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8 Tips on How to Write a Music Review
- 16th May 2020
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 .
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How To Write A Music Review: An Ultimate Guide
Everyone loves music. Whether you’re a fan of hip hop or country, classical or rock-n-roll, music is the soundtrack of our lives. But not all music is created equal. Some of it hits us harder than others. Some can take us to the heights of emotion, and some lulls us to sleep in an elevator. Whatever type of music you listen to, chances are that you’d like to know what’s good or what’s bad before you waste your time downloading a new album or purchasing a vinyl collector’s edition. That’s where music reviews come in. A music review will tell you what a critic thought of a piece of music so you can make an informed decision about whether you will enjoy that music. However, writing a music review isn’t as simple as saying whether you liked it. Instead, you need to offer specific and clear reasons for your reaction. In this article, we’ll take a look at the steps to writing a music review.
First, however, we need to say a word about the role of music reviews in today’s streaming environment. In years past, most listeners would learn about new bands and new music from reviews, whether written in music magazines or delivered orally by friends or influencers. However, today, listeners are more likely to encounter new music as part of the automatic recommendations and tailored playlists delivered by music streaming services like Spotify. As a result, the role of the music review is less about exposing readers to new music and is now more about ratifying opinions about which albums are important, essential, or must-listens.
It is important not to get too personal when writing about music. Reviews are normally not about your likes and dislikes, they are more about analysis. In some cases, you can add some personal touch, but in most, it is better to avoid it. You should show an understanding of music in general, not your taste.
Delegate If You Don’t Have Time
One of the most important areas for music reviews is actually in academic writing, where instructors assign music reviews in a variety of courses to help students think about understanding a variety of musical genres and their connection to subjects outside and beyond music. However, most students are not professional music critics and don’t always know how to write an effective music review. Reputable academic writing services like Write My Paper Hub can help students to do their essays and papers. These online services allow students to pay experts for the academic writing they need. Is it a good idea for an essay about music or a music review? It all depends on how you feel about the assignment and how much time you have. If the deadline is too close, and you know that it is difficult for you to concentrate on such a broad topic rather fast — it is better to delegate it. If you are not a big fan of music in general, you may like some songs, but you don’t understand fundamentals — again, it is better to delegate. If you feel like it can be nice to dig into this topic and get more information, express your option — write a review yourself.
Write a Music in Six Steps
If you are going to write your own music review, either for a class or for publication, you need to follow a few simple rules to make sure you give your audience the best music review experience.
- Listen to the music. This might seem obvious, but the first step in any music review is to listen to the music you plan to review. Ideally, you will listen to the album at least twice so you can form an initial impression and also consider how it hits you on a repeat listen, when some of the novelty has worn off. Keep track of your feelings and write notes about your reactions as you listen through the album.
- Research the album and the artist. When you have formed your own view and opinion, begin researching the album and the artist. Find out the background and the inspiration for the music, as well as any unusual songwriting or technical production information that might cast light on the purpose of the album so you can judge how well the album achieved the artist’s goals.
- Compare the music to its broader context. Where does the album fit in the broader context of its genre, or in the history of music? Is there something new and innovative? Does it carry on time-honored traditions? Such questions can help to evaluate the overall importance and meaning of the album under review.
- Consider your own biases. We all have particular music or artists we like or don’t like, but just because we don’t like someone doesn’t mean the quality of their music is bad, nor does our favorite artist always produce top-shelf material. As you work on your review, consider your perspective and preferences and try to adjust for them so you can provide an objective analysis of whether the album is good or bad.
- Always be honest. It can be tempting to follow the crowd and write what you think they want to hear. But if you love an album that other critics don’t like, or hate one they do, your readers will rather know your honest opinion than a fake opinion you think will gather the most likes on social media. Audiences can recognize when a writer isn’t shooting straight, and they are less likely to keep reading if they don’t trust you are being square with them.
