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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.

Proofread the Draft and Modify it Where Possible

After writing the draft, it is vital to proofread it while identifying possible mistakes and missing information. Additionally, you can read it aloud or ask others to provide feedback. Most essay writers forget or ignore this part, even those writing music review essays. However, it is one of the most crucial steps.

Remember, proofreading enables you to identify and correct grammatical errors such as spelling and punctuation errors. Furthermore, through a review of your work, you can quickly identify where your assessment is not solid enough. Afterward, you can modify the parts where you feel the essay falls short of your expectations or doesn’t meet specific requirements.

After editing the essay, proofread again to ascertain everything checks out. You can then submit the paper for marking or publishing afterward.

Most music-oriented students and writers find it challenging to write music review essays. They find it hard to describe their emotions and experiences after listening to music. Therefore, learning how to write a music review essay is pretty crucial. However, reading this article helps you with such writing when you face similar difficulties.

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  • Writing Tips

8 Tips on How to Write a Music Review

3-minute read

  • 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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song review essay

[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.

song review essay

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.

5- Impartiality

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.

Discourage  

  • 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.

song review essay

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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4 Tips on How to Write a Music Review Essay

song 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.

4. Background

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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Songs Analysis: Themes and Motifs Essay (Critical Writing)

  • To find inspiration for your paper and overcome writer’s block
  • As a source of information (ensure proper referencing)
  • As a template for you assignment

The Sugarhill Gang – Rappers Delight

The song Rappers Delight is clearly representative of what used to be the discursive essence of themes and motifs, explored by the early affiliates of the Hip-Hop musical genre. In it, the band members expound on the pleasures of enjoying life to its fullest, while implying that it is specifically one’s possession of a plenty of money, which allows the concerned individual to lead an independent and thoroughly delightful lifestyle: “I got bodyguards, I got two big cars… I got a Lincoln continental and a sunroof Cadillac”.

The song’s lyrics also explore the motif of sexuality – rappers make continual references to the fact that it is specifically their social status-related ‘coolness’, which allow them to have sex with as many women, as they can handle.

Even though that the earlier mentioned themes and motifs are clearly present in the modern rap-lyrics, the manner in which The Sugarhill Gang reflects upon them leaves only a few doubts, as to the fact that the song in question was composed in the late seventies. This is because; as opposed to what it is being the case with today’s rappers, the band members refrain from accentuating the aspects of their racial affiliation, as such naturally oppose them against the society.

In my opinion, this deprives the lyrics of Rappers Delight of a certain discursive depth and contributes to the fact that the discussed song can be well referred to, as such that promotes a highly stereotypical image of African-Americans, as people utterly alienated from the issues of a socio-political importance.

Africa Bambataa – Planet Rock

One’s exposure to the lyrics of Planet Rock , suggest that this song is being the least concerned with tackling any semantically identifiable issues. In essence, the song’s actual text consists of the lead-singer’s pleas for listeners to adopt a partying mood: “Party people, party people. Can y’all get funky?”. The most memorable aspect of how he does it is that there is an undeniable hype to these pleas, which in turn implies that the listeners’ likelihood to ‘get funky’ positively relates to their willingness to get high on alcohol or drugs.

Nevertheless, the song in question is not altogether deprived of a certain political sounding, because it subtly refers to the promoted activity, as being associated with the lifestyle of the self-proclaimed ‘Zulu Nation’ members.

In addition, the drumbeat, featured in the song’s melody, is clearly reminiscent of the drumbeat in African folk tunes. This subtly implies that the song’s semantic content (even though there is very little of it in the song) cannot be discussed outside of the band members’ clearly defined commitment to celebrate their ethno-cultural uniqueness.

Even though, as it was mentioned earlier, Planet Rock may not be praised on the account of its thematic richness; there is nevertheless a certain rationale in referring to it as being rather powerful, in the discursive sense of this word. This is because, it does prompt listeners to explore what happened to be their socially suppressed anxieties/desires – hence, empowering them to an extent, as individuals unaffected by the conventions of a perceptual euro-centricity.

Newcleus – Jam On It

This song is another good example of what hip-hop rapping used to be all about, during the course of the eighties. After all, the song’s most easily identifiable trademarks are: the ideological neutrality of its lyrics and the inclusion of electronic music, as the tool of emphasizing the melody’s rhythm. Briefly, the song’s lyrics glorify the lifestyle of intellectually liberated individuals, who strive to have fun, as the main purpose of their existence: “You gotta funk it up until it knocks you down”.

At the same time, however, some of the song’s lines do seem to sound rather politically charged, like the following: “Jammin… It’s what separates us from the rest”, “I’m down by law when it comes to rockin’ viciously, you see”. As these lines imply, there is indeed a qualitative difference between African-Americans (us) and the rest of Americans (them).

Moreover, the latter line subtly suggests that African-Americans are in no position to explore their music-related aesthetic tastes to the fullest, as it can be well deemed an ‘illegal’ activity.

Thus, Jam On It can well be referred to as a ‘transitional’ rap-song, which marked the process of Black rappers beginning to explore the issue of the Black people’s ‘otherness’, as such that defines their existential mode more than anything does, from the mid-eighties on. Therefore, this particular song can be recommended for listening by people who are interested in learning about the history of American hip-hop.

Kurtis Blow – The Breaks

In his song, Kurtis Blow enlightens listeners on the fact that one can never be in a full control of its life, as the life’s dynamics never cease being affected by a number of unforeseen developments – ‘breaks’: “Breaks to win and breaks to lose

But these here breaks will rock your shoes”. Nevertheless, even though Blow refers to these ‘breaks’, as being necessarily counter-beneficiary, there is an undeniable aura of optimism to the song.

