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.

Tips

  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.
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C1 English level (advanced)

Submitted by Kevinn on Fri, 12/08/2022 - 06:52

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Karnivool-Themata-( The best depiction of post-prog )
Karnivool is a five-piece band that originated from Perth, Western Australia has contributed highly to bringing post-prog into the mainstream around the globe. ‘Themata’ was the debut album by Karnivool which was released in 2005 and put Karnivool on the map getting them recognition from all around Australia. Their second album ‘Sound Awake’ brought their name up all around the globe. The second album was appreciated worldwide. Their third album ‘Asymmetry’ was awarded the #1 album in Australia in 2013.
Being a 17-year-old album, ‘Themata’ still gives you chills down your spine. The level of work put into each track can be felt with every click. As the album starts, you come to know right away that this is going to be an adventurous journey. I would not hesitate a bit before saying that this is one of the greatest albums that this genre has seen. Karnivool went all out with their tracks taking the listeners on a sine wave trip with peakiest highs and extra-soothing lows. The interplay of rhythms might blow your mind while the rich texture of the vocals pulls you right back into place.
The album starts with the song ‘Cote’ which singlehandedly gives a tough competition to any alternative rock music ever created followed by the title track which is a masterpiece in itself. The first two tracks are tight and intricately composed with complex rhythms and appealing melodies. The way all this is woven into a mesh using the drums just leaves me spellbound. These two tracks set a bar so high that even the upcoming songs of the same album do not do justice to it.
Even though the next songs do not hold up to the level of intricacy shown by the first two, the quality of the songs doesn't drop down yet. The third song, ‘Shutterspeed’ has some amazing melodies on guitar with heart-touching bass. The song doesn't drop you right off the edge after the first two tracks but gently brings you down and lays you into the fourth track ‘Fear of sky’ toward the end. The fourth track of the album lacks behind in terms of musicality compared to other tracks from the album yet has one of the catchiest choruses and projects some powerful drum rolls.
The fifth track ‘Roquefort’ has some heavy lyrics incorporated into highly potent guitar patterns. The song has some parts that will leave you shook.
The next two songs of the album that act as a bridge for the album are ‘L1FEL1KE’ and ‘Scrabs’. ‘L1FEL1KE’ is a song that was released 2 years ago as a single named ‘LifeLike’, this track is packed with heavily processed vocals with high-distortion guitars. This song is one of the most disliked songs from the album but I don't see a point why. I truly enjoyed the song though it lacks a strong chorus but compensates for it through the modern touch of djent. The seventh track ‘Scrabs’ i an instrumental full of distorted guitar and heavy drums with light whistling in the background. The way this track comes in the middle of the album and ends too powerfully into the next song that picks up soothingly bugs me. This track might be a treat for the listeners who are into heavy metal instrumentals, but I feel that this track disrupts the flow of the album and could’ve been skipped.
The next track in the album ‘Sewn And Silent’ is one of my favorites from the album. The track starts gently and progresses into an even smoother ending. The smooth vocal texture throughout the rack is phenomenal and according to me is a must-hear for the listeners of every genre.
‘Mauseum’ is the most unique track on the whole album. The song is filled with lyrics that will run chills down your spine and leave you mesmerized. Entering into the final part of the album couldn't have been any better. The next track ‘Synoops’ is one of the most power-packed tracks on the album. The calm yet so powerful music elevates your soul while the smooth vocals and deep lyrics make your mind numb. ‘Omitted For Clarity’ has no sound and is a blank track of 20 seconds which plays an important role at the beginning of the last song. The first half of the last track creates a sense of drama before the soothing vocals kick in. This song is a riser for their next album ‘Sound Awake’.
After listening to this album, I can say out loud with clarity that Karnivool is one of the best bands of the 21st century. The album is a work of art and is a must-listen for anyone who is into rock music in general.

