A music review

A music review

Learn how to write an album review.

Do the preparation task first. Then read the text and tips and do the exercises.


Reading text

Want a job as a music journalist? Here's your chance. We're looking for a new lead reviewer for Hot! Magazine but we're not interviewing for the job. Instead, write a review of your favourite album ever. We want to know why you love it and why you think everyone should listen to it. Convince us and you've got the job!

I'm certainly not alone with my choice of favourite album. In fact, Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA has sold 30 million copies worldwide since its release in 1984. Nearly 30 years later, in 2013, Springsteen performed the complete album in concert to the delight of some of his many die-hard fans.

A fast-paced, foot-tapping rock album, Born in the USA's lyrics nevertheless carry emotional weight. Behind the catchy rock melodies that drive these powerhouse classics are stories of the dark side of the American dream. Many tracks deal with the struggles of hard-working ordinary people and the bitterness and anger they feel as life doesn't bring them riches or glory. The song Glory Days, for example, is about people in a small town looking back at when they were young and had the world at their feet while Downbound Train tells the story of a young man whose life is ruined when he loses his job. It's not hard to imagine that the artist is channelling real people he knew and the life he might have had if he hadn't become a star. The album will leave you in no doubt of the unique and extraordinary talent of the Boss.

Unlike many other best-selling album artists, Springsteen is still releasing chart-topping, stadium-filling new music and remains at the top of his game in his late 60s. It doesn't surprise me at all. This is a man who tells us our most fundamental stories about ourselves and, when you listen to Born in the USA, those stories are as relevant today as they ever were.


  1. The first paragraph should be a general introduction to what you're reviewing. Include the title, artist, and an interesting fact about its success or how it was made.
  2. The main body of the review needs detailed observations. Use specific vocabulary (e.g. lyrics, fast-paced, catchy melodies) to comment on particular songs and parts of the music.
  3. It is also important to give context. Link the music to the artist's life, or what inspired them, and the political or social context of the album.
  4. Try to make the review interesting and relevant to the reader. You can relate the artist's work to real-life experience (yours or that of people in general).
  5. Use compound adjectives (e.g. fast-paced, foot-tapping, best-selling) to make your writing highly descriptive.
  6. Finish off with a summary of why this album/concert, etc. is important.

Task 1

Task 2

Task 3


Worksheet78.51 KB

Language level

Average: 4.3 (29 votes)

Submitted by Ugulhan on Fri, 09/10/2020 - 15:30

I am not a die-hard fan of music or of any album. I know this is not my hobby to collect albums from singers. In past, I had listened to the band "Back Street boy" their songs, actually, it was been a time with my youth, and I loved to listen to their songs every day. I would like to say they were a hard-working band between 1999 and 2003. I still remembered, their album was sold fast-paced, and their album was chart-topping at those times. Unlike other bands, they had catchy songs which I loved to listen to their every day. Songs of their had an emotional weight, particularly if they sing about love, they would be channeled of their youth. It was glory time for them.

Submitted by Samwumi on Wed, 09/09/2020 - 02:49

To the IELTS Team. In the last paragraph, would it make the same meaning if "our most fundamental stories about ourselves" is changed to "the most fundamental stories about ourselves"?

Hello Samwumi,

Both our and the are possible. I think our emphasises the shared ownership of the stories - these are stories from our community about ourselves. In other words, they are stories we tell about ourselves, not stories other people tell about us.



The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by OlaIELTS on Sat, 16/05/2020 - 16:58

My favourite album of all time is 'I Have a Dream' by Westlife.

Submitted by amaia_alcalde01 on Sat, 05/10/2019 - 12:40

I have no doubt when it comes to which is my favourite album of all time. “Ahora o nunca” by La Pegatina is filled with lively melodies, catchy lyrics and a lot of humour. It is no secret that the artists that form La Pegatina are able to cheer up a whole crowd and make everyone want to dance all night. Thus, this is the main reason why they are present at so many parties. The Ska album “Ahora o Nunca” is filled with fast-paced, foot-tapping unique songs. These frantic and upbeat lyrics nevertheless carry an important message. La Pegatina aims to vindicate the dehumanization of cities, the excessive use of social media, and living in the present. For example, they claim that cities like Barcelona, have become an amusement park due to tourism. They also insist that we are often thinking about what it is yet to come and not enjoying life as it goes. In fact, this is what inspired the name of the album. What distinguishes this unique music group from the others is their ability of spreading such important reflections with humour and positivity. Moreover, they could lift anyone's mood up in less than a two songs-time. Unlike other groups, the artists from La Pegatina devote themselves entirely to remaining true to themselves. They have their own unprecedented style, and this album is a proof of their uniqueness. More importantly, not only do they focus on the outside and the structure, but they fight to change this society through their lyrics.

Submitted by Mizioenglish on Thu, 12/09/2019 - 11:27

I'm certainly not alone with my choice of favourite Album. In fact Max Pezzali's 'umo ragno has sold a lot of copies since its release in 1992. Nearly 30 years late, Max Pezzali performed the complete album in concert in front of some oh his die hard fans. The success of this album is due to the fact that behind catchy melodies there are stories of our Youth. The secret is that the asrtist, with his lyrics and melodies, is channelling real people. Many songs tell us as the real life of Italian Young people is going on e witch are the most important habits that they are following. Unlike many Other best selling album artists, Max Pezzali is still releasing chart topping. The highligt of the album is the first song called "Hanno Ucciso l'uomo Ragno" that tell us, behind an invented story of one of the most important invented hero of our hstory, spiderman, the true of Italian life.