Has The NME Got Good?

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Pitchfork is about as generalist as a generalist music magazine can get btw. Stylus and Plan B were maybe better but rip.

When I used to read it btw the Source used to cover indie. It was at the rise of lol pharrell is wearing skinny jeans and holding a skateboard tho.

"jobs" (a hoy hoy), Thursday, 6 January 2011 10:38 (3 years ago) Permalink

well yeah that's the having cake/eating it thing isn't it?

"we are ~beyond categorisation~ but it just happens that 90% of what we cover is indie"

xp

lex diamonds (lex pretend), Thursday, 6 January 2011 10:38 (3 years ago) Permalink

i mean no one ever explicitly states that generalism is their raison d'être - it's more implied through, yes, not specifically categorising oneself

lex diamonds (lex pretend), Thursday, 6 January 2011 10:40 (3 years ago) Permalink

The NME certainly laid claim to generalism in the 90s, "we cover what we consider to be good regardless of genre" was its line. And while they did cover most things they were still heavily weighted towards indie.

Matt DC, Thursday, 6 January 2011 10:45 (3 years ago) Permalink

The NME exists to make money, so it's whatever kind of publications the editors think will do that.

Madchen, Thursday, 6 January 2011 12:36 (3 years ago) Permalink

Editors/owners, I mean.

Madchen, Thursday, 6 January 2011 12:36 (3 years ago) Permalink

Reinvention as a softcore porn and gadgets weekly coming up in 2 weeks then

Shanty! Shanti! Shanté! (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 6 January 2011 12:37 (3 years ago) Permalink

Don't be stupid. No one pays for porn any more.

Matt DC, Thursday, 6 January 2011 12:47 (3 years ago) Permalink

haha ot but I love how geir's example of extreme stereo "separatation" is Ocean Colour Scene. never change, man

missingNO, Thursday, 6 January 2011 13:48 (3 years ago) Permalink

Geir discovers audiophilia is sure to be a goldmine in the future.

Matt DC, Thursday, 6 January 2011 13:55 (3 years ago) Permalink

When I started reading NME in the very early 90s they insisted they were a pop magazine (and in one of those bands review songs things Thom Yorke claimed Radiohead were a pop band).
They definitely liked to give the impression that they were a general music magazine not just indie.

Shakey Moe Szyslak (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 6 January 2011 14:19 (3 years ago) Permalink

Did NME cover a lot of hip-hop in the late 80s?

Shakey Moe Szyslak (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 6 January 2011 17:37 (3 years ago) Permalink

Rap makes the front cover, 1988

onimo, Thursday, 6 January 2011 18:07 (3 years ago) Permalink

I think the Beasties made the cover a couple of times in the 80s, maybe Public Enemy (I remember them on cover of Melody Maker, not sure about NME). Then not much else until Wu-Tang about 5 years later.

They always had a couple of non indie record reviews and the occasional feature but it was never really a as broad a publication as it professed to be imo (I read MM and NME from around 84-90).

onimo, Thursday, 6 January 2011 18:14 (3 years ago) Permalink

NME May 30 1981.

Madchen, Thursday, 6 January 2011 18:33 (3 years ago) Permalink

Stevie T, Thursday, 6 January 2011 18:35 (3 years ago) Permalink

'Hip-hop' covers, 85-90 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_NME_covers. Definitely was a change in coverage around 89/90 and by 92 it was pretty much entirely indie.

* 09/03/85 Run-D.M.C.
* 15/03/86 Mantronix
* 19/07/86 Run-D.M.C.
* 13/09/86 The Yo Boys (article about hip hop by Paolo Hewitt)
* 27/09/86 Trouble Funk
* 17/01/87 Beastie Boys
* 04/04/87 Salt-n-Pepa
* 09/05/87 Def Jam
* 27/06/87 Trouble Funk
* 10/10/87 Chuck D and Eric B
* 23/01/88 Sweet Tee
* 07/05/88 Derek B
* 08/10/88 Public Enemy
* 24/06/89 Tone Loc
* 21/10/89 De La Soul
* 03/11/90 Public Enemy

State Attorney Foxhart Cubycheck (Billy Dods), Thursday, 6 January 2011 18:41 (3 years ago) Permalink

Mid-80s there was plenty of non-indie, because it had a big soul boy contingent - Cosgrove, Simon Witter, Danny Kelly, Don Watson (I think) - who also wanted to get plenty of hip-hop in. There wasn't all that much hip-hop in the actual mag, but there wasn't all that much hip-hop around and accessible in the UK in those days. They went big on acid house, with writers like Jack Barron and Helen Mead, but once that phase passed, the indie supremacy - which had been coming through from the rise of the Smiths, and expanded with C86 - was all but complete.

