opinion in the digital age!

Review coverage on a new album can often be shaped by its first major review and it’s easy to play it safe and follow suit. The best critics see things from their own unique angle, regardless of which way the pendulum swings in public opinion. Take a risk!

Written by Jordan Foster.

 

Jordan was chosen out of hundreds of applicants as one of our Rising Stars in Journalism. If you think you are one of them, be sure to apply today!

With all this talk about album reviews, check out Big Music’s review of Darrell Cram’s EP!