Partially, this can be explained by the fact that, despite the song’s formal affiliation with the genre of hip-hop, it is heavily affected by the musical conventions of disco. This is also the reason why The Breaks can be well used, as the musical accompaniment to dancing. Because of that, there can be only a few doubts, as to the fact that the song in question was written in a time when the genre of hip-hop was through the early phase of its development.

Although The Breaks is a rather optimistic/’light’ song, there is a clearly defined philosophical sounding to it. This is because it does encourage listeners to contemplate on the sporadic nature of life-challenges. What it means is that, after having been exposed to this particular song, people would be much more like to adopt a proper stance, when it comes to anticipating and addressing these challenges.

Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five – The Message

In this song, Melle Mel and Duke Bootee reflect upon the actual realities of an urban living in America. According to them, while dealing with life-challenges, many people end up being pushed to the limits of their endurance, because their experiences, in this respect, often cause them to realize that they are in fact living in an ‘urban jungle’: “It’s like a jungle sometimes, it makes me wonder.

How I keep from going under”. Hence, the song’s subtly conveyed message – it is specially the society, which should be blamed for the fact that many of its members fail at attaining a social prominence.

Unlike what it used to be the case with the semantic content of the hip-hop early compositions, the themes and motifs, featured in The Message , appear to be clearly socio-economic. After all, they emphasize the fact that is the very specifics of a post-industrial living in America, which cause many affected people to grow mentally unstable (Jenkins 9). This, of course, suggests that there are clearly political overtones to this song, as it tackles the issue of people’s exploitation in the intellectually honest manner.

Due to what has been pointed out earlier, I think that there is indeed a good rationale in referring to The Message , as a discursively powerful song. After all, this song can well be discussed, as such that indicts the country’s rich and powerful, on the account of the latter enjoying their lives, at the expense of denying the same opportunity to the society’s underprivileged members.

Run DMC – Sucker MCs

This particular song is concerned with the rapper (Jam Master Jay) expounding on the particulars of his lifestyle, as an individual who has what it takes to take a practical advantage of opportunities in life.

The song’s main theme is that it is specifically one’s financial well-being, which reflects the extent of the concerned individual’s happiness: “Champagne caviar, and bubble bath. But see ahh, ah that’s the life, ah that I lead”. The song also promotes the idea that the situation when many people fail, while striving to enrich themselves, is thoroughly natural, because it correlates with the objective laws of nature.

Even though that Sucker MCs can be best described as a rather apolitical song, it is nevertheless discursively progressive. This is because it encourages listeners to consciously realize something that the majority of people are being aware of on an unconscious level – the measure of just about any individual’s worth reflects the amount of money that he or she happened to have in the bank – pure and simple.

It is understood, of course, that many moralistically minded/religious people may disagree with the song’s foremost message. Yet, it does not make this message less valid. After all, the very notion of the ‘American Dream’ has traditionally been associated with the notion of a material prosperity. Therefore, it will not be much of an exaggeration to suggest that Sucker MCs is indeed an intellectually enlightening song.

UTFO – Roxanne Roxanne

Roxanne Roxanne is one of the most famous early hip-hop compositions. In it, the rappers (Shiller Shaun Fequiere and Jeffrey Campbell) tell the story of how they tried to win a favor with Roxane – a girl they met out on the street. As the song implies, it is specifically their ‘sophistication’, which each of the rappers believed was going to attract Roxanne: “She’ll (Roxanne) take to my rap, cause my rap’s the best. The educated rapper MD will never fess”. In the end, Roxanne agrees to go out on a date with one of the rappers.

Even though that Roxanne Roxanne if an ideologically neutral song, it nowadays would have been deemed politically incorrect. This is because, despite the fact that both rappers do express their admiration of Roxanne, they nevertheless appear fully aware that there is nothing truly special about her. In their eyes, she is nothing but one among the millions and millions of similarly minded ‘broads’ – pretty on the outside, but quite shallow on the inside: “I ain’t comitting suicide for no crab… calling her a crab is just a figure of speech”.

Thus, Roxanne Roxanne can be well referred to, as a song that accentuates the fact that men and women are different, in the psychological sense of this word. Yet, this is exactly what attracts them to each other – quite contrary to what the conventions of political correctness imply (Wouters 730).

Salt N Pepa – Tramp

In this song, the rap-singers (all female) go about warning women that they would be much better off exercising a caution in their relationships with men. This is because, according to these singers, men are obsessed with sex, which in turn causes them to treat women, as nothing short of prostitutes: “You know that kind (of men), excited all the time. With nothin’ but sex on the mind”. The song concludes with the band members suggesting that, due to their awareness of what accounts for men’s true agenda, they will not be easily victimized.

The earlier provided summary of this song leaves only a few doubts, as to the fact that feminists composed it. After all, the text implies that the singers’ foremost agenda in life was protecting their bodies from coming into a close contact with men – quite contrary to the fact that female bodies are being specifically ‘designed’ to be ‘penetrated’ by men for the purpose of ‘baby-making’.

Therefore, Tramp can be discussed, as such that reflects the singers might have been affected by the condition of a sexual frigidness, common among feministically minded women.

I personally do not think that there is much of a discursive value to the song Tramp . It is not only that it provides listeners with an utterly distorted view of male sexuality, but it also aims to stereotype all men, as sexual maniacs. Given the coarse sounding of the singers’ voices, we can speculate that the themes and motifs, contained in this song, are rather subliminal.

