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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Yesterday's Papers

Jim DeRogatis's review of the new "reality" show I'm From Rolling Stone had me with its headline: I was once 'From Rolling Stone,' and it wasn't anything like MTV's new show. DeRogatis's time at Rolling Stone has been well-documented elsewhere (he has a whole chapter devoted to it in his book, Milk It!) and the sour grapes are still there, as evidenced by his review.

I have yet to watch the show, but I get the sense it's like so many "reality" shows: expose and embarrass people by tricking them into thinking they are gaining something while losing so much in the process. People want to see the show itself and (more often than not) could give a rat's ass about what happens to these people after the season (or series) is over. This is not the kind of stuff I call entertaining, but this brings up an interesting, albeit whole other topic: why the hell am I still reading Rolling Stone?

Say whatever you like about who's covered in each issue, but the sticking point I have always liked is the quality of its writing. A reader since high school (and a subscriber since college), I've enjoyed reading about people I'm curious about even if I don't care about the music this act is making. Its main stories about mainstream artists go deeper than the average mainstream music magazine, so maybe that's why I hang on.

But these days, when it comes to reading about music for me, it's mostly with various blogs, a couple of music news/reviews/features sites, Punk Planet, The Big Takeover and the SOMB (in addition to listening to the Sound Opinions podcast). Given the choice of reading about the new Ted Leo or Arcade Fire record on a website versus Rolling Stone's tribute to James Brown today, I'll read about the Ted Leo and Arcade Fire's records first and foremost and read the James Brown tribute at night before I go to sleep. That's just how I operate seeing as I spend most of my day in front of my computer.

So I don't think there's a sense of loyalty with me still reading Rolling Stone. Sure, the cheap subscription rate is nice, but I don't feel a sense of obligation. I do like to read it, but as compared to when I first started reading it, it's not the first and foremost way I read about music.

2 comments:

Random Kath said...

How funny - I just got my Rolling Stone in the mail today (sometimes I think the mailperson nicks my magazines, but that's another story . . .)

I've had the subscription ever since I was in college, so I've had it for a good, um, almost 20 years now. I too really enjoy the writing of some of the articles and my husband and I half-joke that it keeps us connected to the "kids".

I'm not big into following music mags and the radio desn't yield as much random variety as it used to, so I keep the magazine so I have at least a nodding acquaintance with what's going on in the pop/rock world.

Although, I do like your writing the best . . . :-)

Eric Grubbs said...

Thanks for the nice words.