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Sample Audio Review

Sample Audio Review with Notes

Hibbison's Note: The following table shows the script of an audio review that was burned on a CD and delivered to A-201-R in a jewel case.  (Other students who did multiple files mailed their CDs in cases inside protective envelopes obtained at the US Post Office.)  Her CD included

  • an MP3 file of the song (4.5 Mb)

  • her PowerPoint file (3.5 Mb)

  • individual .wav files linked to two slides of the PowerPoint that included the analysis shown in the bottom half of this web page (8 files totaling 48 Mb)

  • her spoken .wav file for her reading of the script below, left (34 Mb)

  • her presentation script in a Word file (0.3 Mb)

In the left column is the script, which the student copied to me, since sound quality on many recordings was marginal due to low volume.  On the right, I have noted mostly positive characterizations of the student's content.

Script of PRESENTATION by a student

I chose for my presentation, “My Own Prison” by Creed.  I chose this song as it made a long lasting impression on me when it was first introduced.  I thought the subject material to be refreshing and it had the music qualities I enjoyed, generally classified as alternative rock.  This song is an autobiographical song of front man Scott Stapp’s troubled times.  He wrote this song at a time in his life when he realized he could not continue to blame others for the situations he had placed himself in. He had come to grips that the only blame rested on him, therefore the phrase, “I’ve created MY OWN PRISON.”  This helped him move forward in his life and to take control of his own life.  Scott has been quoted as stating writing this song was a turning point in his life.  The song is delivered with just the correct variety of tones and harmonies along with complimentary acoustics to make you feel the message he is trying to relay.



Scott Stapp grew up in a religious atmosphere by his strict Pentecostal minister father.  His biological father left when he was a preschooler, but his mother remarried and his new step- father also believed strongly in the church.  One of Stapp’s childhood punishments was to re-write the Bible verses to teach him a lesson.  He was rarely allowed to listen to any music with an electric guitar in it.  His father believed rock music to be the music of the devil.  By the time he was a teenager he began to question the beliefs that were thrust upon him his whole life.  Although he was still a devout Christian, he knew there was nothing wrong with the music he liked.


By the time he left for college, it started a period of both outer and inner turmoil.  There was a freedom he experienced so he experimented with drugs, while battling the inner turmoil inside.  He was kicked out of the Christian college for smoking marijuana.  He became very confused at this time because he had always been taught to believe that Christians forgive and fellow Christians are there for you when you are down and out.  So here he was down and out by an unforgiving school staff and most of his peers.  He couldn’t go home because of friction there, he had nowhere to go.


This is also the time that Scott began to put his thoughts down on paper.  He wrote them down mostly in a rhyme scheme of abab.  These ‘poems’ were the basis of many of their songs but especially MY OWN PRISON.  It has been altered slightly to present musically, but emphasis was added by the different voice tones and musical instruments used.  This is displayed in the Power Point presentation.





Maybe I understood this easily because of my own experiences with organized religion.  I believe that knowing the history of the lead singer is important to understanding the song for the message that is being delivered.  The musical harmonies are done brilliantly to help deliver that message.  The music compliments the feelings that were felt while writing the song.  The lead singer also does a great job with his different voice tones to reflect those feelings as well.  I think the composition allows for an easy interpretation of what was meant.  It is also refreshing to see that there is actually a positive message in a piece of music, considering the make-up of most modern music



+ purpose of  choice




+ biographical background




+ title explained


+ paraphrased info. from the songwriter

- This vague sentence, placed in the position where the thesis would be expected, misleads listeners.


+ early biography




+ later biography








+ transition from biography to analysis of song


+ reference to another file on the same student-made CD, which had sound files for parts of the song linked to PowerPoint slides analyzing that section of the song.


+ Overview of the analysis from the PowerPoint


Hibbison's Note: The following notes are from 2 of the several slides in the PowerPoint, which included copyrighted materials that students can use for school presentations, but which I cannot display on the Web, such as photos from CDs, interview responses by band members from a website.  The numbering of this student's commentary, which she put on the slides, corresponded to numbered parts (verses) of the song, which she printed beside these comments on her PowerPoint slides. 

These comments by the student demonstrate some of the analysis one can state for a song.  See the checklist for more ideas.

1. The song starts with soft music, guitar only, light drums start in.  The lyrics begin relatively monotone.

2. Visual imagery is used describing the feelings being experienced.  Coldness and feeling alone.  There are reflections of the supernatural.  He realizes he is guilty of creating his own prison (shackled by his sentence) and there is no amends.  It is a realization that figuratively burns his own skin.

3. Now we see more about his realization.  Yes, he has created his own prison but he decides to hold his head up high even if it is just to spite others.  He sees the sun figuratively and feels left out of it but wants to find safety in the meek.  The chorus is actually sung by the lead guitarist, Mark Tremonti, in a calm ‘enlightening’ type of voice.  Drums accentuate at the end.

4. Biblical references showing his beliefs and whom he realizes is the only one that can help him.

5. This verse is repeated twice for emphasis and also with a louder, angrier voice tone.  This creates importance on what is being said.  There are stories that he had a bad hangover and felt like dying; literally banging his head it hurt so badly.  More attention is led to the fact that he is saying there is no time for mourning on how he got in this situation and the all-absorbing self-pity.  There just isn’t time for it.

6. Again the chorus is repeated creating emphasis.  It is followed by a guitar solo, which also creates importance to the chorus and allows for reflection on the words and feeling it creates.

7. This verse follows a melancholy guitar solo that allowed for reflection.  It also serves as a good intro to the main theme to the song.  The singer again speaks loudly and repeats the verse twice..  The only one he is seeking help from has confirmed what he thought was true.  He created his own prison. 

8. Chorus is repeated twice and on the second rendition, the lead singer chimes in his main message, “I’ve created my own prison” repeating it louder and louder to drive the point home.

            The main theme of the song has been exclaimed in the previous verse but he wants to confirm that although these things are true, time should not be spent in self-pity and to move on.



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