The Song Review


You have written a new song, stroked it, perfected it, brought it to the producer, listened until your ears bled, changed it once again, tweaked it and then, with hesitance, you give the thumbs up to mix and master. DONE! You beamed with pride. Posted it everywhere. Then somewhere along the way, someone suggested that you submit it for a professional review.

The sweat, blood and tears that went into that song starts to ooze out of every orifice of your body as you await the words from the ‘industry genius’. “You’ve got mail.”. You open the file and there, right before your eyes, your creation has been sliced, diced, opened and flayed.

What you had once thought was a great song has in just seconds, become the bane of your existence. You read and re-read the review. Trying to change the view between each word. Wondering how they came up with the thoughts that they did. You turn up the speakers and re-listen, only now you see that song as a shipwreck with ugly barnacles hanging off the end. Geez, it even has a smell like that of raw sewage. Your hands holding up your now overweight head, your heart beating a thousand miles a minute, you feel defeated. How did you get here!? Just moments ago you felt you had a sure hit!
If you are reading this article and have not hit that MASTER button as of yet, below you will see an infographic to obtain those ‘let me tell ya’s‘ ahead of time. Knowledge is power, especially if it is coming from potential consumers.

But if you have already sent out and paid for that review after the product has been cooked and put on the platter to consume, let’s talk about how to deal with the ‘not so great’ music reviews. We recently read an article written by Chris Singleton, head of digital communications at Prescription PR. He listed these tips on how to deal with a bad music review.

Keep calm and don’t write letters to the publication.
The first reaction is to strap your battle armor on, shields up and prepare for a fight. Stop, drop and chill. It’s easy to get defensive about your song, after all, songs are like children to us. So, we get it! Take 30 hours and see if there is some truth to the review. You do not want to burn a bridge anywhere in the music biz. It’s a small world, after all!

Remember that you can’t please all of the people all of the time
We’ve heard that 97% of the people will like what you create. The other 3% don’t care for much of anything, so don’t sweat the haters. Everyone has an audience these days. Find those who like what you are doing, and give it to them!

Accept that the critic might have a point
People who listen to a ton of music and write critiques must know something about music and songwriting, right? The worst thing you can do is convince yourself that they don’t “get it,” and that you are the chosen one to usher in a new way of assembling notes and letters. Well, those who think they are the outlier have deeper issues than rejection by a critic. Those who are students of the game and fast to adapt get results.

Put your stinking review in context
Hah! We love this one. OK, it’s a bad review.. so what? Life goes on. This is supposed to be fun, right? In the grand scheme of things, a bad review is like a mosquito bite.. it hurts for awhile, but then it goes away.

Remember that even a bad review can have some benefits
The Word says to be teachable. We love Psalm 51:17, which states” God will not despise a humble heart.” Humility is the best talent one can possess. It goes far beyond a catchy hook, or a witty phrase. Don’t get bitter, become better. Now that may have something to do with your art, but we have a feeling it’s more about your heart.

Don’t forget the other channels of music promo
There are tons of outlets and resources online these days to submit your music to. Knock on those doors. Don’t walk up to the door, stare at the knob and hope it will open. Don’t be afraid of rejection, it’s a part of creating art. And, sometimes closed doors keep you from walking into places that are time wasters, or even worse. It’s all good. But keep on knocking.
Prove your critic wrong

Love this one too! The best part of being successful is saying to the naysayers, “see, I was able to do it!” Funny thing is, those naysayers can be related to you, or…. even yourself! Sometimes we are our own worst critic. So, instead of focusing on winning over others, win over yourself. Watch how your art becomes richer and more defined. Anyone who has ever broken new ground had no idea they were the ones with the golden shovel.

We hope these points challenge you and encourage you to grow as a songwriter. Songs are about stories, they take the ordinary and make it extraordinary. They make people ponder, wonder, consider another point of view. So, even if other’s do not quite understand your viewpoint, consider theirs. After all, being a songwriter is like being a server in a restaurant. You deliver the goods that satisfies their desire. Think about that!

Creatively His,
Keith and Sue Mohr

Keith Mohr and Sue Ross-Mohr of “The Mohr Creative Group” have years of experience serving independent Christian artists, musicians and songwriters. Keith founded in 2002, the leading portal for Christian independent music. Sue Ross-Mohr founded The Inner Vizion in 2003, a creative promotions /marketing/ consulting service to individuals and companies worldwide.