Sunday, March 02, 2008

Every Rolling Stone Interview Ever

My hatred of the publication Rolling Stone is pretty well-documented, and I think my distaste for it is reasonable. Its weaknesses lie in the fact that no one, not even the editors and investors of the magazine, knows who its audience is. Its rise to prominence in the '60s was rooted in its left-leaning, free-thinking identity: the motto of the rag is "All the news that fits." It happened to be a music magazine because, at the time, music happened to be political, and both of those arenas fed into each other. Clearly, this was not your mother's music magazine.

Except that now it is. And your mother is not left-leaning and free-thinking, so Rolling Stone is caught trying to retain that identity while still selling magazines to your mother, since its original audience--teenagers and college kids--doesn't give a shit about magazines in general, but especially about magazines as spineless and unoriginal and clueless as Rolling Stone.

Clueless? Clueless:

Asia Argento's a big star. Very famous.

(Spineless and unoriginal? Yeah. Because it doesn't want to a) have its critics called into question by the Internet peanut gallery of which it is terrifed or b) get on any musician's bad side--thus maybe jeopardizing one of its fluffy cover stories--Rolling Stone is tentative to praise any album with more than four-out-of-five stars or criticize one with lower than two-out-of-five. Idolator actually used to have a hate-soaked column that tracked how many three star reviews were in each issue. In fact, if you were to look at the current album archives, absolutely no new albums earned five stars, and only one CD was dismissed with one star. [Celene Dion, not exactly a critical sacred cow.] Most reissues get five stars because even Rolling Stone can admit that, yeah, Elvis Costello's This Year's Model is a pretty good record.

Furthermore, Rolling Stone pays Peter Travers money, and he is one of the shittiest critics still writing for a major publication.)

So I'm taking a while to say this, but basically Rolling Stone refuses to admit that what they have built their reputation on no longer matters to the people who (don't) read their stuff. Never has this become more apparent than during this election year. As they pump out Obama approbation, Rolling Stone neither thinks to ask if most musicians are still political (they're not) nor if we want to read about how political they are (we don't). This is every Rolling Stone interview ever:

RS: So, Usher, thanks for chatting with us. Congratulations on "In This Club," which is sure to be a humongous hit. It's a fun little song about having sex in a club, and people like it because it's so forthright and focused on that one subject. And most of your music is like that. You don't really have many songs about, I don't know, what's going on in the world today and about George Bush's Reign of Terror.

Usher: Yeah. Politics are something I really try to stay away from in my music.

Can I get some questions about campaign finance over here?

RS: So there aren't any lyrics in "In This Club" that could be interpreted in different ways? Some people think it's satire.

Usher: That wasn't really what I was getting at. I'm just trying to have fun, give people something to dance to.

RS: Do you plan on writing any songs about politics in the future?

Usher: Not really. Like I said, it's just not what I do. I leave that to other people. I try to keep it separate.

RS: Hey, speaking of politics, who are you voting for: Barack or Hillary?

Usher: Oh, I don't know yet. I haven't decided. Both seem to bring a lot to the table.

RS: I'll tell you one guy who definitely doesn't bring anything to the table: George W. Bush. Am I right? Am I right?

I don't like Rolling Stone, and if you think this was all just an excuse to mention the sublime "In This Club," you're kind of right. I'm actually depressed by this song because I know how few singles released this year will be as good as it.

Usher feat. Young Jeezy- "In This Club"

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