Everybody’s A Wenner: The “Rolling Stone” Review-Section Revue

Oct 31st, 2006 // 6 Comments

For the past few months, we’ve been analyzing Rolling Stone‘s famed reviews section, wondering if our long-held conspiracy-theory query was true: Does every album in this damn magazine automatically get three stars? And after weeks of fuzzy math, we’re starting to wonder if Jann and his crew of Ralph Gleason wannabes are actually paying attention to us.

Don’t get us wrong: We’re pretty sure no one at RS reads Idolator (in fact, every time we look at the magazine’s blog, we wonder if anyone there can read, period). But issue #1012 has a suspiciously high number of three-and-a-half star reviews–nineof them, in fact; it’s almost as if they were intentionally trying to avoid falling into the triple-star rut. So take heed, Lindsey Buckingham, John Legend and Lady Sovereign: Not only are your names hard to say aloud when they’re strung together, but according to the Stone, the three of you all occupy the same vaulted metaphysical space between “Good” and “Excellent.”

Even more curious: RS has upped the number of negative reviews in these past few issues, and here they hand out disses to Diddy (2.5 stars, “flat voice and retro boasts”), the Kooks (2 stars, “a Brighton-accented version of the Spin Doctors”), and Congressman James Sensenbrenner (0 stars, “an ever-sweating, fat-fingered beast”). If it weren’t for that Tony Bennet rave, we’d think the magazine was having a semi-sane week.

Issue #: 1012
Total number of reviews (excluding reissues): 27
Total number of three-star reviews: 5
Total percentage of reviews that are three-star reviews: 19 percent
Total number of Idolator editors who know how to calculate percentages in their head: 0

Everybody’s A Wenner [archive]

  1. Glenn Danzig

    tried forever to get a fair shake from this rag, and it never happened–they were always more interested in putting al gore or chewbaca(sp?) or we are the world on the cover than they were in covering music. did an interview with them around the time of “mother” and the guy really pissed me off by asking me about grunge and ross perot. i was like, brother, i wanna rock, not tlak. hulk hogan said that on dinah shore once, and it’s always stayed with me.

    my new album, Tlak is Cheap, comes out memorial day weekend.

  2. SlimShadenfruede

    The November issue of Spin has a fuck up in their reviews. A bunch of records got H’s instead of stars. Dingbats!

  3. cingmot

    Ah and the two-ply idiocy of their review pages is so subtle: the Kooks’ singer doesn’t have a Brighton accent; he’s from up north. Where’s the music press’ drooling anglophilia when you need it?

  4. coolfer

    I tend to value Rolling Stone reviews, but they get carried away with the legacy artists. Five stars for Mick Jagger’s solo album? Five stars for Neil Young’s Lives With Angels? Five for the Stones’ Steel Wheels? C’mon.

    Two stars for The Kooks is a shame. A rock band can’t throw in a funky bass line without getting Spin Doctors comparison? (An undeserved low blow.) The album has a few too many songs, but I really enjoy it. I don’t want to be assured the band is going to get a Rock Hall nomination in 25 years (like Neil and Mick). I just want to be entertained.

  5. highlifer

    Yep, ditto on the Kooks. What’s not to like? That’s an extra star each from me and coolfer.

  6. Steverino

    I always thought their 3.5 star rating was the true kiss of death, always seems to go to major artists when they make a shitty album. Like Madonna “Bedtime Stories.”

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