Sunday, February 15, 2009

taking a moment to appreciate

I'm in the magazine business whether I like it or not. Some days I'm imagining doom falling in forms around me as I watch the failing process continue. When Chart ceased its' magazine format, it hit me pretty hard. Glossy paper, while not as great for the environment, has been my love. And seeing it go down like this, especially when I (still) hope to get a job in the industry, is hardly any fun.

So today, I'm taking a positive approach (except for a bit later on in this entry).

The other day, I received a package from my grandparents. They sent me the three magazines they know I'd like to have: Paste, SPIN, and Rolling Stone.

I noticed two trends in the issues that came: their ways of taking on a recession and still being original, and.... Lily Allen.


Paste is probably my favourite magazine, and has been for a while. In this issue, their 50th, titled the Lovefest, it's PACKED with goodness. In the matter of four pages you can read about sleek new earphones, an Italian chair made to hold books in every crevise (I want it SO much), an ad for their first book, "An Indie Rock Alphabet Book" ('story time is cool again!') a bit about Kevin Drew directing Feist's "The Water", and the nice list "The Paste 7", which is bits and bobs (look at me being all British) that are SO COOL that the editors find (Nick Marino found LeafCutterDesigns.Com and it looks awesome.) I'm drooling, can you tell?

Paste is great for finding out about new bands -- it's rare I know the band they have in their breaking section. They don't focus on the obvious.

A big thing Paste did this month was take their Sampler CD that comes with every issue and make it digital. At first, I was upset. Then, thinking clearly, I realized this was a fantastic decision. "This is great," I said to my boyfriend as I leafed through the issue for the first time. "With all of these magazines making cuts or going under right now, this is an amazing way to save money and make sure that doesn't happen." Paste said it for themselves. "Each year, Paste ships more than 2 million cds. That's over 100,000 pounds of poly-carbonate plastic and paper sleeves, shipped millions of miles." Really, as Paste boasts themselves to be a green magazine, ("After you've read every single word of this magazine and shared it with all of your friends, please recycle it -- or add it to your leather-bound collection of Paste magazines and save it forever" says under their contributors list) this brings up their level of respect.

Check out this issue -- in theme for Valentines Day, there's Neko Case reporting on her 17 favourite things (1 being CANADA), "so and so loves this" with every article, and a spread of musicians posing with their beloved instruments.


SPIN is very close to Paste in my books. Not only is it my newest employer, but I generally enjoy reading it and approve of the choices of artists they cover. They have fantastic visuals, quick and quirky Q&A, and an ear out for catchy songs. Sometimes they get too close to Rolling Stone, but on slow months, it's hard not to completely stray away from the only big things (such as when they both covered Amy Winehouse almost identically.) And sometimes they go with more pop culture acts (like when they covered Fall Out Boy, Paramore, etc, but hey, I used to love both of those bands too. Brandon Flowers is big in this issue though, and I'm not a fan.) This issue they have Big in 09, featuring Ladyhawke (the girl), Cut Off Your Hands, Glasvegas, Bon Iver, Andrew Bird, King Khan, and Animal Collective. None of them are breaking, but SPIN's probably right; these bands established themselves towards the end of 08, so therefore they'll still be talked about a great deal in 09.

**This month, I saw both SPIN and Paste have done another great thing in terms of recession, going by the way of how the public reads, and technology. They have incorporated the digitial issue. It's actually something the Eyeopener considered months ago, but never followed up on. I think that SPIN and Paste doing this was a good idea.


Rolling Stone made a change a few months ago to a different format of pages. I actually like this a lot more, as the big pages always stick out from my MegaMag (missing it a lot right now ... and oh man blast from my blogging past) and it just looks cleaner. This is probably the only thing about Rolling Stone I like these days, and even still the fact that they changed their layout means they just jumped on the bandwagon.

There's hardly any originality in this magazine anymore. I haven't read a feature and been like "hm, that was really good" or found an interesting new band I wanted to check out, in god knows how long. It seems that RS is not only slow on the uptake, but they keep choosing the same people to profile, are a bit too obvious with their political sides, and really, they've made their move from the music magazine it once was glorified in Almost Famous to the pop culture rag it prides itself to be now. What's up, Jann Wenner? Since when did you just want to please people? I really don't see this magazine pleasing anyone lately, anyway.

This month, they even let Patrick Stump review an album, because it was his dream to do so. Why on earth would you let him review an artist he loves so much, though? How is that fair? Yes, we all report on artists we love, but if we want a higer opinion of Stump, I'm not sure if this was the way to go.

Their podcasts have been lacking (and not even been done), their breaking artists past their breaking point (not in Pop music standards though, I guess) and they're not bringing up any new boundaries. I used to idolize this magazine. I used to have a subscription. People used to laugh and say "someday we'll read your articles in Rolling Stone." Now, I hearing they're auctioning off their internships, and I've decided I'm done with it.


Now, for Lily Allen. She is everywhere and I love it. I think she's ridiculous, beautiful, and talented. Yes she sings about sex. Yes she sings about drugs. Doesn't everyone these days? Haven't they for ages? Why is she getting so much flack for being honest, and well, normal?

Rolling Stone's scathing review says: "No longer content to be a quirky confessional songwriter, Allen has decided that she is a 'social critic,' a job that she lacks the insight and the maturity to pull off."
--Really, RS? REALLY? You're critiquing a pop star, which is all you show these days, and you think she's doing it wrong? Lily's probably laughing about you right now.

SPIN's editorial says: "Allen is also a mass of contradictions: an unapologetic extrovert who loathes the tabloids and paparazzi, and a critic of celeb-centric culture who's not at all above indulging in same. It all makes for a wild read." And their review of her new album is the complete opposite to Rolling Stone's: "But unlike Winehouse, Allen has turned fame's lemony side into fresh new songs."

It's clear to see RS is Team Winehouse and SPIN is Team Allen, now.

Paste has their own Lily Allen paper doll! With boozed up party dresses, a mac computer, and cute jewelry. This is the true Allen.

Phew. I know it got negative towards the end, but the fact is I still love magazines. I love everything about them. The noise you hear when you flip the page (and that sometimes you have to lick your finger to get it to move), the bold layout, the section titles, and even the subscription fliers that fly out with every shake. I know I'm in the right business and to leave it would hurt, a lot. The industry can still count on me as an avid fan, but I'll always be critiquing and reading. Paste, SPIN, and Rolling Stone give me quite enough of substance, as you can see.

1 comment:

cheepcheep said...

Awesome post, dude. I miss you!