Certainly, as an indie teenager reading NME in the mid-80s, I used to get up with issues where there were no features, or just small ones, on indie guitar bands (even if they dominated the reviews). Those issues weren't infrequent.

Alan Partridge Project (ithappens), Thursday, 6 January 2011 18:45 (3 years ago) Permalink

"get fed up" not "get up"

Alan Partridge Project (ithappens), Thursday, 6 January 2011 18:46 (3 years ago) Permalink

There was also a notable jazz/avant clique at the time (Richard Cook/Biba Kopf/Don Watson/Mr Sinker late of this parish) who mostly decamped to the Wire later, this was ditched even faster than the coverage of hip-hop/r&b.

State Attorney Foxhart Cubycheck (Billy Dods), Thursday, 6 January 2011 18:59 (3 years ago) Permalink

Mind you, UK indie was largely nonexistant in the late 80s/early 90s. OK, so it existed, but it was very much underground and would only occasionally produce a chart hit. The indie charts, by the late 80s, were dominated by the likes of Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan, who were both on the independent PWL label.

You're Twistin' My Melody Man! (Geir Hongro), Thursday, 6 January 2011 20:51 (3 years ago) Permalink

Mind you, UK indie was largely nonexistant in the late 80s/early 90s.

lol

henri grenouille (Frogman Henry), Thursday, 6 January 2011 21:02 (3 years ago) Permalink

Mind you, funk was largely nonexistant in the late 60s/early 70s

henri grenouille (Frogman Henry), Thursday, 6 January 2011 21:03 (3 years ago) Permalink

Pitchfork is about as generalist as a generalist music magazine can get btw

Pardon me while I laugh till I spit up a lung.

that's not funny. (unperson), Thursday, 6 January 2011 21:04 (3 years ago) Permalink

Mind you, UK indie was largely nonexistant in the late 80s/early 90s. OK, so it existed, but it was very much underground

I think you might be forgetting the Stone Roses, the Charlatans, Primal Scream, Ride, My Bloody Valentine...

O Permaban (NickB), Thursday, 6 January 2011 21:06 (3 years ago) Permalink

xpost Geir, who knows where to start with that statement? First, indie really started hitting the charts properly from 1988/89, which was when the majors really started looking to sign previously indie bands, or band who sounded indie, on a widespread basis. Second, the NME wasn't a chart publication. It didn't matter if the bands it covered weren't in the charts. That what Smash Hits was for.

Alan Partridge Project (ithappens), Thursday, 6 January 2011 21:15 (3 years ago) Permalink

Yes, but they were still not as huge as the new wave bands were in the late 70s/early 80s or the Britpop bands would be in the mid 90s. Even Stone Roses or The Smiths never had anything close to a number one single. The Smiths didn't even hit top 10 with any of their singles.

You're Twistin' My Melody Man! (Geir Hongro), Thursday, 6 January 2011 21:15 (3 years ago) Permalink

Even Stone Roses or The Smiths never had anything close to a number one single

True, 'One Love' only got to number 2.

O Permaban (NickB), Thursday, 6 January 2011 21:18 (3 years ago) Permalink

Whoops no, I'm thinking of 'Love Spreads'. 'One Love' got to number four.

O Permaban (NickB), Thursday, 6 January 2011 21:19 (3 years ago) Permalink

Also the Smiths had two number one albums and five number two's in the UK.

O Permaban (NickB), Thursday, 6 January 2011 21:24 (3 years ago) Permalink

Geir, you didn't say "Indie bands weren't reaching No 1 in the singles charts". You said "UK indie was largely nonexistent." And that's rubbish. The edition of Top of the Pops in November 1989 which featured the Stone Roses and the Happy Mondays was one of the defining moments for UK indie - the point at which indie bands had finally seemed to make it among all the Michael Bolton and Richrd Marx.

Alan Partridge Project (ithappens), Thursday, 6 January 2011 21:24 (3 years ago) Permalink

thanks for the link Billy Dods - 16 hip-hop covers in 6 years really isn't a lot is it (especially considering those were peak years for NWA & Public Enemy)? They had 5 Jesus and Mary Chain covers in the same period.

