Excited about that new band you discovered? Want to write a kick-ass review at CD Baby or Amazon, but aren’t sure how? Or maybe you’re a professional writer looking for ways to review a favorite CD? Here are a few things you’ll want to remember.
Tell us the name of the act and the title of the release
Basic, I know, but if the site has multiple releases, you want the readers to know which artist and title.
Let us know the genre
We hate to categorize music, but that’s how a reader will know if it’s something they’d like. If it’s fusion, tell us that, too. I’m a big fan of The Mollys, a group from Tucson, that I consider the best Tex-Mex-Irish band on the planet. Gives you an idea of what they do, right? (Sadly, they have disbanded. A moment of silence, please.)
Don’t be overly negative
If it’s a small indie label, chances are they don’t get many reviews. Why ruin it for them with one long whine about how they stink? There’s always something positive you can say and then, follow that up with constructive feedback. If it sounds like the drums were recorded in another room, or if the harmony vocals are sour, say so. (If the band wants only rosy reviews filled with superlatives, they should call their mamas.) On the other hand, if you truly loved everything about the recording, tell us that.
Show, don’t tell
Back up any general statement. “This song is great!” tells us little. If you think a cut is boring, say why. Maybe the words are too repetitive for a folk song? Perhaps a death metal song shouldn’t be about daisies and sunshine?
Compare to other artists
Some musicians hate this because they all want to be unique, but it’s a good way to convey how someone sounds. If I’m a big Alicia Keys fan, I’m definitely going to be on the lookout for artists who have her vibe.
Compare to their other work
If you have the act’s other albums, tell us how this release compares.
Include something personal
Someone once wrote a review of one my albums by saying that they were laughing so hard, they almost ran off the road. A personal comment like that is much more appealing than a simple, “She’s really funny.”
It doesn’t have to be long
If you’re posting at a download site, you may just need a few lines. Even if you’re writing something longer, be concise.
I’ve written a few hundred CD reviews for several publications and websites. Sorry, I can’t review anything sent directly to me – everything comes from my editors.
I write bios and press releases for musicians. Find out more about my writing services here.