Back in my college house, we had a rule: Don’t mention Rolling Stone! You see, my friend Jack and I had a recurring argument (that sometimes would drag on for hours) about whether Rolling Stone — particularly their Top 500 Songs and Albums lists — are worthwhile sources of music analysis and evaluation or steaming pile of bollocks.
Jack thought that Rolling Stone’s writers are a bunch of shit-heads, and I thought that Rolling Stone provides worthwhile, if provocative, curation and discussion of music… which happens to be written by a bunch of shit-heads.
The truth is probably somewhere in between. Rolling Stone’s 500 lists (which are p
retty epic and scale, to the point that they’re each closer to small books than magazine articles) and their huge Album Guide have pointed me towards a ton of music I’ve fallen in love with. They’ve also frustrated me plenty of times with insulting dismissals of music that I admire.
But I look at all of the music I’ve only really paid attention to because of the raves of Rolling Stone — from Big Star to Blondie to Madonna and more — as well as the entertainment the magazine and books have provided me as reading material, and I have to tip my hat to them.