Ten Reasons I Subscribe To SPIN Magazine

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
#1 through #10: I'm a charter subscriber and for some reason I can't let go.

This thing is getting worse and worse.

This month, which continues a cold streak that began about a year ago, is so vapid and lifeless I can barely take it. I mean, I like Klosterman and all but he wrote most of the copy this month--there's his column, there's his book excerpt, there's his byline on other stuff...wow, must be desperate times for editorial over there. Aren't there any snarky people left in New York to write about music? Oh, and to top it off, there's some more quality space devoted to a fashion layout again. Is there any soul left to this rag or did they sell it all to the devil?

Someone give me some honest reasons why I should NOT let my subscription lapse this year.

dandy don weiner, Thursday, 31 July 2003 00:10 (nineteen years ago) link

Considering you could spend money on Punk Planet, the Big Takeover, or any number of other mags, I can't think of a good reason. Perhaps the promise of a revealing interview with Hoobastank?

ham on rye (ham on rye), Thursday, 31 July 2003 00:15 (nineteen years ago) link

they've been doing that fashion layout crap for well over a decade, so I can't see how that's news.

I let my subscription lapse back in 02, and ending up buying every third or so issue. Sorting through all the old stuff revealed that the new stuff isn't particularly worse but it's not particularly better either. It's just the most snooty of the major music mags, and the one most likely to have really awkwardly staged photos of blue collar people. I think Klosterman is a great addition, at least interview-wise. I can't tell if he's asking stupid questions because he KNOWS he (and therefore us) will be taken to school by a smart interviewee but either way the bluntness leads to a much more memorable piece. The recent Liz Phair one was great.

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Thursday, 31 July 2003 00:20 (nineteen years ago) link

I'm letting my sub. to Spin lapse and going with Blender. The occasional good piece by Klosterman aside (some of his stuff in the list issue -- the worse issue of Spin ever? -- was pretty weak) it's worthless.

Mark (MarkR), Thursday, 31 July 2003 00:34 (nineteen years ago) link

I think Klosterman's non-Q&A pieces can be pretty hit or miss. That column of his definitely feels uninspired.

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Thursday, 31 July 2003 00:35 (nineteen years ago) link

Even if I didn't write for it I'd say Blender is better. Though, honestly, if I wasn't writing for it I might have never read it.

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Thursday, 31 July 2003 00:36 (nineteen years ago) link

Ham--I've subscribed (and written for) the Big Takeover for a decade. I find Punk Planet to be hit and miss, but usually worth it. I don't subscribe to it.

Anthony my boy, I'm a charter subscriber. That means I've been around since 1985 or whenever it was. I've read it the whole time, too. So, I realize that their fashion issue is not news. Klosterman's been around the SPIN staff for a long time, too. And has always been good...although I agree with you that his stuff lately has felt forced. I don't think he's ready for a column yet. He's better on spot.

Ultimately Blender is winning the war (and yes I subscribe to that one too) because it just feels so much more honest about everything. Honestly sophomoric and lightweight, yes. But SPIN just seems to be completely spiraling out of control, and it's apparent that no one at the magazine has any idea what that book is about.

I am a creature of habit, however, and after nearly giving up on SPIN many times in the past decade, I am hestitant to pull the plug. Isn't there anyone around here who likes it? Maybe I need to be trolling the Hoobastank boards or something.

don weiner, Thursday, 31 July 2003 01:15 (nineteen years ago) link

Well, Klosterman IS Spin right now, or has been for a while, pretty much, which is why I even bother to read it, but uh...yeah, unsubscribe. That mag's awful. GO!

Francis Watlington (Francis Watlington), Thursday, 31 July 2003 03:31 (nineteen years ago) link

My aunt's idea of a kickass xmas gift is the same subscription to the same magazine for going on ten years, so, yeah, I'm a Spin subscriber.

I actually enjoy some of the writing in Spin, tho I admit there have been more than a few months where it's sat aside the toilet unread.

Take this month, for example - The White Stripes on the cover - how cutting edge!! Good to know Spin's got the jump on everyone else - maybe the White Stripes will finally get the exposure they so desperately need.