- Follow good writing practices. It goes without saying that it’s important to follow good writing practices, including clarity and conciseness. Be sure to revise and edit your work carefully to make sure it is readable and easily understood by your target audience.
While it is not a good idea to let someone write your music for you, it is a good idea to delegate writing about it when you are not exactly in the mood. However, if you are, just follow the tips above and be ready in a matter of hours to write a music review from scratch.
This article was very informative because I train A&Rs how to write reviews but sometimes they can get stuck on their personal opinions and not looking at it the music project is in demand commercially.
Yvonne, I understand the commercial part of the industry. But there has to be a divider. If you’re commercial, be that. If you’re an artist, it changes everything. Some people don’t know how to tell the two apart, I on the other hand do. Not bragging, just the truth.
I like your article and as a musician myself, I like to start a music review platform.
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4 Tips on How to Write a Music Review Essay
There is hardly even one person on the planet who can’t stand music. We all have playlists for different moods or songs which associate with memorable events. However, when it comes to writing a music review essay, we seem to be stuck and don’t know what to begin with. Some students even tend to reach out for essay help , not to cope with an assignment on their own. We have prepared a simple guide for you to follow to write an excellent music review essay.
What is a Music Review Essay?
A review of a song is your opinion or feedback on a musical composition. You have to make this essay less subjective and contain as much reliable information as possible. Just like any other type of academic writing, it consists of the introduction, the main body devoted to various aspects of the music analysis, and a conclusion.
1. Get ready
Before you start writing your essay, you should, of course, listen to a piece of music and study some information about the artist and the song itself. First of all, listen to the composition for the first time and write down your thoughts. Try not to think about the lyrics and concentrate on the feelings. The second time, pay attention precisely to the lyrics of the song (if there are any) and again describe your emotions. It would help if you didn’t read other people’s reviews and the story behind the song until you’ve formed your very own opinion of it.
It is best to begin by analyzing the melody, its sound, the music, and the setting. First of all, the music and the melody create the impression of the song. Only by listening to a piece several times in a row can you form a correct opinion of it and understand its meaning.
Describe the tone of the song, the quality of the arrangement, the sound of some of the musical instruments. For example, the bass guitar creates the main tone or there would be no drums and the song would not succeed. In the case of writing a review for a specialized publication or on request, you need to describe everything in professional terms, trace the composition of the song, analyze all its parts.
It is necessary to note the musical style in which the song was written, the quality of the recording, and it is better not to compare it with the previous repertoire of the performer unless, of course, this song will be radically better or worse than previous ones. Note what emotions the song evoked in you, what impressed you most, and what upset you most.
The second component of the song is the lyrics. You should briefly describe the content and meaning of the song. Emphasize the beauty of the lyric, its meaningfulness, the beauty of the verse, and convey its meaning and content. If the author used some striking comparisons or metaphors, it would not be superfluous to tell about them. Try to imagine what the author wanted to convey to the audience and how he succeeded or failed.
Tell more details about the song, the story of its creation. Don’t forget to trace the connection to events that were happening in the world or in the life of the musician at the time. All the facts obtained about it will help to make a deeper analysis and understand the hidden meaning. Just do not go into the smallest details because it will not make sense, and it can spoil the impression. However, it often happens that without knowing the history of creation and the events that prompted the creation of the musical composition, listeners underestimate the art or even consider the song to be outright nonsense. For example, if you don’t know the history of the Taro song by Alt-J, you would probably not get a thing. But if you dig deeper, you will understand that this is a beautiful love song about two protographs — Robert Capa and Gerda Taro — who died during the war and reunited in their afterlives.
It would help if you analyzed the work as objectively as possible. Your attitude toward the author or performer should not affect the quality of the review in any way. You must be as honest as possible with the reader and write a review, which should include neither solid praise nor only negative reviews.
You should describe both the strengths and weaknesses of the song. You can express your personal opinion, however, not to be biased. Your readers might not be familiar with the song and the art of a performer. You have to keep this in mind and not miss any essential details in your essay.