Just did a ctrl-f "oasis" and got 55 hits on that page.

onimo, Thursday, 6 January 2011 21:25 (3 years ago) Permalink

The Smiths didn't even hit top 10 with any of their singles.

Three top ten ten singles, toots:

10 Smiths Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now Jun 1984
10 Smiths Sheila Take A Bow Apr 1987
8 Smiths This Charming Man (re-issue) Aug 1992

O Permaban (NickB), Thursday, 6 January 2011 21:29 (3 years ago) Permalink

70s/early 80s new wave number one's:
The Boomtown Rats: Rat Trap
Ian Dury: Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick
The Boomtown Rats: I Don't Like Mondays
The Police: Message In a Bottle
The Police: Walking On The Moon
The Specials: The Special AKA Live
The Jam: Going Underground/Dreams Of Children
The Jam: Start
The Police: Don't Stand So Close To Me
The Specials: Ghost Town
The Police: Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
The Jam: A Town Called Malice
Madness: House Of Fun
The Jam: Beat Surrender
The Police: Every Breath You Take

Then, unless you count Housemartins, The Beautiful South and a novelty one-off from Vic Reeves and The Wonderstuff (and even the last couple from The Police are arguable), it would take twelve years until the next number one that might pass as indie, starting another rush of indie #1s in the 90s and 00s:

Oasis: Some Might Say
Blur: Country House
Oasis: Don't Look Back In Anger
Blur: Beetlebum
Oasis: D'You Know What I Mean
The Verve: The Drugs Don't Work
Oasis: All Around The World
Manic Street Preachers: If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next
Manic Street Preachers: The Masses Against The Classes
Oasis: Go Let It Out

The point being: Indie type music was not close to as commercially huge in the UK in the late 80s/early 90s as it was in the new wave era or during the Britpop era.

You're Twistin' My Melody Man! (Geir Hongro), Thursday, 6 January 2011 21:31 (3 years ago) Permalink

The list of hip-hop covers is a bit misleading, cos it suggests every other cover was indie. Look instead at how few covers were indie during 1986, the year indie became associated with jangling guitars and the highwatermark year of the definitive NME indie band, the Smiths:

* 04/01/86 The Cramps
* 11/01/86 Andy Warhol and Debbie Harry
* 18/01/86 Billy Bragg and Junior (Red Wedge issue)
* 25/01/86 Easterhouse
* 01/02/86 Punk - Ten Years On
* 08/02/86 John Lydon
* 15/02/86 Big Audio Dynamite
* 22/02/86 Keith Richards
* 01/03/86 Comics
* 08/03/86 Sigue Sigue Sputnik
* 15/03/86 Mantronix
* 22/03/86 Absolute Beginners
* 29/03/86 The Shop Assistants
* 05/04/86 Hipsway
* 12/04/86 Samantha Fox
* 19/04/86 Test Dept
* 26/04/86 Prince (blurred image)
* 03/05/86 Sade
* 10/05/86 Barry McGuigan
* 17/05/86 Boy George
* 24/05/86 Janet Jackson
* 31/05/86 The Mighty Lemon Drops
* 07/06/86 Morrissey
* 14/06/86 Why British black music has no chance - polemical piece by Paolo Hewitt
* 21/06/86 Sonic Youth
* 28/06/86 George Michael
* 05/07/86 The Jesus and Mary Chain
* 12/07/86 Matt Johnson of The The
* 19/07/86 Run-D.M.C.
* 26/07/86 Zodiac Mindwarp
* 02/08/86 Jam and Lewis
* 09/08/86 Chicago house
* 16/08/86 Mick Hucknall of Simply Red
* 23/08/86 David Sylvian
* 30/08/86 Daley Thompson
* 06/09/86 Dwight Yoakam
* 13/09/86 The Yo Boys (article about hip hop by Paolo Hewitt)
* 20/09/86 Sex (themed issue), also a free EP - Phil Oakey of The Human League
* 27/09/86 Trouble Funk
* 04/10/86 Blackie Lawless of W.A.S.P.
* 11/10/86 Big Audio Dynamite
* 18/10/86 Courtney Pine
* 25/10/86 Voting (themed issue)
* 01/11/86 Shinehead
* 08/11/86 Youth suicide (almost all-black cover, later voted the worst cover in its history by the NME itself)
* 15/11/86 Cilla Black
* 22/11/86 Swing Out Sister
* 29/11/86 Sly and Robbie
* 06/12/86 Elvis Presley (though the cover story in this issue, written by Stuart Cosgrove, was actually a criticism of the US military presence in Britain using Presley's image as symbolic, not an article about Presley himself)
* 13/12/86 Madonna
* 20/12/86 Pet Shop Boys

