– How to Review Music on Slicethepie –
How to review music on slicethepie: SliceThePie is a great website that allows users to review the latest fashions and music before they hit music stores and the high street. You do not have to have a background in fashion or music to review on SliceThePie so this is a great bonus.
What Is Slicethepie?
For anyone who doesn’t know, Slicethepie is a review site primarily focused on music. Ordinary members of the public can join up for free as a scout (also called reviewers), listen to new songs, and write a brief review about the song for a small payment.
Each review is just the member’s opinion of the song and/or artist. No special musical skill or knowledge is required as the site wants the opinion of the wide general public.
In recent years, the site has also enabled members to give reviews on fashionable clothes and phone cases, but those are more of a sideline, so this article is only concerned with the music side of Slicethepie and how to write song reviews.
As an experienced reviewer on Slicethepie and musician, I wrote this article to advise new scouts on how to write reviews that can be more helpful to the artist, even if they (the reviewers, not the artists) don’t have any formal background in music.
How Much Does It Pay?
Although it’s a British company, Slicethepie rewards each review with payments in US cents, ranging from about 5 to over 20 cents per review.
The payment depends on several factors, such as the quality and length of the review, member rank, and whether extra bonuses are being offered. It’s not a fortune, but it adds up, and you can easily earn a few dollars in a single “scouting” session.
The money is a pleasant bonus, but for me and many others, it’s not the chief attraction. The best part is being involved in giving valuable feedback to up-and-coming musicians who put their songs out there to see what kind of reception they can expect from the public—us!
Artists who get the highest ratings from the reviewers can become eligible for financing to set them on the road to commercial success.
What to Consider when Writing a Review for Slicethepie
Here are some of the elements that make up a song that you will want to consider when you are doing a music review for Slicethepie.
- Intro – The instrumental section at the beginning of the song.
- Vocals – The tones or register in the voice.
- Lyrics – The meaning or words of a song.
- Pitch – Higher and lower tones and sounds in the vocals.
- Tempo – speed or pace of a song.
- Melody – Sequence of tones that make up a phrase in a song.
- Harmony– The use of various pitches, tones, or cords.
- Length – Most commercial songs last around 3-4 minutes long.
- Hook – A short phrase or passage to make the song appealing. A good example of this in a song is the one by Destiny’s Child “Say My Name”. Other examples are Adele’s Rolling in the deep, Carly Ray Jepsen “Call Me Maybe,” John Legend “Tonight”. Many great songs have memorable hooks or earworms.
How to Write a Review
Describe the Musical Elements
Here are some musical features that come up in a typical song. You can comment on any features of the song you feel are worth commenting on. Imagine a song that you know well, and focus on the following features as it plays in your mind.
- Intro: If the song has an intro, what do you think of it? Some intros are atmospheric and capture your imagination from the start or they establish a good beat that sets up the song. They do what an intro is supposed to do: lead into the song naturally. Some intros you hear don’t do that but lead awkwardly into the main part of the song. If there’s nothing special about the intro, then there’s no need to comment on it.
- Vocal Melody: What do you think of it? Is it tuneful? Interesting? Is it the tune (melody) that would be easy to remember? Commercially, that’s a positive quality, even if it’s one of those awful songs that you can’t get out of your head for days. How about a singer? Listen to his or her vocal quality. Is it a rich tone? Or is it thin? How expressively do they sing the lyrics? How consistent is their vocal quality? They may sound great until they try to get the high notes and go all screechy.
- Lyrics: Can you make them out? Some lyrics aren’t in English, so you obviously can’t comment on the lyrical content if you don’t understand the language. But you can still hear the flow of words. All good songwriters choose words and phrases not just for their meaning but also for their sound and naturally rhythmic quality. How are the lyrics in the song you’ve got in mind? Are they deep and meaningful, or shallow and childish? Pretentious? Predictable? Amusing? Cringe-worthy? Cheesy? Original? Imaginative? Interesting? Offensive? A lot to choose from there.
Consider the Instrumental Arrangement
The qualities to listen out for are:
- Rhythm: Is there a solid beat and strong engaging rhythm that grabs you and carries you along? If so, that’s good quality. If not, that doesn’t mean it’s bad quality. Not all great songs are catchy. Rhythmic effects can be flowing, subtle, pronounced, complex, etc., but there should be some consistency and conviction whatever the rhythmic style used.
- Instrumental Variety and Balance: If a song has a rich variety of interesting instruments, it may be more distinctive and memorable. The arrangement also has to be tasteful and suit the mood of the song, however. For example, a saxophone is a very expressive instrument but would be out of place in many styles of music. If a song has an accompaniment of just a single strummed guitar, for example, listen to how effectively (or not) the artist makes it interesting by varying the rhythm or dynamics and avoids a boring mechanical strum throughout.