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How to Sociologically review a Song: Explained with Examples
As you get trained as a sociologist, you cannot help but look at the world critically. You begin to question things in your everyday life, view things from a fresh lens, and achieve a better understanding of the deep functioning of society. Many things that we do every day play a vital role in forming our understanding and perspectives. Similarly, music is a regular part of our lives. A very famous saying says that “your playlist defines you.” As sociologists, we do not agree or disagree with this phrase, but we dissect it. Any song, its lyrics, music, and much more can be studied sociologically. Today that’s what we’re going to do and learn how to sociologically review a song.
Step 1: Choose a Song to review
You can choose any song. A song you might love, a song you may hate, a popular song, a hidden gem, etc., really any song would do.
To understand better, we will make use of an example. The song we will review in this article will be “The Man” by Taylor Swift.
Step 2: Do a Background Research
Once you have chosen the song of your liking, make sure to do background research. Discover the lyrics, search about the writer, composer, singer, and producer. If it is a song with a music video, find out a little about its director and the actors recruited as well. Doing background research helps us understand the context of the song and all the processes of the song making.
Luckily for our example, “The Man” is written, directed, and acted by Taylor Swift herself. Therefore we will do a brief research on Taylor Swift.
Step 3: Determine HOW you want to write the review
There are many ways to sociologically review any material. However, two ways are the most common ways to review. You can choose a single perspective in the first style and apply it to review the song. Or in another style, you can select two or more viewpoints and then compare them to present a comparative analysis. Whichever style you choose to adopt for reviewing, make sure that you are well aware of the existing literature and debates.
Without a strong base, you cannot apply the theory in a context outside of it. In the realm of sociology, there are many ‘schools of thought’ that you can use to study any phenomenon. Some of these are the functionalist, the conflict, the feminist, the structuralist, etc. To do your best work, it is imperative that you look for the best method (applying a single perspective or a comparative analysis) and the best lens to review (which school of thought) the song.
To review “The Man” by Taylor Swift, we will apply the Feminist lens to decipher the song. By analyzing the song from a feminist perspective, we can argue how it exaggerates the male privilege and mocks it while conveying the message that the world has long been patriarchal.
Step 4: Start with your Review
Until now, you have shortlisted a song, done its background research, and chosen the lens you will allocate to review the song. Now it is time to put all this hard work into writing your review. Your sociological song review structure is very similar to the structure of any assignment you do.
- Abstract or Aim of your study
- Summary or the Background of the Song and its video (optional)
Learn to write a Sociological Essay in the most simplistic way!
- Abstract/ Aim
The abstract or the aim should be a reflection of your assignment. An abstract should tell the readers a bit of your article’s structure and content. It is like a snippet of your larger work. Write in your abstract why you chose this particular song and how you aim to analyze it, using which lens. Keep it concise and to the point. It is best to write the abstract in the end because by then, you know exactly what your work is about. If you plan to write the abstract beforehand, do not be scared to change it after completing the review. Oftentimes the plan you choose at the beginning and the reality of your analysis can vary.
In the abstract of a song review, you can write how the feminist perspective is the best way to analyze this song. You can highlight the concepts and debates of feminist studies that you plan to apply and then how the song collaborates with them, such as accentuating various concepts like patriarchy, glass ceiling, sexuality, etc.
- Summary or the Background
It is a great possibility that the reader would not have heard the song you are reviewing. Therefore, it is always great to provide them with a link to the song and its lyrics so that they can make themselves acquainted with the song before reading further. The background research that you did will be applied here. Provide background about the singer, lyricist, composer, and director to build a context around the song. Keep in mind that you remain as objective as possible. Write in a neutral, third-person voice, where you just dwell in explaining the song’s context to your reader. Do not include your sociological perspective in this subsection.
