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My Problem with the 'Rolling Stone' "Best of 00s" Issue

Last week, I received my copy of Rolling Stone's "Best of 00s" issue. The magazine features sections on the decades best songs and albums and things like that. So I read the entire edition cover to cover - because Rolling Stone has beautiful writing - but the feature left me mad.

The best of the best went to the same people Rolling Stone always picks: Bob Dylan, U2, Springsteen. I'm not denying that these are great, legendary acts...but come on. I'm certain the Rolling Stone editors picked the same artists as "the best" at the end of the 90s and the 80s too. Isn't there room for some new blood? Some innovators? Some metal?

I'll agree with the sections of the magazine that spoke about the recording industry imploding over the past decade - it sure did. When I finished college, everyone was still buying CDs by the truckload. We all know that is no longer the case.

For the best albums, Rolling Stone's "expert" panel selected a mix of rock and country and rap - anything them deemed worthy, which is fine. Again, I just feel like it was the same people over and over.

The panel selected Radiohead's Kid A as the number one album of the decade. The Strokes, Wilco, Jay-Z, The White Stripes, Arcade Fire, Eminem, Bob Dylan, M.I.A. and Kanye West rounded out the top ten. 

Over and over, the magazine mentions the "return of guitar rock" over the past decade...but where is that reflected in the above bands? I mean, truly reflected. I'm aware Motley Crue was never going to make Rolling Stone's "best of" list...but that is guitar rock, no?

The "best songs of the decade" list isn't much better. The voting panel selected "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley as the best tune of the 00s. A whole lot of other crap made the top ten including "Seven Nation Army" (White Stripes), "Maps" (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and "Beautiful Day" (U2). I like U2 well enough - I just think "Beautiful Day" is one of the band's weaker tracks.

The looking-back segments are the best part of the special 00s edition of the magazine. We're reminded that the 00s gave us American Idol, the iPod and major American festivals like Lollapalooza. I''ll agree the iPod is the invention of the decade.

My main problem with Rolling Stone in general is that the magazine tries so painfully hard to be...hip. Why chase trends? Rolling Stone can afford to be above any trend. Just because a lot of whiny college kids like indie rock doesn't mean the rest of America - and the world - does. Nay, the rest of the world likes real rock and pop music. Crap that isn't so complicated it can't be enjoyed...or so pretentious it's unapproachable.

I've wanted to write for Rolling Stone since like...forever but the magazine always infuriates me. Would it be so criminal to do a real feature on the return of rock, dare I say Glam? A two sentence mention in the outdated news section doesn't count, either. There are real stories about money and middle America tied up in 80s bands that I could pitch until I'm blue in the face, but the editorial team doesn't care. I guess that's why print media is dying as more and more of us migrate online to talk about what we really like.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised or offended. Everyone knows the best music isn't played on the radio or on television - it isn't mainstream. We seek out what we like, so bands like Lynam and Crazy Lixx and Brother Firetribe may never make a Rolling Stone list...but that doesn't make them any less awesome.

You can read the special segments and check out the entire "best of" lists online at

Tomorrow - my top ten of 2009 and later this week...a look back at the best music over the past decade. 



Reader Comments (13)

My big problem with Rolling Stone?
Jonas Brothers..made the cover twice.
something's wrong here.
December 14, 2009 | Unregistered Commenter:D
I'm a little suprised you like Rolling Stone at all Allyson. It's been a predictable and boring mag for years.
December 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSnoot
I don't like Rolling Stone, but what did you expect Saints Of Los Angeles at top 100? Have a little
perspective. But it's a shame that they dident mention the new wave of glam, or street/glam/metaLLL, I think that crashdïet did one of the most important albums in the genre in years. They should also have put in Don't belive the truth.
December 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLiam
Rolling Stone Magazine has been irrelavent as far back as I can remember. It's a magazine for "Aging Hipsters" to thumb through in the waiting room of their Proctologist. They usually feature the flavor of the month on the cover and obscure/underground artists who will be back "rocking the mic" at the drive-up window ("do you want fries with that?"), by the time the issue is printed.
December 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRob Rocker
I'm apologizing in advance, because this post will most likely be an angry diatribe towards the "crapola-disguised-as-a-major-magazine" known as rolling stone. This bastion of liberal "We still really hate Bush" garbage has not been relevant politically, culturally, or in particular, musically for years (decades?) now...

But let me get off the political and cultural soapbox and just focus on the music here: Yes, Bob Dylan is a long-time superstar, but only RS thinks he is still relevant in this day and age. The same can be said for the Rolling Stones, the Who, Springsteen, John Fogerty, et al. These artists certainly have their classic rock moments (and some can still shred it live), but RS thinks that this type of music is as popular as it was 30 years ago. Instead of focusing on the heir apparents in 'guitar rock', well, we can't have that - after all, RAP is the true heir apparent according to RS. Thank God U2 is still a major force musically, or RS would barely cover ANY music acts that started during the past 25 years!

