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Rebecca Jansen
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Joined: 12 February 2018
Location: Canada
Posts: 1150
Posted: 26 May 2018 at 12:35pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

My BF gets TapeOp, a bi-monthly magazine, and it has some amazing articles even for non-gearheads like myself! One recent article was about the restoration of a 1940s Jenny Martenot which I found amazing. They even rewrote the manual (which was originally in French, written by Georges Jenny) they learned so much. There have also been inside details of recording sessions I can appreciate past to present.

The move has been to more to specialization with magazines, and some very specialized ones have been going for a long time with a devoted readership. Rolling Stone has for a long time been so wide-ranging, such a mixed bag and at times deliberately courting of controversy I just have tuned it out as any actual use. The reviews are all over the map with a range of writers from totally not competent or understanding that reviews have an actual purpose for buyers to the most informed overly-academic sorts. Their so-called 'guide books' do as much a disservice as a service in that you would have to know and filter things per each reviewer's various idiosyncrasies or overbearing style too often, and which they and the magazine wear in place of being actually being useful. The critic as 'look at me' gonzo rock star wannabe at times. That could only have been cutting edge when Lester Bangs was doing it ages ago, and it was still not useful reading him going on for pages about hating James Taylor and all anti-rock he supposedly stood for, or trashing The Hollies based on one early, mostly covers, remixed for the U.S. album.
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Robbie Parry
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Joined: 17 June 2007
Location: United Kingdom
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Posted: 26 May 2018 at 12:58pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

What I hated was when some music magazines, a few years ago, started reviewing films, DVDs, etc. And I'm not talking music-related films or music-related DVDs, but non-music stuff.

I don't mind a magazine covering books about music or reviewing live concerts that have made their way to DVD. But if I want to read about a film, I'll buy a movie magazine.

Problem with the world in 2018: everyone wants to be a generalist, but no-one wants to be a specialist. The butcher's shop near me was selling Easter eggs last Easter. Fucking Easter eggs. Why not just continue to specialise in selling meat? Why branch out? Why have a slice of every pie?

The greengrocer's store by me is now selling flowers. Again, stick to selling fruit and vegetables, let florists sell flowers.

As I said in the video rental thread, the guy running an already-small video store started selling ice cream and soft drinks in bottles. He hardly had the space for videotapes, let alone that crap. I could go over the road to get ice cream and Coca-Cola.

I prefer specialists to generalists. I'd rather music magazines stuck to what they know.
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Adam Schulman
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Joined: 22 July 2017
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Posted: 27 May 2018 at 2:22pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

"The critic as 'look at me' gonzo rock star wannabe at times. That could only have been cutting edge when Lester Bangs was doing it ages ago, and it was still not useful reading him going on for pages about hating James Taylor and all anti-rock he supposedly stood for, or trashing The Hollies based on one early, mostly covers, remixed for the U.S. album."

When I was a teen I loved Lester Bangs (I owned the first collection of his writings). And the guy did know how to do real music criticism -- his jazz reviews, his reviews of Van Morrison LPs, other reviews he did make this clear -- but yeah, even though he could be outrageously funny, he was self-indulgent beyond words. 

The older I get the more clearly I can see the flaws in the writings of critics I used to really enjoy, like Greil Marcus and Robert Christgau. (I like Dave Marsh politically but I never really liked his work.) Robert Palmer was probably the best of the first wave of rock writers, and sadly he died several years ago. 
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