Sir Mix-a-Lot – Posse on Broadway

In this song, Anthony Ray raps about the road-trip that he and his friends undertook along the streets of Seattle: “In the Black Benz Limo, with the cellular phone. I’m callin’ up the posse, it’s time to get rippin’”. As they continue to drive around, the ‘posse’ is growing larger, while putting a strain of the car’s suspension. This, however, does not cause the rapper a great deal of worry. According to him, there can never be too high of a price for having fun.

What is especially noticeable about this particular song is that it emanates the strong spirit of solidarity – Ray and his friends appear to share the same existential values. In fact, this enables them to have fun, in the first place, as the sensation of unity, on their part, causes the crew members not only to feel quite safe, but also elevates them to a position of authority.

This is the reason why, while faced with the incident of some other man mistreating its girlfriend, one of Ray’s friends decides to give this person a lesson: “My homeboy P.L.B. co’ sprayed the boy with mace”.

Therefore, it will be appropriate to refer to Posse on Broadway , as such, that contains a clue, as to what accounts for the main difference between African-Americans, on the one hand, and Whites, on the other. This difference is concerned with the fact that, unlike what it is being usually the case with Whites, Black-Americans never hesitate to stick up for each other, when circumstances call for it.

LL Cool J – I Need Love

I Need Love is an essentially love-song, in which LL Cool J expounds on the fact that, having not had loved any woman for real, he could never make his life complete, and expresses his deep-seated desire to fall in love. The lines “I need love. I need love”, repeated over and over, throughout the song’s duration, emphasize the sheer genuineness of the rapper’s desire, in this respect.

One of the song’s most memorable aspects is the fact that it points out to love, as something can only be truly experienced within the context of men and women pursuing a heterosexual relationship with each other: “Warmth… is created by a girl and a boy; You’re as soft as a pillow and I’m as hard as steel”.

In its turn, this suggests that the author knew perfectly well that accounts for the actual mechanics of a loving relationship between the representatives of both sexes – namely the fact that, while on their own, men and women experience the sensation of a psychological incompleteness. This is why; it is in the nature of psychologically adequate men and women to long for each other.

This idea, clearly read between the song’s lines, cannot be deemed politically correct nowadays, when even the most grotesque sexual deviations are being discussed in terms of an ‘alternative sex-style’. Yet, this is exactly the reason why I Need Love should be recommended for listening.

MC Lyte – Paper Thin

Paper Thin is another song that belongs to the genre of the so-called ‘feminist hip-hop’. In it, MC Lyte positions herself as an emotionally (and probably sexually) frigid woman, incapable of entering into long-lasting relationships with men: “I’m not the kind of girl to try to play a man out.

I take the money and the gear and then break the hell out”. This, however, does not seem to worry the singer, whatsoever. Quite on the contrary – she takes pride in being deprived of any romantic illusions towards men, in general, and towards the person, she had just slept with, in particular.

Given the song’s actual content, mentioned earlier, it does not come as a particular surprise that it is being particularly popular with feminists. After all, its themes and motifs are indeed consistent with these women’s subliminal desire to grow out penises. This, however, is also the reason why Paper Thin may never appeal to the broader public – it is not only that it features a poorly rhymed text, but it also unappealing, in the aesthetic sense of this word.

As what has been said earlier implies, my personal reaction to this song is strongly negative. In all probability, while writing it, MC Lyte wanted to represent herself as a thoroughly progressive woman, aware of the world’s actual ways. Yet, she only succeeded in exposing the sheer extent of its own perceptual arrogance, as a cynically minded and simultaneously not very bright individual, who suffers from the deep-seated complex of being nothing less of a ‘man in a skirt’.

Ice-T – Squeeze the Trigger

Squeeze the Trigger is the good example of the so-called ‘gangsta rap’. In it, Ice-T raps about what he considers the actual truths of life – the fact that, despite the politically correct propaganda of ‘peace and tolerance’, the streets in American large cities are in fact war-zones, and the fact that hypocrisy is only the ‘talent’ that the American high-ranking politicians possess.

This is the reason why the people of color in the US have no option but to grow accustomed to violence – by doing it, they simply strive to increase the chances of their physical survival: “I rap about the life that the city streets gave me. Murder, intrigue, somebody must bleed”.

Even though that the song’s lyrics are indeed rather violent, Squeeze the Trigger is nevertheless a thoroughly progressive rap-composition. This is because it does not glorify violence, as a ‘thing in itself’, as much as it exposes the violence’s actual roots: “Homeless sleep on the city streets… While rich politicians soak their feet, in the pools at their ten million buck retreats”. This, of course, endows this particular song with a well-defined political sounding, which gives Ice-T an additional credit.

I think that Squeeze the Trigger does a good job, while encouraging listeners to face the reality, as it is – hence, making them more capable of adopting a proper stance, when it comes to addressing life-challenges.

Public Enemy – Rebel without a Pause

The lyrics of this particular songs are concerned with the singer’s understanding, as to what accounts for his existential self-identity, and with his willingness to celebrate it – even at the expense of being referred to as an ‘anti-social element’: “Hard – my calling card… Loud and proud kickin’ live next poet supreme”. This, of course, naturally causes the song in question to be perceived as utterly powerful, in the discursive sense of this word.

Just as it happened with the song, discussed earlier, Rebel without a Pause implies that those African-Americans that subscribe to the explored themes and motifs, no longer want to remain observant of the provisions of euro-centricity. The reason for this is simple – as opposed to what it happened to be the case with degenerate Whites, they have a plenty of vitality to them. In its turn, this naturally predisposes brothers to experience the sensation of being in control of the streets – in essence; this is what the discussed song is all about.

