TROUBLE CITY

MEDIA REPORTS (4.29.07)

Movie NewsMicah RobinsonComment

http://chud.com/nextraimages/blendermay.jpg1. BLENDER - APRIL 2007

Ostensibly a music magazine, Blender is really more a somewhat music-based pop culture rag. You'll get your share of record reviews and interviews as they copy much of the look/format of England's far superior Q magazine, but there's a distinctly American spazziness that makes this an unpredictable, light, and usually enjoyable read.

This issue's strong points:

  • Gotta give 'em credit for not wimping out with another list or historical article. Arcade Fire matter NOW and whatever the sales risk, they deserve the cover.
  • The piece on renting stars for parties was mildly interesting.
  • Err....it's biodegradable?

This issue's weak points:

  • Almost entirely garbage filler aside from the cover. Hilary Duff? A Vegas Guide? Coachella Survival guide? Why does this stuff take up more than 6 pages?
  • Not worth the time it takes to flip through this over lunch. if you're an Arcade Fire fan, wait for the article to show up online or something.

Overall: 2.5 out of 10

2. http://chud.com/nextraimages/vfMAY.jpgVANITY FAIR - MAY 2007

This is another "super" glossy that can sometimes surprise with the amount of substance a given issue can have. Beyond the farfillion fashion ads and such, you can find some great articles on politics, culture, and entertainment history, plus the eye candy layouts are pretty top-notch.

This issue's strong points:

  • It's chock-full of everything you need to know to be up on the current global environmental crisis, and make no mistake...it is a CRISIS. I'm sure there are fools out there that would say "Well, it's so left-wing, how can I trust it? The editor doesn't like Bush, and Bobby Kennedy is writing articles, and blah, blah, blah." Sorry, folks. There is no "balance" here. There is scientific fact - the fact that the Earth is warming and that we are contributing to it - and there is debate as to the degree that we contribute and how best we can stop it. If you can't accept that, you don't deserve a spot at the big folks' table of debate. Period.
  • Love the range here from the article on Tesla electric cars to the underreported crisis shortage of potable water worldwide.
  • As far as other content, there's a great article on Kissinger/Nixon, plus a nice little collection of Oscar party candids. Hollywood Life should take note: If you're going to feature candid collages, put 'em in the back after you've put enough solid content in the front to make the issue actually worth buying. Not even US Weekly is so dependent on party photos. Sigh. But I digress...

This issue's weak points:

  • Almost nothing. So very worth the four and a half bucks.

Overall: 9.0 out of 10

3. http://chud.com/nextraimages/kingjune.jpgKING MAGAZINE - JUNE 2007

Maxim and Stuff keep it coming month after month in terms of over-Photoshopped genera-hotties in yawnworthy layouts. But what about those of us who want women of color, backshots, and, most importantly, to keep it gully? King magazine is our only monthly destination for the real.

This issue's strong points:

  • Despite the weird cover photo (more on that in a sec), the Rocsi (it hurts me to spell that) article and spread are pretty nice and go a long way to making her come off a lot better than she does daily on the mindless, yet popular 106th and Park.
  • Very good Floyd Mayweather article.
  • Loved the piece on guys who are "voluntarily" celibate, only without the snarky-ass quotations. Stuff like this is what's going to help King stay relevant against a Details or GQ. It's a shame that a black men's magazine has to be every men's magazine, from high-brow to low-brow all-in-one, but that's how it is.

This issue's weak points:

  • Who is that on the cover? Seriously. It looks nothing like Rocsi. It's not just the makeup. They literally Photoshopped her into another being.
  • The rest of the ish is kinda skimpy, especially the weak "Coming Kings" pictorial that inevitably produces a bunch of guys you won't even remember by the time next year's pictorial rolls around.
  • All in all, it's an okay ish. But they really need to step their game up the next couple of issues.

Overall: 6.5 out of 10



4.
http://chud.com/nextraimages/intmay.jpgINTERVIEW MAGAZINE - MAY 2007

The title of this baby can sometimes be ironic when the ads and pictorials overwhelm their meager interviews by celebrities with other celebrities. But when she's good, you get unique perspectives that you can't find elsewhere.

This issue's strong points:

  • Chris Evans Q&A with Jessica Alba was surprising, but that guy continues to broaden his CV with solid work, so maybe it shouldn't be. Oddest quirk of his: he's into quantum physics, and not just in the feelgood-ish, What the Bleep Do We Know?!-kinda way.
  • Emily Blunt's a fairly interesting chick, and they do justice to that in print and in pictures. I'm not jocking the dame the way some are these days, but I have yet to see her upcoming breakout flick, Wind Chill, which got a healthy 42-screen release this weekend. I think more people saw Jesus this morning than that film.
  • Simon Pegg!

This issue's weak points:

  • ...suffers when asked boring questions apart from Wright and Frost. Also, the interview is Cillian Murphy's penis-sized.
  • Way too much of the usual fluff on bands and actors who are "hot" and yet, somehow we'll never hear from them again.
  • A very average issue that would do nothing to convert doubters.

Overall: 6.5 out of 10

5. http://chud.com/nextraimages/scratchmayjune.jpgSCRATCH MAGAZINE - MAY/JUNE 2007

Scratch
bills itself as the "blueprint of hip-hop," and for once, there's some truth to the advertising. It started as a straight-up hip-hop beats/production mag, but has since become a broader look at how the records are made from conception to completion. I wish they could do more on indie hip-hop artists and their grind, but the lack of sales that would cause would be straight-up suicide.


This issue's strong points:

  • Can't believe I voluntarily read an article on Young Jeezy and The Runners. But it's good! They managed to keep these dudes focused on the industry and the music rather than lapsing into miscellaneous BS and maxims that populate their other interviews. It's funny and sad that producers with 2-3 hit singles are considered "super"-producers, but that's how desperate the industry is now, and even these guys can't charge but so much for a beat.
  • Fantastic piece on how G-Unit beats get picked. Having submitted to them a number of times, I knew much of this already, but it's good that they got perspective from lesser knowns who placed beats with them and were not happy with the end result, despite the check that came with it. A lot of what's right and wrong in the industry is in this article.
  • I liked the articles on Danjahandz and Swizz Beats (sorry Microsoft Word), but both of these guys are more than a little full of themselves. I mean, Swizz thinks he can have Bone Thugs sell 5 million records in a climate where Justin Timberlake and Black-Eyed Peas can't reach four million?! Riiiiiiight.

This issue's weak points:

  • The concept of DJ Drama looking back at his mixtape lineup is a good one, but this article is useless without the artists and producers who made it happen. Drama just assembles track listings and talks to intro each song. That's not enough to merit him coverage alone.
  • All-in-all, a good read cover-to-cover if you care about the concept behind this mag.

Overall: 8.0 out of 10