Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Is there any validity to music reviews?

Sunday, November 10, 2019
Daria Lawson

I love reading music reviews. In fact, I frequently visit publications like NME or Rolling Stone Magazine that actively release this kind of content.

However, music is extremely close to my heart, and because of that, it’s something I tend to get very defensive about. So, when I read a review that shares an opposing opinion to mine, I am always instantly intrigued to read their argument.

These reviews are obviously coming from well-known professional publications written by qualified writers, but when it comes to reviewing music, there is very little information provided by outlets on what knowledge or skill you require in order to write them — in fact, for websites like these, there are no supplied definitions that break down how writers determine their ratings of what is “good” or “bad.”

Music criticism, defined as “the intellectual activity of formulating judgments on the value of excellence of music, in this sense, a branch of musical aesthetics,” does not supply much help in understanding any guidelines of reviews either.

With words like “judgments” and “aesthetics” we can gather music is being evaluated for what it is — an art form, and as we all know, one of the great things about art is that it’s subjective, meaning there is no right or wrong it is purely open for interpretation.

So with that in mind, we are left to understand most music reviews are written based purely on opinion, and as many of us know in the mass communication world, opinion-based content is not really “news” because it is not fact-based.

There is no direct problem with music reviews being released as opinions, however, they are being published in professional outlets as news, holding no real newsworthy value.

So this leaves us wondering if music reviews are just an opinion but are published as news, do they hold any validity or truth? What qualifications do you need to write one, or can ANYONE write a music review? And is there anything professional about music reviews? That, reader, is up to you to decide.