A fun fact about the life and career of super star hunk, A Bundle of Sticks is that it used to write music reviews for a magazine. It is really good at writing music reviews. Like really REALLY good. Some may even say that it is better than most and that everything goes to shit when it's not doing the thing that wasn't previously shit, but now is. And those some would be correct. Around mid-March of this year, A Bundle of Sticks disappeared from the reviews section of that particular magazine, for unknown (but most likely hilarious and justified reasons) and has now found the time and the desire to write this piece for us, ye olde humble Bozo(s) on how to write the ultimate best music reviews. I mean, let's face it, if it's one thing A Bundle of Sticks knows, it's how to do a thing, and do that thing in the best possible way. Right? You're goddamn right.
So here it is. A Bundle of Stick's Guide to Writing Super Cool Music Reviews:
Listen to the album BEFORE you write about it.
As tempting and refreshingly easy as it is to pick up an album, or open a press release, scan the letters found on or in it, and think "I see a word I know," and then start tip tapping out foolishness based on a combination of that word that seemed familiar or upsetting to you, and some stuff you caught on Twitter while having a poopy, you'll find that a music review based on the collection of songs found within the album you're writing about is a good way to go. An album is not the Internet, and the Internet is not an album. One often does go hand in hand with the other, but they're different things. Write that down on your vision board so you can stare at it while you listen to whatever you're not actually listening to, but preparing to write about.
Don't write about the music PER SE, but about how it makes you seem.
Music serves one simple purpose, and that is to give the listener pleasure. Actually, no - its intent is to give the listener an EXPERIENCE. More directly, the actual reason why music even exists is to make people who mention particular types of it, vaguely - but with attitude, seem cool. Seeming something about something is the purpose of music. So when writing about music, keep in mind that creatively describing how the music sounds, and how it changes the world or whatever is besides the point. What readers need to know is how they are gonna seem, to YOU, and to whoever may happen to ask in passing "what are you listening to?" In essence you're helping someone answer a question they will ask themselves in the not too distant future, and that question is: "does this album look good on me?"
Stay clear of albums by bands with less than 2,000 Twitter followers.
Being a music writer is one of the hardest jobs in the world, as it comes with a great deal of responsibility. The main job of a music writer, as passed down from generation after generation of reputable music writers such as (insert whoever is talking about the new Beyonce album today in the best way, and with the most re-tweets) is to expose the common man and the unwashed bafoon to innovative, ground breaking, challenging and life changing pieces of music from around the world. Honing your taste and credibility in these matters centers on your professional ability to judge something that merely sounds good from something that, in theory and numbers, sounds good to at LEAST 2,000 people and will generate web traffic. If an amazing album shits in the woods but nobody is around to shit shit on the shit, then shit. Thems the rules.
Address the important topics: Is this music racist? Did I just hear a boob?
Sometimes people of different ethnicites, from different cultures, who aren't men, will make some music, and in these cases it's best to just sit back and observe what everyone else is saying about it, and then agree. Or don't. Just, be carefully careful in a way that seems like it's gonna go along with what that guy over there is saying. Or lady. Feminism isn't just for albums, it's for forever.
Is your review as long as it could possibly be?
What a writer has to say about an album is considerably less important than how long they can talk about the album in question. This is actually an old newspaper trick intended to save the busy commuter's time reading on the way to or from work. Just eyeball a review. Is it long? Well then, hell, there must be something going on in there. Better read it. Is the review short? Skip it. Nothing worth spending eyeball juice on.
Is your review enjoyable to read? That's wrong.
Reading something that is actually enjoyable to read has a time and a place, and that time is in the morning after your second cup of coffee, and that place is the shitter. Facts and news of substance should be painful. Don't tip readers off to your inexperience by being entertaining in your prose. Whatever you're writing about (doesn't matter) make it bone ass dry so that people know you are a serious big boy/girl journalist with lots of things to say. People will one day read YOUR words and think to themselves "I see a word that I know. A solid block of them. This person knows their stuff and now I do too."
Go get 'em killer!!