Submitted by AlexKop on Fri, 01/07/2022 - 11:31

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As for my fav musical album it’s Brother in Arms by British rock band Dire Straits. It’s released on 1985. The album was sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.
Interesting to mention that Mark Knopfler (guitarist) was interested in technology as a means of improving his music. So, he was always willing to spend on high-quality equipment. That’s why the album was recorded on new Sony digital tape machine.
Sure, I’m saying about the top-charted pop-rock song Brother in Arms. The melody is low-paced. It’s lyrically focused on militarism likewise The Man’s Too Strong. Brother in Arms deals with the senselessness of war. Written during 1982 Falklands War.
This tune echoes with today’s situation in Ukraine. It’s a dept for men to protect land from russian occupants. But where was the government last time? So, Ukrainians have sad experience dealing with russia and it teaches nothing at all as far as I can see. So there is a question is it necessary to take part in war which was admitted by government?
Thoughts like that appears in my mind when I listen to this song. I hope war soon end up with peace.

Submitted by Saúde on Wed, 22/06/2022 - 11:55

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I absolutely can’t tell which is my favourite album of all times since music was what drove half of my life and there are so many excellent albums in all the different genres I listen to so I decided to go local and tell you about a Portuguese metal band called Sarcastic and their only album “Inside”.
In the Portuguese boom of alternative music bands in 1998 emerges this nine song long album that is very complete. It has fast-paced and slow-paced songs and the lyrics of each song were carefully weaved so they will strongly connect to the darkest pits of your soul. This songs will take you back in time in a “Journey” to the different fases of your live. The melodious guitar riffs and delicious solos have a tendency to warm you all up Inside.
Once you listen to it, songs like “Chameleon”, ”Fearing nothing”, “Perfect Isolation” and “So far from the sun” they will roam around in your playlist for the rest of your life.

Submitted by Cri_ on Mon, 20/06/2022 - 16:08

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I'm certainly not alone with my choice of favourite album. Undoubtedly "Crossroads" by Bon Jovi is the best album I have ever listened to, heard and sung. It has sold so many copies that it is hard to guess the exact amount since its release in 1993. Most songs have a foot-tapping rhythm that makes you dance and sing till losing your voice, remaining breathless. "Bed of Roses", "Never Say Goodbye" and "In These Arms" are only a few example of the chart-topping successes by Bon Jovi. Moreover, it is not possible to forget the catchy lyrics in "Living on a Prayer" or "Runaway": the artist is channelling real lovers (in the first one) and rebellious teenagers who try to walk their paths without their parents. It's stunning and energetic watching thousands of people waving and shaking hands during neverending concerts of the band, in fact, every fan cannot help but dancing and singing along with the frontman. Unlike many other artists, Bon Jovi is a very hard-working band that always needs to keep in touch not only with its die-hard fans but also with people in general. To be honest and to tell the truth, there are other Bon Jovi albums I like, but since "Crossroads" is a collection of the band's major hits, I firmly believe that this is my favourite.

Submitted by MsKukushkina on Sat, 02/04/2022 - 08:54

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There is no denying that Depeche Mode belongs to the kind of cultural phenomena that has shaped a whole generation. Their unique style, varying between droning hypnotising mechanical sound and soothing orchestral music. Yet, it's the voice of their lead singer, Dave Gahan, that deepens the spell and puts you in an inescapable trance. DM's songs channel a full vibrant range of every human emotion: from jealousy and passion to sorrow and wrath. If you are longing for a soul-healing, mind-bending experience, be sure to give Depeche Mode a try, you'll thank me later :)

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Submitted by Hennadii on Mon, 06/12/2021 - 15:16

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I'm not surprised that my favourite album - "Innuendo" by one of my favourite bands Queen - is still on top of music lovers' minds. This is a great album with a great and sad story behind it.
The band Queen performed almost twenty years before their very last album "Innuendo" (not counting some later albums that were released after Freddie Mercury death) and have already been a legend. But nor their first success in the middle 70s with "Night at the Opera" and "A day of the races", nor their mature and powerful albums of the 80s ("The Work" and "The kind of magic" first of all) couldn't be compared with the absolutely unique and breath-taking sound of their last work.
And not only the instrumental part but the voice of Freddie. It never sounded like this before, so high and deep and unforgotten.
The main hits of the album - "Innuendo", "Mother Love", "I'm going slightly mad" and "These are the days of our lives" show us the best Queen had all these years: high-performance level, variability and serious lyrics.
The best Queen song (not only on this album) - "The show must go on" sounds like music from heaven and could touch your soul even if you don't know about Freddie Mercury's disease and how he fought with death trying to finish the very last album of his life.