The main body is where you shine. Now is the time for you to review the song by applying the chosen sociological lens. The main body is where you emphasize the various concepts and debates. You can either divide your main body into subsections or arrange paragraphs in such a way that they cover all the topics. Although to make your work look more professional, it is best to use subsections or subheadings. This way, your analysis will look cleaner, and the reader can navigate easily. No matter what sort of arrangement you choose for your song review, there is a way to write and arrange paragraphs academically.
You should divide the content into two to three sections while introducing and explaining any concept, either through paragraphs or subheadings. In the first paragraph, point out the specifics of what you wish to analyze. Shed light on the lyrics, the scene in the music video, or the concept you want to deliberate on. Use the second paragraph to form a connection between your theory and your subject of study. Apply theoretical knowledge to explain what’s happening in the song and why. Back it up with theoretical groundwork. Utilize the third paragraph to form a relationship between the theory and the song with current or recent examples. When you add contemporary examples to back up your argument, it shows finesse and intelligence. It reflects that you understand a theory in its entirety to pally it into different scenarios.
To review the song “The Man” by Taylor Swift from a feminist perspective, you can divide the main body into subheadings such as:
Dissecting The Man,
Mockery as a form of expression,
Commentary on Patriarchy,
Exaggerating Stereotypes to break them,
Relating Reel and Real, etc.
The objective of a conclusion is to tie all the loose ends and reiterate all the points that you have dwelled on until now. The conclusion summarizes everything one last time so that the reader gets exactly what you are explaining. To write a beneficial conclusion is to point out how the analysis done by you can be located in an ongoing sociological debate and then how can it add more to it or benefit it.
The conclusion for the song can amplify how “The Man” by Taylor Swift adds to the feminist discussion because by mocking the toxic masculine traits and using strong pro-women lyrics, it is a critical way to look at the larger system of society.
Plagiarism is a crime in the world of academia. All of the hard work put in by you to complete your review can become undone if you have not done your citation and referencing correctly. Therefore, make sure that everything you produce is referenced and appropriately cited, with a bibliography in the end.
There are multiple forms of styles of citations that you can apply to your work. Some of the most common styles are MLA, APA, and Chicago. If you are working on Google Docs or Word, the citation tool makes the work easier by helping you curate citations.
How to add citations in Google Doc: Tools → Citation
How to add citations in Word Document: References → Insert Citations
But for those who want to cite manually, this is the basic format to follow:
- Author’s Name with Surname mentioned first, then initials
- Article’s Title in single or double quotes
- Journal Title in Italics
- Volume, issue number
- Year of Publication
Example: Syrkin, A. 1984. “Notes on the Buddha’s Threats in the Dīgha Nikāya, ” Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies , vol. 7(1), pp.147-58.
Hello! Eiti is a budding sociologist whose passion lies in reading, researching, and writing. She thrives on coffee, to-do lists, deadlines, and organization. Eiti's primary interest areas encompass food, gender, and academia.
How to Write a Music Review Essay
Hardly anyone on the earth dislikes music. We all have music collections for certain emotions or songs connected to special occasions. But when it comes to composing a music review essay, most seem to be at a loss for words and have no idea where to start.
Typically, the purpose of writing a review is to make an impression. The reader’s perception of the song or album is formed after reading the essay. Therefore, the assessment must be impartial and feasible and provide the most trustworthy facts imaginably. Read on to learn how to write a music review essay.
Your assessment or criticism of a musical work is what a song review essay contains. The paper has an introduction, a major body covering several parts of the music analysis, and a conclusion. It is much like any other piece of academic writing. However, to better understand how to write one, below are several tips to guide you.
Listen to the Music
It would help if you listened through the entire song at least two times before beginning to write a review. When doing so, try to create your opinion on the music. Furthermore, think about the song’s melody and rhythm. Remember, the rhythm and music complete the song’s impression. After giving the piece a few listens, you may assess it critically to comprehend its message.
