Don’t you love that post-concert feeling of euphoria? I’m able to ride high on it for days. Close your eyes at any given moment and feel your heart racing, music pounding, and the heat from the crowd on your skin – a feast for the senses. The second best component, if you didn’t roadtrip to see the show (because there’s ALWAYS a roadtrip story), is being able to share that experience with your friends the next day. You prattle on endlessly about every infinitesimal detail of the night, right down to how psyched you were when the concession stand guy accidentally gave you a free beer. So, why not write a concert or music review online?
Writing any type of music review can be challenging. It’s managing a delicate balance of objective and subjective detailed observations churned in a sea of adjectives. I thought it’d be amusing to check out not only some album reviews from long ago, but to see what the general consensus is about crafting them. First, a few, let’s say, awkward phrases that appeared betwixt the pages of Rolling Stone magazine in its younger days followed by my takeaway:
- “What a milestone – fake leatherette!”
Lesson: If you’re writing an album review, praise the packaging/album art.
- “Asphalt soup tastes like tar.”
Lesson: Stay on topic AND Asphalt Soup could be a super-cool name for a garage band.
- “A little bit half-hearted – maybe largely because there’s so little melodic meat to most of the tunes.”
Lesson: Use highly descriptive, and most of all, appropriate adjectives when writing your review.
- “…dull commercial rock on the order of noisy discombobulated freakout sh**.”
Lesson: Invoke emotion to create an image in the reader’s mind.
- “Their music isn’t, how do you say, universally accessible, and the weirdness gets same-y, but no one else has posited a parallel universe in which the Sixties and the Nineties exist simultaneously, allowing for a peculiarly convincing brand of monolithic robotic swirl.”
Lesson: Same-y in a monolithic robotic swirl? I’ve got nothing.
Wow! Those are review-writing confidence boosters indeed. If you’re interested in reading a few hundred more train wreck reviews, visit http://goo.gl/1y1MpQ. In the meantime, here’s some additional advice (some are obvious, but it never hurts to restate the obvious):
If your review writing is pre-planned, research the musicians. Even if you’re somewhat familiar with them, you never know what you may uncover that can enhance your piece.
- Take notes using the voice notes feature on your smartphone. As you’re watching the show or listening to the mp3, record your thoughts during and after. Remember how I said you tell a titillating story right after the show? It won’t be as difficult to recreate the excitement when you can transcribe it.
- ACTIVELY listen to the music. Do the lyrics tell a story? Are there any subtle nuances you can pick up in the melody?
- Use some music industry vernacular in your piece when writing the who, what, when, where, why, and how.
- Use quotation marks around the title of songs; italicize album names.
- If you’re posting the review to your website, add some pictures from the show to break up the content and help the reader “go there” with you. If you’re reviewing an album of a band either you or a friend has seen previously in concert, post those photos. It makes it more personalized than using stock ones.
- Lastly and most importantly, make your review flow as if you’re telling a story. Set the scene by describing the anticipation of the crowd. Describe the over-the-top attire of what seemed like the band’s biggest fan. What were the acoustics in the venue like? How was the band’s spirits? You get the idea.
Nothing arouses the soul like music. It can put you on top of the world or bring you to tears. Don’t write a music review that’ll bring your audience to tears. Follow the suggestions above. If you’re interested in getting paid for writing music reviews, check out http://www.slicethepie.com. Happy listening!