- Digital Effects: Although digital effects can be striking and really enhance a song, there’s a noticeable tendency among less-experienced musicians to overuse them. Rather than enhance the song, overuse makes it sound cheap and amateurish. Among less talented musicians, digital effects are often used in a vain attempt to compensate for a lack of musical quality. That never works. There’s no substitute for musical quality.
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You can make your review more interesting and meaningful by using a wide variety of well-chosen words and phrases.
Don’t use the word ‘good’ all the time and definitely stay away from the ‘outstanding dude!’ or ‘You guys suck’ style of review if you want your review to be taken seriously. Use words that are more descriptive and specific.
Honest reviews are expected, of course, but there’s no harm in being diplomatic too. The reason that your opinion is valuable is that, unlike the artists themselves (and their friends and families), you can be completely aimed.
The artists can be too closely involved with the music to hear faults and weaknesses. They need an aim and unbiased opinion and any advice you may have.
Here’s a tiny selection of terms that may apply to the musical qualities you want to describe:
- Positive: catchy, tuneful, interesting, shapely (or well-shaped), strong, melodic, melodious, memorable, original.
- Negative: plain, shapeless, tuneless, boring, too simple, overly complex, unoriginal.
- Positive: distinctive, rich, warm, expressive, feeling, strong, attractive, appealing, confident, conviction, heartfelt, clear, stylish, soulful, impressive, pitch range, dynamic, edgy, raw, powerful.
- Negative: thin, weak, inconsistent, out-of-tune, pitch problems, expressionless, bland, self-conscious.
- Positive: original, amusing, thought-provoking, inspiring, heart-warming, punchy, meaningful, clever, deep.
- Negative: plain, uninspiring, weak, pretentious, cheesy, corny, cringe-worthy, obscure, confusing, predictable, repetitive, offensive.
For Instrumental Accompaniments
- Positive: balanced, varied, full, rich, rhythmic, engaging, compelling, competent, smooth, accomplished, imaginative, creative, solid, original, exciting, powerful, driving, atmospheric, ethereal.
- Negative: weak, plain, safe, uninspired, lacking conviction, poor balance, untogether, over-sentimental, unvaried, lacking contrast, strident, harsh.
- Positive: talented, imaginative, professional, creative, accomplished, competent, skillful, careful, experienced, natural.
- Negative: unimaginative, predictable, careless, unprofessional, untogether, dated, awkward.
Overall Qualities of the Song
If the song has a familiar arrangement of sections (e.g., verses, choruses, instrumental sections) then it’s easy for the average listener to feel at home with it.
This, in turn, makes it more commercially attractive. This applies to most styles of music. They don’t all have verses and choruses, of course, but they all have contrasting sections.
You should always keep commercial potential in mind. Even if you don’t like the song, try to imagine how the song’s target audience would receive it.
Some songs are excellent, but in a style that isn’t in great demand commercially. They can still find niche outlets and have limited success.
For example, you might hear an old 50s or early-60s rock-and-roll style song. It could be a superb example of that style played to perfection, but it’s not a style that’s attractive to mainstream commercial investors who worry about getting a return on their investment.
The main commercial quality of songs like that is nostalgia, and nostalgia is a niche market.
Even with no musical knowledge, you can still get a feel for things like how much the artist or artists enjoy and believe in what they’re doing.
Even if not technically brilliant, a vibrant performance that is full of confidence, conviction, style, and flair is obviously going to be far more attractive commercially than a lackluster performance by artists who sound like they’d rather be someplace else
Another quality you’ll come across is over-expressiveness. The artist wants to make an impression emotionally, but overdoes it and comes across as sounding insincere, put on, melodramatic and pretentious. That’s a worst-case scenario, but it’s not that uncommon.
Production and Recording Quality
Don’t be too hard on poor production and recording quality. The artist may have very limited means, and it’s the best possible sound they can get from very basic recording and mixing equipment.
On the other hand, sloppy recording (unintended distortion, bumping into the mic, or even coughing into it) deserves to be criticized.
Even with the most basic of equipment, a professional approach to the recording is more impressive than a ‘couldn’t care less attitude in a recording studio.
A sample of a positive music review for Slicethepie
The introduction was powerful and alluring and captured my attention right from the beginning. The lyrics are inspiring and are something that I could relate to in my own experiences.
The vocals were strong and complex and had an impressive range that reached a climax during the melody. The instruments and the background vocals gave the song a greater depth and appeal.
I loved this song because it was raw, very natural, and beautifully unique. This is one of the best break-up songs I ever heard.
A sample of a negative music review for Slicethepie
The introduction was too long and dragged on so I lost interest in the song. The vocals were very pitchy and off-key and could have been streamlined and enhanced with the use of background vocalists. The bass was too heavy for this song and weighed it down.
The hook was infectious, but overall the song was unmemorable for me. I would have appreciated it a lot more if it was sung with more passion and meaning.
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