Under 30

I can't complain but sometimes I still do

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Rolling Stone turns 1,000...

And it feels like 1,000,000. Yep, the granddaddy of music mags has hit the millenium mark. And who cares? Um, well, The Washington Post does.

Actually, let me peel away the thick venner of cynicism for a sec. I grew up reading Rolling Stone and, for better and for worse, it helped shape my music taste in the early going. As a teen, I was as serious, thoughtful and humorless when it came to music as Rolling Stone. I was also as obsessed with classic rock as Jann Wenner, who made his 1,000th cover a Beatles homage. What a shock! Is there also a pre-emptive five-star review for the next solo album Mick Jagger makes?

According to the Post, RS doesn't suck as much as it used to. I wouldn't know because I stopped reading when they put Jar Jar Binks on the cover. But maybe I'll check it out now.

Rebounding from a period frequently described as "all Britney all the time," Rolling Stone is enjoying a renaissance. The biweekly's circulation is up to a record 1.4 million -- far above such rivals as Blender and Spin -- and in the past few months, it has published a long exposé on Scientology, plus excellent articles on Iraq, Congress, Hurricane Katrina and, of course, pop culture.

In 2004 it won a National Magazine Award for its Iraq coverage, which the judges called "brilliant down to the last detail." This year, it's been nominated for three more of the awards, which will be announced Tuesday.

At this point, Rolling Stone is a bit like the Rolling Stones: rich, successful and reliably entertaining but no longer as innovative or exciting as in their heyday.

"It's certainly not as novel as it once was," says Abe Peck, a former Rolling Stone editor who teaches magazine journalism at Northwestern University. "But short of blowing itself up, how could it be?"


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