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It is crucial to consider the song’s music style and the caliber of the production. Remember, it is best to avoid comparing it to the musician’s previous work unless the current song will be notably better or worse than earlier works. Take note of the feelings the song brought up for you and what impressed and upbraided you the most.
Finally, pay attention to the song’s lyrics. Poems make up a significant portion of the music. Therefore, you should pay attention to their meaning and content. Draw attention to the lyric’s beauty, completeness, and value.
Conduct a Background Research
The research comes next after you’ve finished listening. To gather information about the music, you could also try to study articles and reviews written by the artist. You could also listen to and watch their interviews. In a background study, research the song’s history and composition. Don’t forget to establish the connection to current happenings in the globe or the songwriter’s life at the moment as well.
The information gathered will aid in a more thorough examination and understanding of the underlying message. Listeners frequently underestimate the brilliance of a musical piece. It is because they are unaware of the history of its production and the circumstances that led to its conception.
To examine the song lyrics in greater detail, print them out. Find literary devices in the lyrics and analyze how they influence the song’s message and atmosphere. For instance, take note of the symmetry and repetition of harmonious sounds. Following a stressed vowel might give the impression that a line of poetry is harsher to the ear.
Formulate an Outline
As mentioned earlier, a music review essay is similar to other forms of academic writing. Therefore, it follows a particular structure too. The standard essay format demands the paper have an introduction with a thesis statement, a body, and a conclusion. Your review may be three, five, or even more paragraphs depending on the required length.
Remember, creating an outline forms a map you can easily follow when writing the review to ensure you include all the details.
The introduction paragraph may include details about the music as well as numerous phrases about the musician. You can also give some background info, such as describing how the song was composed. Don’t forget to provide a brief thesis statement outlining the subject of your review essay.
Your paper’s main body is entirely devoted to analyzing what you have heard. Each paragraph should contain a central concept, and every sentence that follows should help reinforce it. Here, you can recognize the musical components, composing techniques, and style.
Finally, the conclusion should reaffirm your viewpoint from the thesis statement. You might also briefly discuss the emotions and sentiments that the song elicits and how they affected your assessment.
Write the Draft
When composing your draft, remember to follow the standard grammatical, punctuation, and spelling norms for essays. Furthermore, remember to consider any particular instructions from your instructor.
In the introduction, establish your thesis and quickly describe your critical points of contention. The essay’s body should be devoted to elaborating on its supporting arguments. In the conclusion of your paper, restate your thesis and list the topics you covered.
It is crucial that you evaluate the music as objectively as you can; the caliber of your evaluation should in no way be impacted by your feelings toward the composer or performance. It would be best if you created a review that is as sincere as possible with the audience and avoid focusing solely on positive or negative remarks.
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Steps for Writing a Music Review
- You will need to listen to the album or song you are going to write a review about with concentration. It is better to listen to the source material at least three-four times, with intervals.
- While listening to your selected music, take notes on what is good and bad in the album or song, what impressed you and what did not impress you.
- When beginning the writing of your review, include some background information: name of the group, genre they play in, the album’s tracklist, date of release, and so on.
- After writing the background information, write an evaluation of the music, usually a paragraph for each category. The categories are usually the lyrics (for example, whether it was meaningful or not), vocals, the instrumentation, quality of performance, general impression of the album/song, and its originality. If you are reviewing an album, you can focus on particular tracks, if you like, but make sure the review covers the whole album.
- After writing the evaluation portion, summarize your impressions and give a rating. It is common to give a 5-point or 10-point rating i.e. “Cool Kids” earns 4/5.
- Edit your review a few times and check if the factual information you wrote about the music group is correct.
Key Points to Consider
- If you are not a professional musician, giving your opinion about music you have just listened to might be difficult. This is why you need to listen to the source material at least a few times to let it sink in. After listening to your chosen music a few times, you will be able to notice nuances, and find something special about every song you listen to (or you may discover there is nothing special about it, which is also a piece of material for your review).