Alan Partridge Project (ithappens), Thursday, 6 January 2011 21:31 (3 years ago) Permalink

"One Love" is the biggest here, as re-released Smiths singles and Stone Roses' comeback singles from a time when indie was starting to become more commercially popular again doesn't really count. The Smiths didn't become really huge as a singles act until the bad had long since broken up and bands like Suede caused new generations to become interested in their influences.

You're Twistin' My Melody Man! (Geir Hongro), Thursday, 6 January 2011 21:32 (3 years ago) Permalink

X-Post: They certainly got a lot of shit from their readers after that Sam Fox cover though. :)

You're Twistin' My Melody Man! (Geir Hongro), Thursday, 6 January 2011 21:33 (3 years ago) Permalink

Geir. none of those "new wave" No 1s can be compared to the indie bands of the mid 80s. You've got a mod band, a pub rocker, some R&B chancers from Dublin who got on the back of punk, a ska band and a corporate behemoth of a band. It's like listing a load of apples and then saying orange trees didn't produce any apples like that.

Alan Partridge Project (ithappens), Thursday, 6 January 2011 21:34 (3 years ago) Permalink

Btw. upthread I am using a rather narrow definition of new wave. Using the US definition would mean most early 80s number ones were new wave, but it would also make it meaningless to see new wave as a forerunner of indie.

You're Twistin' My Melody Man! (Geir Hongro), Thursday, 6 January 2011 21:35 (3 years ago) Permalink

Those were all bands that became popular on the back of punk, which is surely where "indie" started.

You're Twistin' My Melody Man! (Geir Hongro), Thursday, 6 January 2011 21:36 (3 years ago) Permalink

Yes, cos the Police were definitely forerunners of the Mary Chain, eh?

And every Smiths single from This Charming Man went into the proper charts Geir, with repeated Top of the Pops appearances.

Alan Partridge Project (ithappens), Thursday, 6 January 2011 21:36 (3 years ago) Permalink

Early Police was definitely rather punky. It is disputable whether "Every Breath You Take" is, but that would just make the gap even larger.

You're Twistin' My Melody Man! (Geir Hongro), Thursday, 6 January 2011 21:39 (3 years ago) Permalink

And, yes, they went into the charts, but they never managed to compete with the likes of Wham!, Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Pet Shop Boys.

The Jam, Oasis, Blur and even Arctic Monkeys were all among the most popular bands in the UK based upon singles charts dominance. The Smiths were never close to that.

You're Twistin' My Melody Man! (Geir Hongro), Thursday, 6 January 2011 21:41 (3 years ago) Permalink

I'm willing to bet that the Smiths have sold a shit-ton more singles than the Arctic Monkeys.

O Permaban (NickB), Thursday, 6 January 2011 21:44 (3 years ago) Permalink

Geir, you weren't talking about charts you said this

Mind you, UK indie was largely nonexistant in the late 80s/early 90s. OK, so it existed, but it was very much underground

And because you were proved wrong you have tried to move the goalposts.

Shakey Moe Szyslak (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 6 January 2011 21:51 (3 years ago) Permalink

Geir will never ever admit he's wrong, surely you all know this by now?

Matt DC, Thursday, 6 January 2011 21:54 (3 years ago) Permalink

The list of hip-hop covers is a bit misleading, cos it suggests every other cover was indie. Look instead at how few covers were indie during 1986, the year indie became associated with jangling guitars and the highwatermark year of the definitive NME indie band, the Smiths:

Also here's the NME's Top 20 albums from the same year, a fairly varied list:

1. Parade - Prince & The Revolution
2. Rapture - Anita Baker
3. Control - Janet Jackson
4. Evol - Sonic Youth
5. Word Up - Cameo
6. Graceland - Paul Simon
7. Bend Sinister - The Fall
8. Rasin' Hell - Run-DMC
9. The Queen Is Dead - The Smiths
10. The Album - Mantronix
11. Nelson Mandela - Youssou N'dour
12. Life's Rich Pageant - R.E.M.
13. Blood And Chocolate - Elvis Costello
14. King Of America - Elvis Costello
15. Your Funeral... My Trial - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
16. Schoolly D - Schoolly D
17. Rough & Rugged - Shinehead
18. Tutu - Miles Davis
19. Say What! - Trouble Funk
20. Liberty Belle & The Black Diamond Express - The Go-Betweens

I mean I only started reading the NME in 1995 when it was pretty much regarded as an indie magazine by everyone I knew but I realised this can't always have been the case (most obviously because it'd been around far longer than indie music had).