My opinion of this song is strongly favorable. Partially, this is because the song’s lyrics confirm the validity of my belief that there is no reason for one’s existential strength to seek any moral justification – being a strong individual is ‘good’ by definition, just as being weak is ‘evil’. Therefore, there can only be a few doubts, as to the song’s beneficiary effects upon those who listen to it.

Two Live Crew – Me So Horny

In this song, the band members rap about being horny to such an extent that they have no reservations, whatsoever, against discussing the subject matter in the extremely straightforward manner: “I’m like a dog in heat, a freak without warnin’. I have an appetite for sex, ’cause me so horny’”.

Even though that some people may find the song’s lyrics morally inappropriate, the rappers have to be given a credit on the account of their willingness to talk openly about what others only whisper.

This, of course, implies that Me So Horny can be referred to, as being an intellectually stimulating musical piece. After all, the song’s themes and motifs do imply that a sexual desire is one of the main driving forces in just about any person’s life (Treacy and Randle 20). In this respect, Me So Horny i s perfectly consistent with the provisions of psychoanalysis.

Moreover, this song is also intellectually liberating – while exposed to it, listeners grow to be increasingly aware of the fact that there is nothing ‘shameful’ about the physiological workings of their bodies.

Therefore, it will only be logical to think of Me So Horny , as being educational to an extent. After all, people’s willingness to expose the sheer fallaciousness of a number of moralistic dogmas, concerned with ‘tabooing’ the sense of sexuality, is nowadays being deemed socially beneficial.

Boogie Down Productions – My Philosophy

In this song, the rapper (RS-One) talks about what he considers the qualitative aspects of his life-philosophy. The foremost of them happened to be his awareness of the fact that, in order to be able to emanate power, one should refrain from acting in the stereotypical manner: “I don’t… reinforce stereotypes of today. Like all my brothers eat chicken and watermelon”. Apparently, while promoting the earlier mentioned idea, the rapper wanted to empower Africa-Americans even further.

This, of course, provides us with a rational to refer to My Philosophy , as another example of how rap-music can be used to serve essentially educational purposes. After all, the song’s main philosophical premise is concerned with the realization of the fact that, in order to for people’s authority-claims to be legitimate, those who come with them must be thoroughly versatile individuals, capable of subjectualizing themselves within the surrounding reality: “It (life) is not about a salary it’s all about reality”.

The progressive sounding of this idea is quite clear, as it does prompt listeners to remain analytical, while trying to take a practical advantage of the opportunities that life periodically offers.

Therefore, I believe that My Philosophy does deserve to be recommended for listening, as a musical piece that is potentially capable of enlightening people on the true significance of a number of discursive issues.

NWA – Fuck the Police

In this song, the rappers talk about the fact that in today’s America, colored people continue to suffer from being exposed to the different forms of a racial discrimination. This is especially being the case when they deal with police: “(Police) searchin my car, lookin for the product.

Thinkin every nigga is sellin narcotics”. However, the rappers also express their belief that this situation will not last for much longer, due to the essence of the demographic dynamics in the U.S.: “Fuck the police and Ren said it with authority, because the niggaz on the street is a majority”. This statement, of course, can hardly be disagreed with (Jones and Jackson 77).

Therefore, I have no option but to refer to Fuck the Police , as another rap-song, the listening to which is capable to empower African-Americans rather substantially, in the psychological sense of this word. This is because it encourages them to believe that it is specifically brothers, and not the police, who represent the de facto authority out on the streets.

As such, Fuck the Police represents an undeniable discursive value, as a song that enlightens African-Americans on the sheer extent of their yet not fully realized existential potency.

Works Cited

Jenkins, Alan. “Inequality, Race, and Remedy.” American Prospect 18.5 (2007): 8-11. Print.

Jones, Nicholas and James Jackson. “The Demographic Profile of African Americans, 1970-2000.” Black Collegian 31.3 (2001): 72-79. Print.

Treacy, Vicky and Jacqueline Randle. “Breaking Sexuality Taboos.” Pediatric Nursing 16. 2 (2004): 19-22. Print.

Wouters, Cas. “Sexualization: Have Sexualization Processes Changed Direction?” Sexualities 13.6 (2010): 723-741. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2019, January 17). Songs Analysis: Themes and Motifs. https://ivypanda.com/essays/review-of-songs/

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Bibliography

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The Classroom | Empowering Students in Their College Journey

How do I Write a Song Analysis Essay?

How to Analyze a Poem in Middle School

How to Analyze a Poem in Middle School

A good song is like poetry put to music, making it more difficult to analyze than some people might think. A song is full of literary devices and figurative language, and the music develops tone and mood. When writing an essay about a song, you can't pay attention to the lyrics alone. The way the melody accompanies the lyrics can intensify or even change their emotional meaning, because music is a language on its own.

Listen and Brainstorm

Listen to the song a few times. Without thinking too much about stylistic specifics yet, write down how the song affects you. Decide how it makes you feel, and try to discern a central theme or message.

Read Closely and Analyze

Get a printout of the song lyrics so you can scrutinize them more closely. Scour the words for literary devices and consider how their use affects the meaning and feel of the song. For example, consonance, the repetition of consonant sounds, especially after a stressed vowel, can make a line of poetry sound harsher to the ear. A songwriter might use it in a song lyric to communicate frustration over a recent breakup or to create emphasis by making the sounds stand out more.

Consider the Music

Listen to the song again with your notes in front of you. Consider how the music aligns with the words. Cock your ears for crescendos, pauses, instruments fading in or out of the arrangement and tempo changes. Ask yourself how these details enrich the meaning of the lyrics and contribute to the effects of poetic devices. Music with a fast tempo might make listeners more aware of sound devices like consonance, whereas music with a slow tempo can give listeners more time to think about imagery and symbolism in the lyrics. Record your ideas.