- While writing about music, it is better to use language that describes your emotions rather than facts. If you say, “The drums in this album are pretty decent,” nobody will bat an eye; however, if you write something like, “The drums in this album reminded me of a heavy machine gun combined with a jackhammer thrown in,” the impression created by your words will be stronger and more vivid.
- Quality over quantity. A music review is not a genre where you need to write lengthy academic content; 250-300 words is more than enough. Just keep in mind: it should be high quality writing.
- If you like the artist on whose music you are writing a review, try not to be biased. Your feelings towards a musician can be spotted easily, and after this, the credibility of your review will be zero.
Remember, you can always get an idea of how your review should look like from the texts of others. Even academic writing services show that people tend to search for similar texts. As such, you can find them using the services of some websites, described in those reviews.
Do and Don’t
Common mistakes when writing a music review.
– Being biased in your review rather than being objectively critical or praising.
– Writing long reviews that lack specific details.
– Writing either entirely positive or super negative reviews.
– Forgetting to check the factual information in the review after finishing the writing process.
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Analyzing a Song – So Simple Every Student Can Do It
December 13, 2022 // by Lindsay Ann // 2 Comments
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English teachers, teaching your students how to analyze song lyrics needs to be a “go-to” strategy, a step toward deeper analysis of more complex texts .
Whether you’re teaching poetry, persuasive essays, or some other writing unit, analyzing song lyrics will give your students an opportunity to look at the different ways that language can be used to capture emotions and tell stories .
This close reading process will also help improve their vocabulary and grammar skills while they are having fun!
Here are some tips on how to teach students to analyze song lyrics so that they can gain valuable writing knowledge through a familiar medium they love!
Analysis of Song Lyrics
Taylor Swift makes analyzing song lyrics in the classroom easy peasy. Like her or not, you can count on her to write songs that tell a story, are layered in deep meaning, and littered with Easter eggs that are fun to try and collect (even for the non-Swifties).
Taylor Swift’s “ Anti Hero” is a fun student-friendly song to bring into the classroom to practice analysis skills.
With callbacks to songs on other albums in lines like “I have this thing where I get older but just never wiser,” you can challenge students to analyze the development of a theme across multiple texts (helloooo higher level DOK and those really tricky to meet standards!).
Lyrics like “I’m the problem; it’s me” coupled with the title setup an opportunity to teach the concept of anti-hero (I especially like the idea of teaching about anti-heroes after teaching about the hero’s journey) and challenging students to analyze how Swift herself could be seen as this archetype by analyzing other songs and conducting online research.
“Anti Hero” also has what appear to be two references to pop culture ( 30 Rock and Knives Out ) that had even the swiftest of Swifties stumped online. These references are an accessible way to introduce the idea of allegory.
Taylor has really teed up the song analysis practice in English classrooms to be endless with so many rabbit holes to go down at every turn!
Song Meaning “Hallelujah”
Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” has a deep meaning making it a popular choice for teaching song analysis. The meaning of Hallelujah is about someone who was deeply in love and is mourning the guilt of the loss of that love .
The song can teach students how to analyze lyrics by pointing out that even though it doesn’t say so explicitly, this is a song about a break-up .
They can also learn other aspects of reading literature, like examining tone and form. Analyzing song lyrics enables students to apply what they’ve learned as they read other texts or songs.
After reading a poem or listening to a song’s lyrics, students should be able to answer questions like:
- Who is speaking?
- How do you know?
- What do you think the speaker’s feelings are?
- What does this tell you about their personality?
- Do these feelings make sense for the situation?