Gavin in Leeds, Thursday, 6 January 2011 21:57 (3 years ago) Permalink

I think cover artists are important in identifying who they were trying to sell to (see 55 x Oasis and more than 20 x Stone Roses even years after they split).

onimo, Thursday, 6 January 2011 22:00 (3 years ago) Permalink

That's true. But through the mid-80s they were trying to sell an awful lot more than just indie. That list of 86 covers has only five by acts of the kind codified as "indie music"- Easterhouse, Lemon Drops, Morrissey, Mary Chain, Shop Assistants. You could add to that Test Dept, Sonic Youth, the Cramps and Billy Bragg - but that's still less than a fifth of the year's covers, which is astounding by the standards of the past 20 years.

Alan Partridge Project (ithappens), Thursday, 6 January 2011 22:05 (3 years ago) Permalink

NME's top albums of the 80s pretty much ignores 1986 - much more of an indie/post-punk slant.

1. The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses ‘89
2. The Queen Is Dead - The Smiths ‘85
3. Three Feet High And Rising - De La Soul ‘89
4. Sign ‘O’ The Times - Prince ‘87
5. It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back - Public Enemy ‘88
6. Psychocandy - Jesus And Mary Chain ‘85
7. Hatful Of Hollow - The Smiths ‘84
8. Closer - Joy Division ‘80
9. Sound Affects - The Jam ‘80
10. Low-Life - New Order ‘85
11. Remain In Light - Talking Heads ‘80
12. Searching For The Young Soul Rebels - Dexy’s Midnight Runners ‘80
13. Bummed - Happy Mondays ‘89
14. Surfer Rosa - Pixies ‘88
15. The Lexicon Of Love - ABC ‘82
16. Swordfishtrombones - Tom Waits ‘83
17. Kilimanjaro - The Teardrop Explodes ‘80
18. Dare - The Human League ‘81
19. Parade - Prince ‘86
20. 16 Lovers Lane - The Go-Betweens ‘88
21. Rain Dogs - Tom Waits ‘85
22. This Nation’s Saving Grace - The Fall ‘85
23. Rum, Sodomy And The Lash - The Pogues ‘85
24. The Smiths - The Smiths ‘84
25. Blood & Chocolate - Elvis Costello ‘86
26. Don’t Stand Me Down - Dexy’s Midnight Runners ‘85
27. The Eight Legged Groove Machine - The Wonder Stuff ‘88
28. Crocodiles - Echo And The Bunnymen ‘80
29. Nebraska - Bruce Springsteen ‘82
30. The Nightfly - Donald Fagen ‘82
31. Talking With The Taxman About Poetry - Billy Bragg ‘86
32. Miss America - Mary Margaret O’Hara ‘88
33. Rattlesnakes - Lloyd Cole & The Commotions ‘84
34. George Best - The Wedding Present ‘87
35. Atomiser - Big Black ‘87
36. My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts - David Byrne & Brian Eno ‘81
37. Sister - Sonic Youth ‘87
38. Straight Out Of The Jungle - The Jungle Brothers ‘88
39. Heaven Up Here - Echo And The Bunnymen ‘81
40. Green - REM ‘88
41. Imperial Bedroom - Elvis Costello ‘82
42. You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever - Orange Juice ‘82
43. Midnight Love - Marvin Gaye ‘82
44. Like A Prayer - Madonna ‘89
45. Beautiful Vision - Van Morrison ‘82
46. Infected - The The ‘86
47. Meat Is Murder - The Smiths ‘85
48. New York - Lou Reed ‘89
49. Yo! Bum Rush The Show - Public Enemy ‘87
50. Warehouse: Songs And Stories - Husker Du ‘87

from http://www.rocklistmusic.co.uk/607080.html

onimo, Thursday, 6 January 2011 22:07 (3 years ago) Permalink


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