Submitted by Suraj paliwal on Wed, 10/11/2021 - 07:52

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I don't have any favourite album. I just listen song and never listen again and again. Use and throw it

Submitted by sengaung on Fri, 29/10/2021 - 14:27

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I am not very clear about this sentence grammar

"The guitar I might have had I I hadn't a singer"

Hello sengaung,

The sentence is not grammatical. I'm not sure what you're trying to say so I can't make a suggestion as to how you might change it.

Peter
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by BMelissa on Thu, 07/10/2021 - 05:28

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I don't seem to find just one favourite album. My love for music has made me enjoy different types of genres making it difficult for me to compare one "Young The Giant" rock album to a "Cultura Profetica" reggae album and come up with a choice from them both great pieces of artwork i adore and recommend, whether it is the "Mind Over Matter" or "La Dulzura" albums' , tottally opposite sounds. Either way I know that music has also gone through different stages in wich hits had become very poppular because of different quirks of a tune or music video but not really as a whole production where the audience could not only enjoy a catchy sound but also a great lyric composition and as a complement a great music video with an amazing dance choreography. Only very few artists had been able to accomplish that, like the one and only Michael Jackson. "Thriller" is for me as for so many others the all time favourite album with a tracklist of chart-topping hits. Though i was more used to modern sounds i couldn't overlook on the fact that Michael Jackson's music was made to endure, impacting in farther generations as it did in the 80's. Every song is so well ensambled in that album and his peculiar powerful voice makes a unique experience while listening to each song in it, not mentioning the dances in his music videos becoming trends that would never get old. It's a non explaining work of art that of course was on Jackson's hand to be portrayed as culture that unified all parties with one goal in specific that was to create joy around. Therefore i can conclude that though my mother was the die-hard fan of his, i was also able to appreciate his art and for that reason pick "Thriller" as my fav album of all time.

Submitted by Ehsan on Tue, 10/08/2021 - 05:29

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I'm not a die-hard fan of a special type of a album or a singer. According to my mental condition, I listen different songs. but generally I love music and get better when I listen music.

Submitted by bolano on Sun, 28/02/2021 - 14:09

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İ love music and I am keen of calm and catchy songs. Though Springsteen's Born in the USA Lyrics sorts out the ability of the singer to channel the feelings of many silent disappointed American citizens and maybe those living in the country, it is not my favorite. İ am not fan of rock. However, I have a favourite album which for me is the best of all the time. Richard Bona' second album; Reverence released in 2001 after his non less chart-topping and stadium-filling first album 'Scenes from my life' released in 1999. This Cameroonian artist achieves to associated his enchanting voice with African and western chores to produce amazing and exhilarating songs loved by any discerning ear regardless of your cultural origin. The singer through the passion he expresses in each song of this album could make us realize how far and perfectly he channels the beauty of his childhood he alleged to have spent near his grand-mother. İndeed it is incredible to realize how he masters his native language, the Duala, a native language spoken in the Littoral region of the country. The song Muntula Moto (The benediction of a long life) explains clearly the link the artist has keep with the African wisdom. The song in fact channels the traditional wisdom in African culture calling the young generations to learn near old ones and to respect old people by giving them all the attention and possible love to be granted blessings useful to the success in the live. İn a world like today chattered by all types of threats to culture and inter-generational dialogue, it sounds like a warn to take into account and build on for the betterment of our social environment. Richard Bona, a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and bassist extraordinaire virtuoso musicianship achieves to land all this know-how in Reverence. He is still producing incredible albums and has since become a clear icon of the African music and the jazz. Hang on Richard Bona, you look to have still a long journey to make the world enjoy the savvy of the African multi-cultural stand.

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

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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

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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.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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

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

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

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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

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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.