Good Songs to Analyze
When choosing good songs to analyze remember these three things:
- Choose a song that tells a story
- A song with a deep meaning or theme that challenges students’ inferential thinking skills works best
- Pick songs that students will know and be excited to listen to (that means that while “We Didn’t Start the Fire” is technically a great song for analysis, it might not be the most engaging for your students)
Here are some songs for teaching song analysis that will not only help you teach important analysis skills but also engage and delight your students:
- “ Pray for Me ” by the Weeknd ft. Kendrick Lamar
- “ Thunder ” by Imagine Dragons
- “ Bohemian Rhapsody ” by Queen (this one is suitable for older students)
- “ Born This Way ” by Lady Gaga
- “ Getting Older ” by Billie Eilish
- “ Drivers License ” by Olivia Rodrigo
- “ This is America ” by Childish Gambino/Donald Glover
- “ Matilda ” by Harry Styles
- “ Victoria’s Secret ” by Jax (does have some profanity – I’ve linked the “clean” version)
- “ Vacation ” by The Dirty Heads (does say “shit”)
How to Analyze a Song
Teaching students how to analyze a song is similar to teaching poetry or literary analysis, but using songs disguises the learning as a fun activity making it really engaging and accessible for all learners.
Start by having students listen to their song twice .
- Instruct them to listen through for the first time just for enjoyment and to follow along with the printed lyrics (or digital if you have a way for students to access the lyrics online).
- Then have them listen a second time but this time have them highlight and circle words and phrases that they think are important and interesting.
Challenge students to consider the following questions during their second time listening and to annotate the lyrics as they go:
- Who’s telling the story? What’s their perspective? How do they feel? What’s making them feel that way?
- What’s the mood of the song? Do the lyrics or the music contribute more to the mood?
- What figurative language do you notice in the lyrics? Why might the songwriter have chosen to include that figurative language?
- What could the songwriter be saying about human nature or society through their lyrics? How could you write a theme statement about these lyrics?
Once you’ve gotten your students started with the analysis process, make sure to involve your students. Ask them what they notice and use their insights to build discussion. Have them write a summary of the song or write a detailed analysis or work on a more creative, visual response.
Song & Poem Analysis Paired Text Lesson Plans
Make close reading, textual analysis and literary analysis of songs (and poems) less intimidating with these detailed, CCSS-aligned close reading song analysis lesson plans for paired texts . Integrated close reading, text-based writing, speaking, listening, and inquiry skills, make these lessons both engaging and worthwhile.
To help you save prep time, I’ve put together some awesome lessons for you HERE , including:
- Carrie Underwood’s song “Cry Pretty” & Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ song “Growing Up”
- William Ernest Henley’s poem “Invictus” & Imagine Dragons’ song “Whatever it Takes”
- Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise” and Tupac’s song “Still I Rise”
- Stephen Dobyns’ poem “Loud Music” and Incubus’ song “Dig”
- “Anti-Hero” by Taylor Swift
- “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” by Green Day and “Brick by Boring Brick” by Paramore
- “Hotel California” by the Eagles and “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin
- Protest Songs
- “Mad World” by Tears for Fears and “A Million Dreams” sung by Pink / The Greatest Showman
When students analyze songs, they think about its overall impact.
What makes this song great, and why do you like it? What is it about this song that makes it stand out?
Thinking through these ideas with easily-accessible texts makes transferring their skills and knowledge to literature (ya know, the kind with the capital L ) easier.
They’ll have practice analyzing craft moves like figurative language and allegory, but they’ll also have practice with those more complex reading strategies like making inferences and connections .
Have a song you think would be perfect to analyze in the classroom? I’d love to hear about it! Drop me a comment below to share!
Hey, if you loved this post, you’ll want to download a FREE copy of my guide to streamlined grading .
I know how hard it is to do all the things as an English teacher, so I’m excited to share some of my best strategies for reducing the grading overwhelm.
About Lindsay Ann
Lindsay has been teaching high school English in the burbs of Chicago for 18 years. She is passionate about helping English teachers find balance in their lives and teaching practice through practical feedback strategies and student-led learning strategies. She also geeks out about literary analysis, inquiry-based learning, and classroom technology integration. When Lindsay is not teaching, she enjoys playing with her two kids, running, and getting lost in a good book.