Research the Historical Context

Research the historical, social and political context of the song. Music is often reflective of life experience, so knowledge of world events and prevailing attitudes might affect your interpretation. For example, some people think that Don McLean's "American Pie" is a commentary on changes to American culture at the time, and Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi" touches on environmental concerns at the beginning of the modern American environmental movement.

Examine the Album

Study the song within the context of the entire album. Ask yourself whether the album has a theme and how the song you've chosen to analyze contributes to its overall feel. Look at the order of the tunes, and decide if the artist chose a deliberate progression of songs to convey a message. Incorporate your ideas into your analysis, using specific evidence to support your assertions.

Organize Your Notes

Examine the observations you've gathered, and look for a common thread that ties them together. Link your detailed observations to your general impression of the song. Your conclusion about the song will be the thesis for your essay. Choose which specific examples you'll use to support your argument. Be mindful of how long your analysis is expected to be, and choose the number of specific examples you can thoroughly discuss within those parameters.

Write Your First Draft

Draft your paper, and don't forget to use regular conventions of essay writing such as punctuation, spelling and grammar. Also remember to consider any special instructions from your teacher. State your thesis and briefly outline your main arguments in the introduction. Devote the body of your essay to expanding your supporting points. Restate your argument and summarize what your paper discussed in the conclusion. Edit your paper for spelling, grammar and clarity. Have someone else read your essay and provide constructive criticism before writing a final draft.

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A professional writer since 2006, Colleen Reinhart has held positions in technical writing and marketing. She also writes lifestyle, health and business articles. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Business degree from the University of Waterloo, and a Master's degree in speech-language pathology from the University of Toronto.

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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.

Define Fundamentals

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. 

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3 responses.

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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Song Meanings and Facts

Song Meanings and Facts

  • How To Analyze A Song

How to Write a Song Analysis

by SMF · Published January 8, 2023 · Updated January 12, 2023

English class can be boring sometimes, even for those of us who actually enjoy reading and writing. But occasionally or at least ideally, we will be given assignments that are actually exciting and interesting to work on. One of those can be in the form of analyzing a song.

One of the cool things about songs, as compared to other pieces of literature, is that first of all they tend to be relatively short. Secondly, there is usually a type of universal interest in song meanings (depending on the artist). And third, both classics and contemporary pieces can be enjoyable to research.

For instance, there’s a good possibility that with a song you’re already familiar with, even if it’s one of your favorites, there’s something about its history and composition that you will not be aware of until actually researching it. And yes, research is an important part of song analysis, which is something we will get to later.

Contemporary pieces may not be as historically-rich, but they can be more stimulating to work on since they tend to deal with trending topics, ideas and musicians. Moreover, if your teacher were to assign you a contemporary piece, chances are it’ll be via one of the more-profound artists out there. So in such cases, there can be a lot more to dissect than you initially take for granted. Or in any event, the writing should go smoother since you’re likely already dealing with a celebrity you’re already familiar with.

So with all of that said, here are some proven tips when it comes to successfully writing a song analysis for English class.

1. ADHERE TO THE PRESCRIBED GUIDELINES

You may have heard the old adage about the student who wrote the perfect paper but still received an F because he or she didn’t properly follow the teacher’s guidelines. 

Musicians are amongst the freest artists out there, and when analyzing their works we may be compelled to emulate their carefree styles. But if you are in fact analyzing a song for a class project, then there will inevitably be certain rules to follow in the process. As a formal author, you should remain mindful of these throughout. Your failure to do so, may end up in your penning of a really-dope analysis but one that has to be rewritten or even rejected due to not following the necessary procedure.

2.  CHOOSING THE RIGHT SONG

Perhaps your English teacher is liberal enough to allow you to choose the song of your choice to analyze. It would of course be tempting to work on one by your favorite musician, i.e. an artist you’re already familiar with and have a sound understanding of what their lyrics mean. 

But doing so may not always be the best choice, especially if you have an affinity for musicians who tend to harp on trivial and/or redundant concepts or are under pressure to have the analysis comply to an intimidating word minimum.

In other words, even if you do decide to go with your favorite artist, try to choose one of their deeper, more-substantive tracks to work on. Or even better yet, you may opt to go with certain acts, such as U2 or Nas for instance, whose works are known to be more profound than that of their peers.

Another option is going with a really-popular historical musician whose song may not necessarily be profound per se but has an interesting history behind it. 

“Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin”

One track that comes to mind in that regard is the likes of Michael Jackson’s “ Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin “. On the surface it may not really sound like much is going on, but in reality or at least in theory its lyrics are based on serious familial beef the Jacksons were going through at the time. Moreover, since there’s so much historical information available about Michael himself, that type of info can also be used to flesh the analysis out.

That said, you wouldn’t necessarily want to choose a song that’s too complicated. For instance, you may have a hair-pulling experience attempting to make sense out of a Bob Dylan track, as classic as it may be. And if your teacher assigns you one of such songs by force, that’s something we will get to a bit later.

3.  RESEARCH

One of the biggest mistakes a person can make when analyzing a song is failing to conduct adequate research. Even if the song is by an artist you know like the back of your hand, not taking the time to research it is a big mistake. Research! More Research! Research is one of the main keys.

In some instances, especially when dealing with tracks by less-popular artists or songs that are not considered classics or fan favorites, there may not be any pertinent information out there to be had to begin with. But in many cases, you’d be surprised what can be discovered or theorized about a song if you’re willing to do some digging.

