I have been an on and off again subscriber to Rolling Stone magazine for almost a decade because I am a music addict. Music is my life and I take it very seriously. Unfortunately the quality of this long-running magazine has greatly diminished over the years no thanks to the popularity of disposable pop acts like Twitney Spears and American Idol's Clay Aikens & Ruben Stoddard. They have managed to mangle this once credible pop culture magazine with their 15 minutes of fame. A few weeks ago I was surprised and disgusted by seeing Twitney Spears on the cover of RS. I'm guessing that RS put that talentless bimbo on the cover because of that smooch she shared with Madonna on this year's MTV VMA awards. Like she has anything to offer substantially. Of course RS somehow makes me forget about that horrid article with a cover story of the late and great Johnny Cash. Of course after that great issue, they ruin my mood with their mostly horrible "Women Who Rock" issue. I'm sorry but Alicia Keys, Eve, Missy Elliot do NOT rock my world. WTF was Tori Amos, The Raveonettes' Sharin Foo, The Bangles (who reunited and recently had their excellent album "Doll Revolution" released domestically here in the US), Siouxsie Sioux, and etc...etc... . Doesn't the editors of Rolling Stone magazine ever get sick and tired of praising the same freaking people they cover day in and day out? I know I am sick and tired of reading about the same overexposed and overrated artists in the magazine. Rolling Stone has stopped being relevant many, many, many moons ago. Like anyone is going to remember any of the American Idol winners. I wish I could right now. This Jann Wenner and co. needs to stop taking themselves seriously when I don't take even respect them. The only good quality I could say about this POS is that it makes for good bathroom reading. If I had a pet bird, I would certainly line its cage with the pages of the magazine.
I decided to try Rolling Stone again after a nearly 10 year absence. This is a rag, only occasionally hinting at its once-greatness. The most recent issue looked like an issue of Maxim (great, I guess if you've got the iq of a 12-year-old boy, not so great for a grown up) I'm really not interested in the latest pop-culture boy-girl-band wannabe, nor am I interested in the sexual escapades of a teenage girl...And if I WAS, I wouldn't want to read about them in THIS magazine, which used to be about art and culture. Why bother? There's no politics, no class and no challenge to this.
It used to be the counter-culture's voice...now it's got no culture at all.
What happened? I got a free subscription to RS, so I came back. Insightful political thought has returned to these pages. I'm so glad to see some of the old RS back. I'm glad it's no longer Maxim-ized.
Rolling Stone is a corporate magazine and will put people on the cover and in their articles only if they think the majority of people are interested in them. That is why you've seen Britney on twice this year and N'SYNC have the first ever issue with 6 different covers. Britney was once on the cover in September when both Nirvana and Weezer had equal or longer stories written on the inside about them. In their year end issue you'll hear them gush over Steven Malkmus' (formerly of Pavement, one of the greatest bands of the '90s hands-down) new solo album, but you'll never see him on the cover or in the articles for the rest of the year. If you are into just hearing about the same popular artists over and over again, then get this magazine. If you are more interested in learning about new bands and artists who have not been crammed into you ears by popular radio, look into some other magazines. Besides the very occassional article, Rolling Stone will not enlighten you on new, talented artists who are too good for the mainstream to take in. I am now a subsriber to RS, but will not be renewing my membership.
When I first read Rolling Stone in the early 70s, it was still published on newsprint. It left one's fingerprints smudged with ink, but it left its mark in other ways, too. With its justly famous political reporting and one of a kind insight into rock and roll's impact on culture and society, Rolling Stone provided intelligent food for thought. There was still such a thing as a "counterculture" in those days, and Rolling Stone was its leading journalistic voice.
But success often breeds mediocrity, and sometime in the 80s, Rolling Stone became just another magazine. The newssprint was abandoned in the late 70s, replaced with pages that would soon be as glossy as those found in a fashion magazine. Today, Rolling Stone is as mainstream as GQ or Vanity Fair, and every bit as shallow.
Style has triumphed over substance. You have to wade through dozens of pages of airbrushed and sometimes perfumed ads for Ralph Lauren and the Gap just to find the table of contents, and once you reach it, you may wonder if all that page turning was worth it. Other than the occasional interview with a bright light in politics or pop culture, Peter Travers' movie reviews are the only consistently engaging feature.
Today, the only culture is above the counter, as easy to access as television, and if there's a political underground, it's more likely to be conservative than populist. In a way, it's foolish to complain. Influencing and co-opting the mainstream was the counterculture's goal all along, and it could be argued that it succeeded. But there's a darker scenario to consider: Rolling Stone's mainstream success could be yet another example of how the individual voice is drowned out and silenced by the howling beast that Rolling Stone might have once described, derisively, of course, as the "Establishment."
