The Music Review Criticism Exercise
Write a review of a musical album (meaning collection of songs by a single artist). Write the review as though it’s a professional review written to help consumers decide whether they want to buy the album.
Briefly summarize the theme of the album. Are they mostly dance tunes? Did the artist just come out of a bad relationship? Is the artist in love? Is the artist trying to raise his or her listener’s consciousness about an issue(s)? Is the music inspirational? Is the music depressing?
Explain how good or how terrible the artist is and why. Tell what you like about the album (and, of course, what you don’t like about the album). Make sure that no matter how good the album is you find something critical to say about it, and vice versa.
Give yourself a time limit and space limit. It’s easy for you to overwrite this assignment, so stay focused and avoid rambling.
Use this exercise to practice your critic’s voice. Be vicious in the review, tearing something apart while still being persuasive. Be the master of the subtle jab—be as polite and even-toned as possible while still skewering something. If your opinion is positive, give solid reason why. Find a way to praise something without resorting to a one-paragraph “uh, it’s great!”