You want journalism? Read the Wire. You want authenticity? Read HeartattaCk. You want something to read while you're waiting for that Bounty Killer track to download? Spin's as good as anything else. Beats the instructions on the back of the printer cartridge.

roger adultery, Thursday, 31 July 2003 04:36 (nineteen years ago) link

HAHA! Roger, I'm buying you a cyber drink!

Francis Watlington (Francis Watlington), Thursday, 31 July 2003 04:55 (nineteen years ago) link

I do enjoy some of the writing in SPIN, if not many of the writers as a while. I still think their reviews are top shelf on the whole. It's just the rest of the mag that is sagging badly.

I just can't stand the flaccid direction it's been in for a long, long time. This year in particular has seemed a focused attempt to suck. It's forumlatic--there's some sort of celebrated "list" every month now (which as a feature idea is sooooo 1990s) and they're nicking editorial ideas from Blender. There appears to be a trend towards "oral history" type of spreads, which I like a lot, but they are very long and the magazine industry as a whole is trending away from that. Which means SPIN will trend away from that, too.

There used to be a distinct personality to SPIN that went beyond merely being "the alternative to Rolling Stone." But that personality is gone.

don weiner, Thursday, 31 July 2003 12:18 (nineteen years ago) link

It's definitely not a consistently great mag from issue to issue, but I am addicted to those oral histories they do ever so often. The Jane's Addiction feature was amazing, in my opinion. I actually found out of a bunch of new info on a band that I thought I knew everything about.

I also love Klosterman.

Matt Helgeson (Matt Helgeson), Thursday, 31 July 2003 16:29 (nineteen years ago) link

The Jane's piece was great (probably because it was oral history stylee and not written by some schmuck hack). Klosterman's piece this month on Scott Weilland's abysmal bad luck is great too.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 31 July 2003 16:58 (nineteen years ago) link

I used to love Spin. It was a completely formative influence on my tastes and general thought processes from about 1993 to 1998. The writing used to be excellent. The features were long and thoughtful, and they weren't afraid to call artists out on bullshit. The first issue I ever bought (I was 13, I think) had motherfucking bell hooks interviewing Ice Cube, which about blew my mind. I despaired when it went to the smaller size, but I stuck with it. But lately, oh my god. Every other issue seems to be another list or cannon (the 50 greatest whatever genre albums), and something like half their cover stars aren't even interviewed. The letter-graded review system is terrible, and virtually everything gets something between A- and B. And Klosterman can be an amusing writer (I liked Fargo Rock City), but he is not the man to be dominating a forward-thinking music magazine (an 8 to Audioslave? The fuck?).

Tom Breihan (Tom Breihan), Thursday, 31 July 2003 17:05 (nineteen years ago) link

"The letter-graded review system is terrible, and virtually everything gets something between A- and B."

I was just about to mention this! I was a big fan (the only?) of the old "1-to-10" scale, and was appalled when they changed it.

Charles McCain (Charles McCain), Thursday, 31 July 2003 17:12 (nineteen years ago) link

I'll second-third-fourth the approval of oral histories. Before I read that thing, I didn't give two craps about Jane's Addiction. Now I give two craps (which probably equals I'll listen to it if somebody's got it).

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Thursday, 31 July 2003 18:14 (nineteen years ago) link

SPIN isn't what it once was, but it still has a couple worthy reads each issue. I haven't paid for my subscription this year, but they keep sending it...WTF?

I actually DO love the last-page cartoons-based-on-stories-by-musos thing though. Those are killer diller!

nickalicious (nickalicious), Thursday, 31 July 2003 18:20 (nineteen years ago) link

I didn't read the jane's addiction oral history, but I remember liking the beasties one a few years back. didn't details (waaaay back in the day, under john leland maybe) do an oral history of a scene/happening/whatevah every month? anyhow spin's problems now (besides their actual problem - not enough good writers) is they're chasing too many chickens at once - blender, rolling stone, the would-be spin's nipping at their heels (magnet, alternative press), the mtv2 viewership, tne alt-rock radio listenership, their own ghosts, the next thing - and not coming close to catching any. even rolling stone seems surer of what it is and wants to be (the mtv cousin to us weekly's e), spin's floundering in search of a tone and a reason to be. even the good ideas they have (the last page tour stories cartoon) somehow aren't as executed as well as they could be.