But wait, then to mask the point that sales and subscriptions are down, they post covers of crap such as Britney Spears, Jonas Bros, and all those "boy bands of the week" in order to look hip.

RS is like the old uncle you see once a year during the holidays. You know, the hip and edgy one that traveled the world and never really settled down? Except now, he's still telling stories from 1974, and everyone else is living in 2009...

Lest everyone think that I am simply some "oldtimer" who only listens to 1980's glam, rest assured that is not true. My music collection includes everything from Poison, Elton John, Slayer, Public Enemy, and Steely Dan to current favorites like Sevendust and Shinedown.

Okay, rant over...
December 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGator
Forgot one more thing:

Funny that RS mentioned Lollapalooza in the Best of the '00's issue, as Lollapalooza started in the early 1990's. I caught a few of the early tours, and they were all memorable.

Nowadays? Lollapalooza is a 2-day festival that takes place only in Chicago. It hosts Pearl Jam, and 25 other bands you've never heard of...

Would it have killed RS to mention Ozzfest, Cruefest, or especially Rocklahoma?? Oh no, we can't have that!
December 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGator
Can't even go there with Rolling Stone. YES, beautiful writing indeed and I have to give them kudos for a lot of their articles but they've always given favor to some of the dumbest s**t! I'm loving all the talk all over the place about the entire decade. It makes you think about some really great music that has come out and well....some really not so great music that has come our way (cough cough, miley cyrus). And Beautiful Day? are you kidding me? U2 is one of the biggest bands in the world but it doesn't mean everything they do is going to be GREAT! ANd yes, Lollapalooza, HELLO, that festival started in 1991 and fizzled out nicely in the last decade! was there any mention of Bonnaroo or Voodoo Fest? Those festivals have really turned into something spectacular (imo). ok, off my RS opinion soap box....but it does make me wonder what VH1 will come up with for the next decade show - I love the Millenium years? I love the 2000s? hmmmm
December 14, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkari
Brilliant post, as per usual.
I think it's particularly relevant that people are no longer paying for this kind of crap, when they can get much more specific (to them) writing about what they want to talk about, not the crappy artists like miley cyrus or jonas brothers or whatever. I think RS needs to take a good look at what it's missing, and what it needs to do to cater to the right audience.
December 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLucifer
Not sure why you're surprised. Rolling Stone has never cared about metal or hard rock. Maybe they did in the 70's, but certainly not since 1980. Bob Dylan could crap in a bag and Rolling Stone would pronounce it a vital, brilliant piece of art.
December 14, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbryon
Rolling Stone mag sucks ass! I cringe and nearly vomit everytime I read it. I hate how they suck up to bands like U2 and Dave Matthews "who both suck!".
December 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKenny Ozz
The rag is run by aging baby-boomers who fit squarely (pun intended) into the oxymoronic (again, pun intended) tag "corporate hippies" who think that the only "rock" that's meant to be heavily covered is the stuff that they grew up loving. In other words: "message" music. Message music is fine by me, but can't they broaden it up at least A little bit. Hell, they're so arrogant they even ignore the decade that birthed rock 'n' roll... THE '50s (and into the early-to-mid '60s.), just so they can say "my generation was the first 'real' rock generation." But that's obviously a rant for another place and time.

Hard-rock's intoxicating mix of musical prowess, huge hooks and passionate vocals mixed with a colorful image/stage presence will never be ignored by the people that truly matter: Us! Why? Because we can say unequivocally that this kind of music creates that hardest emotions their is to pull out of someone: Happiness and Empowerment! They may not consider the latter and former to be art-sy enough for their egos even if they truly know it to be true, and trust me, they do.

BtW: Yes, the second paragraph WAS written by me imagining patriotic music in my head. lol
December 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChris Holzhauer
You think ``glam metal`` is or was innovating?
I guess doing your best to look like a transsexual counts as innovating, even though it had been done before in the 70s. Rehasjing the 80s hair farm shtick is original and innovating?And indie rock isn`t that complicated or weird. It sure has a bigger audience than ``glam``(hair bands) today.And it realy is good music, quite often innovating too. You think poison or warrant are more original than the strokes or the editors? Oh yeah, and I thought you would be prettier.:(
June 20, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergeorge
white stripes were right, they should feature avenged sevenfold, bullet for my valentine, and even im not the biggest fan linkn park, as well as bands like hardcore superstar, crashdiet, and crazy lixx
April 15, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdj

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