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

Dec 8th, 2006 // 7 Comments

Every week, we dig into the latest issue of Rolling Stone magazine–and not just because we want to read Joss Stone talking shit about Nelly “Don’t Be Wearin’” Furtado. No, we love giving the Stone‘s infamous review section a good once-over, just to see how their nonsensically distributed multi-starred reviews are aligning.

Those of you who have been reading this feature since the beginning know that we originally set out to “expose” the magazine’s practice of giving every album a three-star review–no matter how execrable that album may be. Then we sorta veered away from that premise, since it seemed that Rolling Stone has begun printing somewhat negative reviews.

So we’re happy to report that as of issue #1015, the three-star system is back in full effect, as more than fifty percent of all reviews fall into RS‘ vague critical swampland of “Good.” And what is “good” this week? Incubus’ latest may be a “little scattered,” Snoop’s new record made “on autopilot,” but don’t look for write-ups and star counts to logically correspond in Rolling Stone–literally, it’s all good.

That said, we’ve got some deeper gripes with this latest batch of reviews: There’s no way that Kingdom Come deserves three-and-a-half stars (come on, Sheff-will you really be playing that in two months? Or even two weeks?). And reviewing that U2 best-of is just a waste of space–is there any Stone reader who’s actually going to need this album? Also: Why the hell does Rolling Stone have such an insane lag-time between when it shows up on a newsstand and when it arrives in our mailbox? At this point, it’s more out of date than the magazine’s blog. Zing!

Issue #: 1015
Total number of reviews (excluding reissues): 29
Total number of three-star reviews: 16
Total percentage of reviews that are three-star reviews: 55 percent
Total number of P.O.W.s receiving favorable coverage (P.O.W. = pals of Wenner): None, unless Akon and Jann are friends (this is possible).
Total number of pictures of eminently slappable Jack Johnson: 1 (pg. 123)
“You’ve Gotta Be Frickin’ With Us” Award For an Obscure Band That David Fricke Is Clearly Just Making Up:: “Original acid-country mystics” Mighty Baby (pg. 124)

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  1. Alfonso X. Alfonse

    You might want to look into the correlation between two-star reviews and Rolling Stone getting punitively sued by record companies.

  2. jt.ramsay

    That Mighty Baby disc is real! I’m listening to A Jug of Love right now.

  3. The Mozfather

    Can I suggest you change the award from “You’ve Gotta Be Frickin’ With Us” to “You’ve Gotta Be Frickin’ Kidding Me”? The Fricke/Fuck substitution is not immediately obvious, and the Frickin/kidding pairing has better assonance.

    Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I will go back to making pithy but slightly incomprehensible comments.

  4. acecowboy

    This is graspin’ at some serious frickin’ straws here…I totally agree with the overall premise of your post and I’ve said the same for years, but I find it hard to see where you prove your point in the slightest.

    Fifty-five percent get a three-star rating? That actually seems like it makes total sense. I find more fault with your breaking news reporting that Snoop’s album was made “on autopilot.” The better joke would be something like “Snoop’s new record made ‘on PCP and skank poon.’”

  5. justsayinisall

    Mozfather: Good point about the not obviousness of the Fricke/Fuck substitution, but all Frickin’ Kidding aside, I feel that “Are you Frickin’ Kidding Me?” kicks the assonance of your title. Shorter and sweeter. Adding a nice little punch to the DF jab.

  6. Little White Earbuds

    Mighty Baby is pretty mediocre in comparison to their member-sharing predecessors, The Action. “Rolled Gold” is a fucking treat — get it at it now!

  7. Faster

    Now this is a great feature. Enough of the pitchfork shite. I don’t need pretension twice.

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