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[SOLVED!] How to Write a Music Review Essay
Since listening to music is easier than writing music reviews, how to write a music review essay is a question that troubles a lot of music-oriented students. You have a hard time putting what you feel while listening to music into words? In that case, you should find this article useful.
Music Review Essay
The review of the song about the musical configuration is our judgement or comment. Therefore, you need to make this essay less personal and include all authentic information. Like all other academic writing pieces, an essay includes:
- An introduction.
- A central body dealing with different aspects of music reviews.
- A final thought or conclusion.
7 Tips To Write A Music Review Essay
Keep in mind that when you are going to write a song review, you will convey your thinking about that song to the readers. So, when you are analyzing this music genre, these tips will play a vital role to write an engaging and readable piece.
First of all, you should listen to the song 2-3 times from start to end. As your listening process is going, you should also note down the primary feelings and think about them. After it, think about the introductory and summing parts of the song. On the other hand, you should also try to listen to the music from a critical perspective. The listening source may vary according to your choice.
2- Research Is Important
After completing your listening, the next step is research. You should try to read articles and reviews with the artist to collect evidence about the song as well. In this way, you will know other people’s reviews about it. Moreover, you will also come to learn the precise language to use in music essay writing.
3- Think About Context
In the 3rd step, you should wisely think about the song from the background perspective of its genre. You should also take a look at the background of the artist. The context outlook may be compared with its category, its stick of gum pop like classical type, etc. Either is blurring the line between heavy metal and committed punk.
4- Consider Album Aspects
While writing a musical review essay, you should look at all parts of the album, like how it performs as a whole, as a separate song, its lines, reproduction, tools and preparation. Now develop an entire fancy and describe it in detail, including all exciting things.
You should not copy others’ writing while writing your review. Your analysis should be impartial and unique, as it is your own, not others’ thinking. If you find it interesting and like it, you should let other people know about it. However, if you are critical about it, write your thoughts.
You can recognize other people’s feelings and think about the song, but this is your analysis. That is why your thinking and analysis is most important.
6- Write Evidently
Now you are close to closing your review essay. It must be clear and easy to understand. You should use headings and subtitles and highlight different song characteristics in distinct pieces to make it easier to follow. To make it more appealing and attractive, you can use images of the artist or the album creation to divide the text and explain your essay.
7- Modify Your Analysis/Review
After writing the rough draft of your essay:
- Look at how to modify it.
- Find ways to make it solid and notable. You can also read it loudly or request others to review and give their feedback.
- Proofread it, check the grammar mistakes and make suitable changes.
Encourage and Discourage
- You should have to write your review essay outstandingly. Note that review writing is a type where you must express your opinions and impressions. If not, it will be boring.
- Try to write in a clear and convincing style. If you like it, support your argument. If you dislike it, let the people know its weak point.
- Make a comparison of your review category to other reviews of the same genres.
- Before starting your essay, read other people’s reviews about this piece.
- You should not show biased behaviour about your analysis of the music.
- Your conclusion should not be illogical. If you are encouraging the audience to buy this album, you should support it logically.
- Don’t write too much length content. Try to write short but precise and concise sentences.
Music is an important part of our life. It soothes our moods and spreads happiness. But as much as it is interesting, it would be challenging for us to write a music review essay. While focusing on the above tips will help you to guide about it.
Hi music fan! I am Jeff. Hope that you enjoy some stuff I shared here in my personal blog.
About myself, Currently I am in charging as Artist Manager/Music Supervisor at 72 Music Management. I did managed album to Grammy Award in 2017 with 7 Nominations from 2014-2020 and had the opportunities to work with : A.J. Croce, Blind Boys of Alabama, Bobby Rush, Dom Flemons, Dustbowl Revival, Sarah Grace
Governor of the Memphis Chapter of The Recording Academy is one of a award that I am lucky to achieved.
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A Meaningful Song in My Life
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