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Album Esaay

You will be using the Album ”
Baduizm” by Erykah Badu and the three songs you need to write about are:
On & On, Next Lifetime, and Other side of the game


will have two short essays to complete, which will take the form of
either an album or a concert review, 2-3 pages each. Your tone may be
informal, as you might read in popular press or online magazines, or
formal, as you might see in academic journals. You should address not
only the music & lyrics/performance, but the historical and cultural
context in which the album was released or in which the concert was
performed. For the first review, you will be provided a list of
historically significant albums/performances to choose from, all prior
to the 2000s, listed below. For the second, you may write about any
album you desire, past or present, or any concert you desire, be it a
live one you attend or have attended, or a recording of one you found
online. It is expected that you listen to/watch the entire
album/concert, not just select songs, so that you may write about it as a


12 pt. font – Times New Roman

Double Spaced

1” margins

Header (name & date)


2-3 pages


you may be either formal or informal in your tone, your review should
still follow a standard introduction-body-conclusion structure. Each
section should include the following elements:

  • Introduction
    • Some sort of hook: something that will pull the reader in and make them interested to read more.
    • Basic
      background on the artist or group you are reviewing: Assume that the
      reader has never heard of this artist before. What type of music do they
      play? What other groups/genres/musical trends influence this artist’s
      work? What are they most well-known or notorious for? Why is this artist
      worth dedicating a review to? You don’t necessarily have to answer all
      of these questions, but addressing a few in two to three sentences will
      establish important background knowledge for the reader.
    • Thesis
      statement: this does not have to be academic in form, but the end of
      your introduction should indicate whether your overall review of the
      album/performance is positive or negative. Is the work impressive?
      Pedestrian? Groundbreaking? Lackluster? Disappointing? Revolutionary?
      Beyond just “this album/concert is good/bad,” the final bit of your
      introduction should provide a concise evaluation that you will elaborate
      upon, and possibly indicate why this particular album/concert is worthy
      of critical analysis and attention.
    • Other possible elements to consider in the body:
      • Themes and topics addressed in the lyrics
      • Structure and composition of the lyrics
      • Structure and composition of the music
      • Performance of the music
      • Album cover art
      • Vocal performance
  • Body
    • Context:
      what are the important political, social, professional, personal (for
      the artist), industrial, or technological contexts in which this album
      was released or this concert took place? You do not need to address all
      of these, but at the very least, you should detail one. No piece of art
      is produced in a vacuum – what are the other elements external to the
      music itself that influenced its creation?
    • Review of content: while you do not need to (and in fact should not)
      address every single song on an album or in a concert, you should
      detail a few of them. Provide an overall review of the album/concert as a
      whole, and then pick out a couple of standouts: songs that are either
      particularly exceptional, outliers, or sub-par. Why is this so? How do
      these songs represent a unique achievement for this artist? Moreover,
      why is the work as a whole significant? What is its impact on the
      artist’s career, on popular music more broadly, on popular culture even more broadly, or even on society? What is the power of this piece of art?
  • Conclusion
    • Review
      main points: this is where you should summarize the bigger insights
      offered in the body. If you’ve written a lot, condense it down to a
      sentence or two here highlighting your main take-ways.
    • Restate
      thesis statement: you opened your review with a concise evaluation of
      the album/concert, so you should close it by reiterating this evaluation
      – not verbatim, and hopefully expressing a slightly new/different angle
      than what you established in the introduction, but after summarizing
      your main points, you should also summarize your overall take.
    • Closing
      statement: if the first sentence of your introduction is intended to
      pull the reader in and get them interested in your writing, the final
      sentence of your conclusion should give the reader something to think
      about now that they’ve finished what you’ve written.

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