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Blogging the breakup

May 7, 2009

It was as much a part as my music development at my first Fisher Price record player. It came with me everywhere: from Southeastern Michigan to Wellsville then North Country. It’s been stuffed into P.O. Boxes, dragged across the country and a resident in my recycle bin – and bathroom — for more than a decade.

For the first time, I’m not checking the box that next to “Yes! Send me 26 issues for …”

I won’t be renewing Rolling Stone.

It has a little something to do with the new layout … and a lot to do with the fact that the one issue they didn’t send me in 10 years was the instant classic Barack Obama cover from this past October. They offered no replacement or apology.

Yes, I’m still bitter.

But, the magazine gave me my first taste of Hunter S. Thompson, of scantily clad women, of in-depth interviews. I built a good 25 percent of my CD collection based on recommendations from the June 1997 list of the Top 200 albums of all-time. Most of them were great. Still don’t know about Trout Mask Replica, but still!

The words and opinions of Rob Sheffield, David Fricke, Pete Travers and so many others filled my mind. And the covers, ripped neatly into tear sheets and mounted with scotch tape, hung all around the walls of my high school bedroom: the tribute to Jerry Garcia, Janet Jackson’s boobs, Jim Carey making a ridiculous face.

This was how I connected to pop culture and the pop music I loved as a kid and teen. The pictures were provocative and the ratings were true.

There was always a copy lying around the house for as long as I can remember.

For some reason, though, I don’t need a double issue to tell me what’s “hot” and “cool” anymore. In fact, I don’t need any of their stupid lists.

Rolling Stone should not be in the business of taste-making – it’s always been more of a pop culture newspaper to me. Now, RS devotes way too much time hyping band’s I’ve already read about or heard or think are way overrated.

Those in-depth interviews are with girls from the Hills. And who the hell is Asher Roth?!

Not only is it smaller, it just feels hollower — far less essential, anyway; an old friend I no longer recognize. Anything I would want to read – like Matt Taibbi’s hilarious political rants – I can find online. I can also compile interviews from several trusted sources on the Web to help decide which I listen to next.

So it would seem I’ve outgrown Rolling Stone. At some point over the next couple months, I will drop the last issue into the blue bin.

090507jennyBut, it’s cool, Rolling Stone. I still love those top 115 albums of all-time that I place on my tinfoil compact disc collection; still get turned on by that cover of Jenny McCarthy suggestively squeezing mustard on an airbrushed hot dog.

For a long time, I still liked and gave considerable weight to your reviews.

It’s time to go, though. I hope you understand.

I hope some other kid reads a four-and-a-half-star rating for OK Computer and it completely shifts his tastes, perhaps his life.

Later on.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. May 7, 2009 10:22 pm

    I agree with you! I haven’t renewed my subscription in years. Although I was able to find the Obama issue on newstands, but I gave it to my uncle. Randomly a couple of months ago, I received an issue in my mailbox with a message like “We Miss You!” but I didn’t bite. It’s just not what it used to be. I’ve switched to Paste and I couldn’t be happier!

  2. May 8, 2009 2:37 pm

    It was a tough call to make, but it was bound to happen. I dabbled with Paste for a few years. It really bugged me that they handed out five-star ratings all over the place. How the hell was I supposed to determine what was good from that?
    Also, the features were often not very compelling in my opinion. I feel like they try too hard to be the premiere source for movies and pop culture as well, and it can’t be so.
    On the music side, though, I love their mixes. I miss them! Always found as song or two worth getting down with.

    Thanks for the comment.

  3. Shelby permalink
    May 9, 2009 10:23 am

    Can you really stop getting Rolling Stone…you just try…

  4. insidetimshead permalink
    May 9, 2009 10:33 am

    Rolling Stone was a must-read in college. But then when it seemed to be more into Fred Durst, Korn, Britney and all kinds of hacks — and had a definite feeling that, to quote a classic WKRP episode where Johnny Fever becomes Rip Tide, ‘It’s gotta be paid for, right?’ — it had jumped the shark and was ready to spin off ‘Mork and Mindy.’

    Got CMJ a year or two, but their mixes were so hit or miss and they still have money for a subscription never fulfilled. Worst. Customer. Service. Ever. Now on CMJ except it seems to arrive on busy weeks and I realize the current one has been sitting on my coffee table for a couple weeks and I haven’t even listened to the CD yet. CMJ was horribly written and the cover copy seemed to be assembled randomly, while Paste’s writing is better but still sometimes irksome. But then, I don’t have time to read the mag anyway (see above), so I’m mainly buying for the mix. When I find the time and memory to listen.

    • May 9, 2009 10:51 am

      This begs the question: Where is the best music journalism/criticism today? Web, print, whatever. I’m not sure I have something to recommend …

  5. May 9, 2009 9:09 pm

    I really think you should submit this to RS. We MAY EVEN get a free subscription!! But really Liebs, it’s a great piece and above all it talks of a beginning of something great in its self.

    • May 10, 2009 8:18 pm

      Thanks, hun! I suppose I’d still read it if it was free, so maybe I will send it : )

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