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

Mar 16th, 2007 // Comment

Once again, we venture to the back of Rolling Stone magazine–the part right before Peter Travers’ hysterical, horny, and hysterically horny movie screeds–and analyze the magazine’s music-review section. Why? We’ve long forgotten. But much like RS itself, we keep on keepin’ on, oblivious to shifts in readers’ desires, or even our own relevancy.

Last time around, we noted how David Fricke’s Arcade Fire write-up read suspiciously like a three-star review–and yet it was rewarded with three-and-a-half-stars. At the time, we joked that it was because the magazine’s editors were tired of us rambling on their seemingly auto-piloted three-star system. Well, after reading the new issue, we’re not joking anymore, as this is the most weirdly apologetic round-up ever.

Many of the albums’ high-profile review grades make no sense: The Stooges’ The Weirdness, for example, is a “flier for the live show,” with songs “that nobody’s going to scream for.” Modest Mouse’s We Were Dead… features tracks that “many will catchy and none will find pretty,” and notes that Issac Brock has been mining “the same vein of meaning for more than a decade,” which is “maybe too long.” And while these are the kinds of write-ups that logically deserve to be accompanied by two or three stars, they both get three and a half stars. So do the Fratellis, Mary Weiss and the Bird and the Bee. Maybe three-and-a-half is the new three? If so, does that mean we can move on to another semi-regular RS feature? Maybe something Smoking Section-related? Please?

Issue #: 1022
Total number of record reviews (excluding reissues): 19
Total number of three-star reviews: 6
Total percentage of reviews that are three-star reviews: 32 percent
Number of obscenties in Robert Christgau’s Modest Mouse review: Three (“give a fuck,” “fuck-me” and “oh-shit-not-again”)
Number of I’m From Rolling Stone mentions (including advertisements): 2
Number of “get over it” pictures of Joss Stone: 1

Everybody’s A Wenner [archive]

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