4.  HAVE CONFIDENCE IN YOUR ANALYTICAL SKILLS

In other instances, such as with the aforementioned Bob Dylan, you may find yourself in a situation where there isn’t any pertinent information – or sometimes even theories – to fall back on. There can be other analysts and scholars out there who have speculated on the meaning of the same song, though with none of those ideas having been verified by the artist or other authoritative sources. This may even happen with a track you’re already quite familiar with. 

You go into the analysis thinking you already have the meaning figured out but come out surprised to discover that there’s nothing verifiable out there to back up your conclusions.

Under such circumstances, the analysis must be written nonetheless. This is what we may sometimes refer to as “going out on a limb”. In other words, your understanding of the song, lack of a verifiable meaning considered, may be a little far out and/or such that some people will not agree with your conclusion. 

But then again, so it often is with the artists who write these songs. Therefore, so long as you can form a concise argument, you shouldn’t be afraid to put your own ideas, as unorthodox as it may be, out there, unless the artist or some other authoritative source has stated otherwise. That is to say that in the world of song analyses, the artist’s own explanation always trumps all other interpretations.

5.  SEARCH OUT A NARRATIVE

Not all songs have a distinguishable storyline, but many do, especially when it comes to certain genres, such as country music. And sometimes, even confusing pieces can be made understandable if you are able to detect a narrative that permeates throughout the lyrics – even if not consistently so – and then focus on that particular aspect of the song.

6.  CONTEXT

This goes back to actually researching the background of a track. Oftentimes, there will be a particular event, person, reality or what you that inspired the songwriter(s) to pen the piece. And if you are able to ascertain the context in which the song was written, that will undoubtedly grant you a better understanding of the lyrics’ meaning.

7.  SONG STRUCTURE

Not all parts of a song are equal. Or rather, let’s say that different parts also serve their own respective purposes. Therefore, it is important to be able to differentiate between the likes of the following:

For instance, the main point of a song is usually relayed through its chorus. And if, via the chorus, you are still unable to ascertain exactly what the track is about, it is in the bridge where you usually find the thesis sentiment reiterated in some way, shape or form.

If you’re tasked with analyzing songs regularly, i.e. if the entire class is based on such assignments, then as time progresses you should be able to distinguish the different parts yourself (if you don’t know how to already). If not, then it is a good idea to resort to websites such as Genius which usually name the different segments.

8.  MAKE SENSE OF POETIC DEVICES

Musicians of all genres (though some more than others) rely quite heavily on metaphors, allegories, abstractions, symbolisms – so on and so forth. Most of the songs out there revolve around topics, such as being in love, which musicians/poets had already worn out even before most of us were born. 

So the challenge of today’s artists isn’t necessarily to say anything new as it is to relay the same old ideas in refreshing ways.

That would be the logical reason why they rely so heavily on poetic lingo as opposed to just stating their sentiments forthrightly. And sometimes, making sense out of these metaphors can be the most-challenging aspect of song analysis, though one that has to be taken seriously rather than ignored or neglected.

8.  ONLY FOCUS ON THE INSTRUMENTAL IF NECESSARY

When it comes to ascertaining a song’s actual meaning, of course the lyrics tend to be exponentially more important than the instrumental. In fact these days, artists are increasingly using this strategy in which for instance they’d drop melancholic wording against an upbeat music.

So perhaps if you have a minimum-word requirement which hasn’t been met after analyzing the lyrics, you may decide to harp on the instrumentals also. Or in some (rare) cases, it may actually be that the music noticeably contributes to the overall meaning, thus necessitating granting the instrumental its appropriate attention.

It is also imperative, at the very least, to make note of the track’s producer. Yes, the instrumental is important to the sound and overall success of the song. But analysts should not make the mistake of thinking that it is on par with the lyrics in terms of understanding what’s being put forth.

Analyzing songs can be one of the more exciting activities you engage in as an English student or perhaps as a writer in general. Music is an art we all have an affinity for, and popular musicians rank amongst the best-known celebrities in the world. So this is a topic that everyone tends to be interested in.

But on the flipside of that equation is the acknowledgement that with universal interest in music comes respective individuals with their own understandings and takes of different artists and songs. 

In fact these days, even the musicians themselves aren’t safe from incessant critiques. So analyzing tracks, as cool as it may be, requires serious research and hard thinking nonetheless. 

Songs may be such that we usually listen to them for entertainment or to take a load off. But making sense of them and presenting our conclusions in an analysis that will be subject to criticism (and grading) can be a weighty scholarly endeavor.

Example of a Song Analysis: “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica

It has been put forth that “Nothing Else Matters” was originally penned with the addressee being a girlfriend of James Hetfield. But James himself has described it as being “about missing friends at home, being out [on tour] for such a long time”. 

With that in mind, the lyrics of this piece are quite tender, to the point where he further went on to explain that he never meant for them to be made public. But the rest of Metallica was feeling the tune and urged him to record and drop Nothing Else Matters, which proved to be sound advice, considering that this is arguably the biggest hit single in their catalog.

But the easiest way to understand what’s being put forth is to presume that the addressee is a romantic interest. So maybe when Hetfield was missing his people back home, at the top of the list was someone whom he had that type of relationship with.

So the first verse, to some degree, sounds as if he’s missing someone in general, as if their relationship can be one of a number of different types. But the vocalist closes out the passage by saying “forever trusting who we are”, which isn’t necessarily the kind of statement one would make to their mother for instance.  But still, it’s like what he’s generally speaking to is their association being such that it cannot be destroyed by distance.

The second verse maybe can be taken the same way, as in having a general applicability. The vocalist comes off as someone who, up until now, was never able to fully express how he feels about the addressee. And again, making a statement like “[I] never opened myself this way” may not be the type you’d make towards a parent for instance. But that would depend on what type of relationship you had with them beforehand.

