Mag Hags

What's wrong with the state of music journalism -- and how to fix it

The Lemmings: The biggest problem is that everyone's following and copying and emulating and vying for the same advertisers and demographic hot buttons, but no one's trailblazing. CD reviews are virtually indistinguishable from one mag to another -- everyone writes them adequately, but no one writes them well. Newspaper obituaries require more creative thought. Primarily reviews are 100-word blurb jobs: Name the band, toss in a few influences, spotlight a few tracks, launch a few pun-loaded torpedoes if it sucks, wrap it up, collect $25. Read (or write) enough and you'll read right through 'em, until they're practically invisible or might as well be.

Everyone pisses; everyone moans; everyone complains. How can American music mags bitch-slap their readers back into line? Stop sounding like publicists. Ditch the "celebrity rockers and the cars" brand-name-a-thons. Call windbag interview subjects on their bullshit. Piss people off. Innovate. Dig. Write coherently but critically. And have a fucking opinion. Fed-up readers sure do, and for now, the reviews truly read like obituaries.

Joe Rocco

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