Tuesday, April 14, 2009

An Ode to Blender Magazine (RIP)

I've been a magazine junkie as long as I remember. Growing up, music magazines were my drug of choice. I read them all - Metal Edge, Circus, Hit Parade... anything that involved a long haired, pop-metal band and I was putting my allowance on the counter without hesitation. I would sit in my room and devour them cover to cover. As I got older my musical tastes matured (OK, just a little - I still listen to a lot of Poison and Bon Jovi) and I started reading Rolling Stone. It was the perfect transition into adulthood, as it covered popular music and the liberal politics that were informing my thinking.

My politics haven't changed much over the years, but my interest in Rolling Stone has. These days I tend to read more of O The Oprah Magazine and Chatelaine than music magazines. My Entertainment Weekly addiction gives me a good overview of what's happening in that world and, as I've transitioned out of working in music I have grown less and less interested in the day to day happenings of my favourite bands. Besides which, these days I get most of that on the internet anyway.

So when Blender Magazine announced that it was no longer publishing, why was I so sad to hear the news? Well, while I will fully admit to not having picked up the last few issues, Blender has been my music mag of choice for awhile. I liked Blender. It was funny, snarky and hip, without sounding like it was being written by and for the few thousand music snobs who work at indie record stores and debate the merits of each Mission of Burma CD. Blender would have Nikki Sixx and Lil Wayne in an issue alongside U2 and Katie Perry. They wrote about whoever was interesting at the moment and they wrote about them well. They walked the line between celebrity tabloid and music criticism and they did it well. Every issue I would laugh out loud, learn about the latest releases and discover that despite myself I was actually enjoying articles on everyone from Fergie to Fountains of Wayne.

Maybe it's because Blender was the perfect magazine for someone like me that things didn't work out. I'm not hip enough to know or care about the latest, hottest thing in the underground. I don't buy Beyonce albums, but I don't mind that you do. And I'll enjoy reading about her in the same way I'll enjoy reading about Kelly Clarkson or Britney Spears or whomever has a song on the radio right now that's getting lots of spins. I own more Kid Rock than Flaming Lips CDs and I'm happy to read about who Kid is dating, hating or imitating. And I loved that Blender would include country reviews, as well as the occasional article (even if it was almost always with a Taylor Swift or Carrie Underwood - hey, they give good pictorial, what are you gonna do?). I can't imagine there are a lot of readers like me. People who like a little bit of a lot and who look at good writing as a stronger criteria for reading a magazine then whether or not The Jonas Brothers are in it are probably not bringing in strong enough numbers to keep any mag afloat these days.

So I'm saying my goodbyes to Blender and wondering if I'll find a new music magazine of choice now. I'm doubtful, but you never know... There's always Country Weekly or Teen Beat, right?

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