In the third verse, James speaks to how edifying his association with the addressee is. In this particular instance, he doesn’t allude to the two of them being separated or anything like that. And again, there isn’t anything like overt-romantic lingo utilized. But with Hetfield dropping lines like “trust I seek, and I find in you”, and “every day for us something new”, it would be hard to imagine that he’s like singing to his bestie.

And with all of that said, it’s really the refrain and chorus which drive home the postulation that this piece may be romantic in nature. In terms of his relationship with the addressee, the vocalist puts forth that “nothing else matters” and goes on to further expound that he “never cared for what they say” or “games they play”. And those are definitely the types of assertions that we most commonly come across in love songs.

In Conclusion

To note, Lars Ulrich is also credited as a writer of this track. So it may very well be that in its original incarnation, “Nothing Else Matters” did speak more to the idea of missing loved ones in general. But a common phenomenon we come across in the music industry is a piece being universal upon conception, but by the time the final product comes out, it does so more as a love song. And that may well be what transpired here, because half of the lyrics read as if the addressee could fall into one of a number of relationship categories and is someone whom the vocalist is missing due to their absence.  Indeed,  Hetfield was surprised  to discover that some people have even this as a bereavement song, with both the mourners and the deceased being males.

Part of aforenoted Hetfield’s astonishment was due to the fact that he even understands that this song is usually interpreted as being about the singer ‘missing his chick’. And as for the actual thesis being relayed, it’s as if the relationship between the vocalist and addressee is a persecuted one, with the former resolving to stay committed regardless (and with no allusions to their being distance between them). That is the type of storyline you will more commonly come across in a romance-based piece.

Top Songs with Deep Meanings

Below is a handful of songs with very deep meanings. These tracks also happen to be members of the list of the most-analyzed songs in history.

  • Aretha Franklin’s “Respect”
  • Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone”
  • Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel”
  • Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’Mine”
  • John Lennon’s “Imagine”
  • Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin’ On”
  • Michael Jean’s “Billie Jeans”
  • Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
  • Oasis’ “Live Forever”
  • Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”
  • Radiohead’s “Creep”
  • Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”
  • Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen”
  • Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water”
  • The Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations”
  • The Beatles’ “Hey Jude”
  • Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry”
  • The Beatles’ “Yesterday”
  • The Clash’ “London Calling”
  • Prince’s “When Doves Cry”
  • The Eagles’ “Hotel California”
  • Ray Charles’ “What’d I Say”
  • Dire Straits’ “Sultans of Swing”
  • The Who’s “My Generation”
  • System of a Down’s “Chop Suey!”
  • Sia’s “Chandelier”
  • Semisonic’s “Closing Time”
  • Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks”
  • The Beatles’ “Let It Be”
  • The Beatles’ “Blackbird”
  • Green Day’s “American Idiot”
  • Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA”
  • Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff”
  • The Smiths’ “There is a Light That Never Goes Out”
  • Third Eye Blind’s “Semi-Charmed Life”
  • Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight”
  • ABBA’s “Dancing Queen”
  • 2Pac’s “Changes”
  • Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”
  • Eminem’s “The Way I Am”
  • The Smiths’ “How Soon Is Now”
  • Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart”

It is important to state that there are literally thousands of more songs equally as deep or even deeper than the ones mentioned above. The list is therefore not exhaustive.

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Tags: Analyzing a Song How to Analyze a Song How to Write a Song Analysis Songs with Deep Meanings

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Song Meanings & Facts

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Lindsay Ann Learning English Teacher Blog

Analyzing a Song – So Simple Every Student Can Do It

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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! 

music-analysis

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?

analyzing-a-song

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”)

analyzing-a-song

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 review essay

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

Wrapping Up

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. 

grading-essays

About Lindsay Ann

Lindsay has been teaching high school English in the burbs of Chicago for 19 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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ENG 280: College Writing II (Wilson)

  • Writing Professional Letters
  • Searching EBSCO Databases

Mind Mapping Your Song

Researching Your Song

  • Citing Sources and Getting Help

Introduction to the Letter Assignment

From your assignment (consult your full assignment sheet):

"Just like poems and paintings, songs are works of art that offer interesting insights into the way people think and live. Choose a song that you believe contributes to our understanding of culture—history, politics, social problems, language, beliefs. Write an essay of 4 pages or more (plus Works Cited) that offers your own original analysis of the song and explains its cultural significance. Note that your analysis must be original, with your own ideas and own words."

"Research: Although your interpretation of the song should form the central focus of the paper, include the song itself as a source and at least four additional outside sources that show relevant facts about the subject of the song. To avoid unintentional plagiarism, you must draw clear distinctions between what you are saying and what the research is saying."

Resources to help you with this assignment are listed on two sub-pages:

  • << Previous: Searching EBSCO Databases
  • Next: Mind Mapping Your Song >>
  • Last Updated: Feb 6, 2024 3:37 PM
  • URL: https://wiu.libguides.com/eng280wilson
  • T.H.E – Podcasts

T.H.E - Music Essentials

5 Tips on How to Write a Good Music Review

how to write a good music review

A music review contains the opinion or response of the author to the piece of music.

As a rule, a review is written to leave an impression. Reading the review forms a certain attitude towards the song or album for the reader. It is necessary that the review be as objective as possible and carry the maximum of reliable information.

Before you start to write your paper, we advise you to order a review sample on essayshark.com . An example like this will help you understand how to write your review correctly. You will also see how to structure the review and use the resources correctly.

And now, let’s proceed to the tips, which will help you to write a great music review.

1. Analyze the music and melody

Consider the melody and music of the song. First, the music and melody create the impression of the song. You can make an educated opinion about the song and understand its meaning after listening several times in a row.

