How to Review Music Without Sounding Like an Elitist Snob
Saturday, 06 June 2020

Learn how to review music and talk about it, clearly, without sounding like a snob with the format and suggestions covered in this guide.

Interested to become a music critic? It’s not as easy as it sounds as it doesn’t only involve writing about how you feel about a song.

Most music reviewers have a Bachelor’s degree related to music; some even get a master’s degree. You’ll need it to gain employment in this industry, but it’s possible to start this career without any formal education.

You’ll need to work hard to gain a following online, and your reviews must be good. But how do you define good and what makes a critic good?

Keep on reading and we’ll teach you how to review music the right way and without sounding like a know-it-all.

1. Listen Several Times

Reviewing music should be from the perspective of a non-biased listener. Don’t like it the first time you hear it? It doesn’t matter; you should listen to it several times anyway.

This is the case for many casual listeners, too. They don’t always appreciate the song the first time. But listening to it enough times may allow them to see the finer details.

As for a music reviewer, you should listen many times to make sure you don’t miss the details that make the song. Don’t skip some parts, don’t multitask.

Give your full attention to every album lest you want to come off as ignorant when making a review. A bad review comes from a bad reviewer who missed the point of the music.

2. Learn How to Review Music Without Bias

As we’ve said earlier, you shouldn’t let your bias cloud your review. Even if it’s not to your taste, you should still be able to appreciate what’s there to appreciate and criticize what’s there to criticize.

In a normal setting, liking or disliking music can have no reason. If you’re a music reviewer, however, there should be clear, objective reasons behind your compliments or criticisms in your album review.

Appreciate the talent of the artists when it’s there. Still, don’t be afraid to talk about something you think they can further improve on.

Look for both strengths and weaknesses; don't nitpick as it may only make you look pretentious.

Of course, we’re not expecting anyone to be completely free of bias when writing a review. It can inject some personality into the review, though. That is as long as it doesn’t hinder the reader to form their own opinion about the music.

3. Know the Details Behind the Song

When you talk about music, you also talk about the motivations of the artists. That’s why any reviewer worth their salt will also get to know the artist and the details behind the creation of the album.

It will give you context and allow you to better understand the music from the artist’s point of view. It’s important to convey to the readers what the artist is trying to say through their music.

4. Analyze the Lyrics and the Melody

For many reviewers, it’s easier to start analyzing the melody first. After all, it’s the major contributor to the feel of the music.

You can go technical here. Point out the parts that create a good impression on you; discuss the arrangement, the chord progressions, and even the sound of the individual musical instruments. Point out the weaker points, as well, and address the imbalance when you hear it.

It helps to have experience and training so you can write a song review with authority. The more you know about the technicalities, the more accurate your review can be.

Next, it’s time to review the lyrics. You have to describe the content, but you also have to write what you think about it. See the beauty in the rhymes and appreciate the meaning.

Did the artist find the right words to convey the right feelings? Does it flow well with the background track? More importantly, does it encourage you to sing along or at the least, appreciate it in silence?

These are the answers you should write into your song review.

Keep in mind the context, though. This will help you understand the artist’s musical choices.

5. Spot the Little Details

The classic adage, “The devil is in the details,” is still true. That’s why we encourage you to listen to an album many times before you write a music review.
The small details can be an interesting noise in the background, which may have a story. You might find some hidden references to other media in the lyrics, as well.

If you spot things like these, specify why they’re interesting. Don’t go too much into the smallest details, though. If it does not add meaning or context to your review, it’s not important to mention.

6. Don’t Overdo It

It’s easy to overdo something you’re passionate about. If you don’t want to come across as an elitist snob, though, make sure you keep it all balanced.

Are you an expert on classical music who’s reviewing a pop album? It may not be best to do that, but if you’re in that position, make sure you don’t transfer your standards on classical music to pop music.

Keep being objective and stay on the ground. Remember that there’s no “right” way to make music, but there’s a wrong way to review it.
7. Get Feedback

When you’re starting to learn how to review music, you may benefit from feedback from your friends. After all, people like them are going to be your target readers.

Ask if you’ve conveyed your intention well or if you sound too pompous in your writing. Are there any points that aren’t clear or some that you might have missed?

Hit them up via chat on Facebook Messenger for Mac or Windows. It can be a good bonding experience, too, but remember to not overdo it here, as well.

Start Reviewing Music Now

Now you know how to review music without sounding like a snob. Reviewing something you like might be easier or it may be good practice to start with albums you’re not familiar with. Either way, you have to start now before you can call yourself a music critic.
Why stop here? There are more amazing guides to discover and we’re here to help you out. For more content like this, read more of our posts right here, today.


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