Recently I was emailed by a member of the Trip Hop group '21hz' and asked to write a review of their new CD.
I am fairly pleased with how the Microbunny review turned out, but I think I need to work on my flow and sentence structure. If any of you could offer any suggestions it would be appreciated as I would like to improve with this next review if at all possible.
In my opinion, the best way to improve flow is to eliminate unnecessary words -- try to eliminate as many words as possible. Consider this revision of the first paragraph of your review:
Microbunny is Al Okada, Tamara Williamson, King Kong Girio and Reverend Cino Evil. If you ever have the chance to see them live, do so -- you will not regret it. While Dead Stars has not eclipsed Microbunny's self-titled album, it has not been overshadowed by it either. Rather, Dead Stars is a satisfying progession of Al Okada's original sound from the the band's first release. Dead Stars reflects the influence of early ambient talents, such as Brian Eno, through Al Okada's mastery of the minute.
I tried to change the paragraph as little as possible while eliminating some words. I don't think you have to be as explicit that you are giving your opinion. It's a review, people know. Also, you could use contractions if you want, but that's your call.
I have found that most reviews I read have a general structure:
Introduction--What is being reviewed, who made it, who they are General--Some interesting factoids about the thing, maybe a value judgment or two Specific--Pick two or three things and hammer in on them. What worked best? What failed horribly? Overall Impressions--Value judgment, suggestions for appreciation Conclusion--Sum up and cut bait
Follow the basic 5 (or a few more)-paragraph structure for a short essay and you can't go wrong. Also, contractions lend a colloquial flow to the piece, and while I ordinarily eschew them, they have their place. A clearly defined thesis statement at the outset will keep flow nice and smooth and keep you on topic. A thesis should answer a question (i.e., is this a good album and why?). Everything should refer back to the almighty thesis.
Also, remember how one gets to Carnegie Hall. Writing a good anything is done on the same rubric.