Sunday, March 2, 2008


This week, one of the big stories in music and the media was that Maxim apparently reviewed new albums by The Black Crowes and Nas without actually heard said albums. (You can google this and find out all about it.) Maxim was caught red-handed, and admitted that they were more of "previews" than "reviews," but they gave each album
a numerical rating anyway.
Lost in the media's excitement to report this story was that Rolling Stone did review the album in thier latest issue. Rolling Stone is often dissed as being old-school while Maxim is seen as a bit more hip (if overly macho... or way overly macho). Rolling Stone has always had a bit more cozy of a rapport with artists/management, while Maxim takes the "regular guy" approach of happily dissing anyone (a tactic Rolling Stone has mimicked a bit in recent years).
Still, it makes me wonder (a) does anyone who reads Maxim really care if the review is real or fake and (b) do reviews even matter anymore? (b) has been debated a lot, both in terms of music and movies. Personally, I'm pretty influenced by magazines that have some cred with me - there aren't many left, but Mojo is certainly one. In fact, Mojo influences me more than any other media outlet when it comes to buying music, both new and old.
I don't want to hate on Maxim, but it is a bit troubling that they couldn't just write album "previews" instead of reviews with "grades." No, it isn't the New York Times covering world issues, but still, it says something about the media when a huge magazine thinks that they need to "fudge" a review (would it have been so bad to not have reviews of the Crowes and Nas' albums?) and that they thought it was OK to do that.
Maxim strikes me as one of those "we're a magazine that 'keeps it real' for 'real guys'" magazines. Couldn't they make a feature out of albums that they didn't get at press time and then speculate as to why (in their usual snarky fashion)?

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