2. Analyze the key of the song

Describe the key of the song , the quality of the arrangement, and the sound of some musical instruments. For example, listen to the root note of the bass, and think about what it would be like without drums. When writing a review for a specialized publication, you need to describe everything in professional terms, trace the composition of the song, and analyze all its parts.

3. Mention the musical style

It is necessary to note the musical style in which the song is written and the quality of the recording. It is better not to compare it with the previous repertoire of the performer, unless, of course, this song is radically better or worse than the previous ones. Note what emotions the song evoked in you, what impressed you the most, and what upset you.

4. Analyze lyricism

One of the main parts of the song is poetry – that’s why you should briefly describe its content and meaning. Emphasize the lyric beauty, its fullness, and the content.

5. Include details

Tell more details about the song, the history of its creation, how the writing was prompted by some events in the author’s life – all the facts about this will be very interesting to the reader. Just do not go into the very smallest details because it will not add meaning, and the impression can be ruined.

It is necessary to analyze the work as objectively as possible; your attitude towards the author or performer should not in any way affect the quality of the review. You should be as honest as possible with the reader and write a review that should not include either continuous praise or negative comments alone.

You must describe the strengths and weaknesses of the song, its beautiful moments, what you didn’t like, evaluating the talent of the musicians and the performer, and in general, all the positive and negative impressions. The main thing is that you must remember that you are analyzing the song and writing a review of it.

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wow, I have learnt a lot from this blog, I have a website where artists can upload their songs and even sell them, I will use the skills learnt here to do musical reviews for some of the songs. thank you

I think your post is so great because of your content! Keep it up thnaks a lot

As I indicated at the beginning of this post, there is no “correct” method to create a song. I’d strongly advise you to attempt every potential songwriting method. As songwriters, we frequently become stuck in a rut, returning to the same technique again and over.

A music review expresses the author’s viewpoint or reaction to the musical work.

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A Step by Step Guideline on Reviewing a Music Album Image

A Step by Step Guideline on Reviewing a Music Album

By Film Threat Staff | January 5, 2020

Most students experience a lot of challenges writing a review for a music album. However, this exercise can be an exciting process considering that almost everyone likes music, especially young people. Nonetheless, reviewing a music album involves a lot and not only listening to a song. You have to understand the song’s type of genre, the writer’s background, and what inspired the writer to write the song. Also, you should give your honest opinion regarding the song without being biased by emotions.

Also, you will need to familiarize with different terminologies on music production through research and listening to the song. This is to allow you to write factual information on the opinion.

Tips on Reviewing a Song Album

The following are well researched and practical tips on how you will write a music album review. Follow the guide provided below to complete the review writing process expertly. It’s especially helpful to use a tool like unison.audio .

Listening to the Song

When listening to the song several times, you are likely to observe different insights. You will also get the pattern of the song that will guide into understanding the rhythm of the song. For instance, if you listen to a song for the first time and put your focus on the lyrics and then to other aspects of a song. It becomes easier to comprehend both the storyline of the song and the usage of instruments.

It is also possible to learn the melody of the song. Try to make an effort and stretch to figuring out different aspects of the reviewed album. You should know that some songs can be complex to evaluate.

Familiarize Yourself with the Music Terminologies

A high standard review paper has well-researched content and strategically utilized terminologies. There are too many terminologies that you will need to know during the review writing. Know this that if you want to apply a term in a review, make sure it well fits. Avoid using a word wrongly; it can deter the message you want to pass across.

If possible, research online for the meaning of most terms used in reviewing a song and understand how to use them. Some of the essay help services have uploaded samples of reviews you can check. Learn the different styles applied in review samples you get. You may find terminologies like tempo, beats, harmony, tone etc.

Develop an Outline for the Review

Before you can start the actual writing of the music review paper, create an outline. You have to know the structure you will use in writing the review. So, get to understand the right format to use. If you have no clue about it, do a research online for samples on different outlines used in writing a music review. The following is an example of how a standard review outline looks like;

  • An introduction section

The introduction is an essential part because it invites the reader into what you have written. You must ensure that you grasp their attention and interest to continue reading your review.

This part provides all the strong points and ideas you have discovered about the album and the writer. Explain in detail by giving evidence to back up every point you make.

  • The conclusion

The conclusion wraps everything that has been written in the body part. Just put a summary of every point. Do not mention anything new. Once that is done, give the reader your opinion about the album. Did you like it?

Structure of the Review Paper

Once you have an outline, it is easier to structure the essay the way you wish. First, introduce the artist. Then write about the artist background story. When did the artist start the music, what has been achieved, how many years in the industry and the genre of music done by the artist? Also, include the number of albums that have been done. All this information can easily be

Describe Your Music Album

Describe the collection. Talk about the melody, the lyrics and the themes around it. Describe emotive instances by using the lyrics. You can even quote parts of the lyrics to make the review more objective. How did the instruments use to make up the melody? Such a question should be of help. If you are having a hard time describing the album because you do not know how you can learn online. Search how to write a music album review , and you will get numerous recommendations.

Conclude the Review

Make your conclusion brief. Offer your opinion, and it should be more honest. Did you like the song? Yes or no and provide a reason for your answer. Then go through the review to check for mistakes such as spellings, grammar or sentence errors. No one would like to read a poorly edited paper.

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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. Use book citation machine if you used any works as references in your review. This way people will know that you didn’t just come up with the details on the spot.

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

Do

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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Home / Essay Samples / Music / Songs / This Is America – Song Review

This Is America - Song Review

  • Category: Music
  • Topic: Music Industry

Pages: 3 (1247 words)

Views: 3028

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