These days, when I think of Rolling Stone, I think of Elvis whose trailblazing success in the 50s planted the seeds of the youth culture that blossomed in the next decade and put both rock and roll and Rolling Stone on the map. Just as Presley's rough edges were smoothed over as he progressed from Hillbilly Cat to King, Rolling Stone rolled right into the center of pop culture and descended into pap. As Bruce Hornsby sang, "That's just the way it is."
Brian W. Fairbanks
Maybe it's my "graying" or the magazine's, but Rolling Stone is no longer on my list of favorites. Having been a subscriber for close to three decades, off and on, I find myself at odds with the direction of the magazine as well as the artists covered.
While I am a firm supporter of liberal ideas, I do think the mag's overly leftist stance alienates a major segment of potential readers. More varied opinions would allow the magazine to broaden its clientele.
Also, if one wants to see "flesh", he/she would pick up a Playboy or Playgirl, don't you think? Too many of the photographs, while reflective of the times, border on the soft-core pornographic.
This is definitely not a periodical for the coffee table.
Current Rolling Stone Magazine is like current Saturday Night Live: they both kinda blow and need a complete, fresh turnaround if they're to remain successful. Maybe not in the lucrative sense, as there's many supporters of garbage out there who blindly buy into it, but in the sense of musical ethics. For God's sake, they had USHER on the cover. USHER! *cough!* flavorofthemonthcrap *cough!*
I did kinda like the three issues they released this year dedicated to the 50th Anniversary of R&R, but in my opinion, there was some real clunkers on the lists that a true fan of rock music wouldn't even waste a second gob of spit on. And, not for nothing, the writing team at RS are supposed to be the utmost authority, so such head-scratching inclusions are unforgivable. Still, I really enjoyed reading the essays in their "50 Greatest Artists" issue. Would have been nice to read a little something about Pink Floyd, but they didn't make the cut (???).
This magazine isn't necessarily as terrible as some people make it out to be, but considering what it once was, it's state of affairs is rather sad. I mean really... Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger and EMINEM on the same cover? Hardy-har.
I would like to throw another handful of dirt on this magazines grave. I remember when Rolling Stone mattered, it wrote about real rock and roll. It interviewed interesting people, not the flavors of the month we now get dosed with. When brit,linse,justin start making covers...readers start packin.. If Rolling Stone editors had any decency youthanasia would have been practiced after Kurt Cobain made the cover wearing a tshirt reading "corporate mags suck".
For real rock and roll magazines try MOJO or Q ..
This used to be one of the best music magazines but eventually turned into one of the worst.I mean I liked it back when I was a teenager and they did articles about artists and bands that smart people such as myself actually cared about.You know ones like Guns N Roses,Nirvana,Pearl Jam,Smashing Pumpkins and even Marilyn Manson.Yes I think the last really decent year of this magazine was 96.Since then theyve occasionally had interesting interviews about interesting people like Trent Reznor and sometimes articles about good bands like Rage Against The Machine but more often then not they do articles about actors that I dont care about and musical artists that noone in their right mind would want to listen to.You know the really crappy ones that are always on TRL.Trust me if you want a good music magazine the only one around that still does articles about good musicians are the ones that write about the past of music like Guitar World.The music around today sucks.
Oddly enough the best articles in Rolling Stone are the political ones. You can find those once you wade through the cigarette and alcohol ads, somewhere sandwiched in between a few random articles dealing with music. Not bad if you only like mainstream pop, but if you want real coverage of rock, pop, hip hop, electronica, indie, and even a decent look at americana and rock and roll history, try "Mojo". Sad that a british mag could cover American music better than Rolling Stone, but RS has just gone downhill. I look through back issues from the early 90's and find interesting articles in every issue, the type which now come along every 6 months or so now.
Ever since they started routinely putting flavor of the month American Idol and Mickey Mouse Club artists on the front of the magazine I became embarassed to have it deliverd to me. With the exception of Frick's Picks they mostly review radio friendly albums marketed by large record companies that nobody will care about in a year. In addition most of the political coverage is either biased or poorly researched.
I understand Rolling Stones desire to remain relevant by covering artists that will only have fleeting success, but they've gone too far in an effort to just sell magazines. They've sacraficed their ability to have any long term influence on the music industry and become simply a mirror of the reality show driven and celebrity obsessed pop culture that currently exists.