nnnh oh oh nnnh nnnh oh (James Blount), Thursday, 31 July 2003 18:24 (nineteen years ago) link

Reading a decade of SPIN in the last month has told me SPIN is always what it was (except after Greer and Blackwell left there were more big words in it - which isn't entirely a bad thing - and it's shinier now). I, the guy who started reading it when he was 13 and stopped subscribing around 23, was the one who probably changed the most.

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Thursday, 31 July 2003 18:30 (nineteen years ago) link

They have at least one great writer at their disposal: Charles Aaron. But they never fucking use the guy, and when they do, it reads like he's being kept on a very short leash. Why don't they let this guy take over the thing instead of Klosterman? Seems to me that if Aaron had the rains, they wouldn't have too much trouble finding a tone, except then maybe they'd have to put black people on the cover every once in a while.

Tom Breihan (Tom Breihan), Thursday, 31 July 2003 18:30 (nineteen years ago) link

I remember hirschorn (sic) talking about how he wanted to shift spin's focus toward more youth culture at large, more pop culture less pop music (they even had tad friend briefly). after he got canned it's always felt like it's been on a long term interim basis - under alan light it always felt like it was just trying to ride out the pop storm until alt-rock came back (80s spin woulda written about xtina, 90s spin just made fun of her makeup), under sia michel there's even less vision, unless you count hiring klosterman.

nnnh oh oh nnnh nnnh oh (James Blount), Thursday, 31 July 2003 18:32 (nineteen years ago) link

I don't know ant - I think of 80s spin - the legs mcneil stuff, the focus on 'underground' music (I think that was the name of the column) that rolling stone wasn't even mentioning in passing, the focus on obvious music (debbie gibson features) that rolling stone wouldn't touch. alot of it's passage of time (ie I'm not 13 anymore but also nowadays every national music mag - and there's more now - is writing about hip-hop, dance music, etc.)(rolling stone in the 80s was still all about boomers - I remember being sooo happy the times a non-60s artist actually made the cover), plus the internet makes alot of what made spin great to me when I was 13 (ie where else was I gonna read about gg allin, see a rock critic acknowledge salt n pepa's greatness, see a byron coley byline period) irrelevant now - I guarantee you there are 13 year olds out there reading simon reynold's blog or phillip sherburne's column or the voice music section. in 1985 rolling stone puts madonna on the cover cuz she's really famous, spin puts her on the cover cuz they 'get' her; nowadays everyone gets madonna.

nnnh oh oh nnnh nnnh oh (James Blount), Thursday, 31 July 2003 18:41 (nineteen years ago) link

seven years pass...

For those interested, you can subscribe for just $5 for a year:


NYCNative, Tuesday, 1 March 2011 23:26 (eleven years ago) link

reading Spin is so depressing ...

David Allah Coal (sexyDancer), Tuesday, 1 March 2011 23:30 (eleven years ago) link

it's like ad, ad, ad, article, tiny reviews, tiny reviews, collage of tiny pictures, ad, ad, fin.

kelpolaris, Tuesday, 1 March 2011 23:50 (eleven years ago) link

but i might actually just take that sub up. i'm still fond of the ~print medium~ no matter how absolutely out of fucking touch spin is when it insists that it's still culturally relevant

kelpolaris, Tuesday, 1 March 2011 23:51 (eleven years ago) link

spin releasing all their back issues on google for free was great.

Mr. Snrub, Wednesday, 2 March 2011 02:26 (eleven years ago) link

i had a Spin subscription for about a year that must've ran out a couple months ago because it didn't occur to me until i clicked on this thread that i haven't gotten a new issue in a while. i should re-subscribe, i was enjoying it!

some dude, Wednesday, 2 March 2011 02:54 (eleven years ago) link


kelpolaris, Wednesday, 2 March 2011 04:38 (eleven years ago) link

Its not as awful as everyone wants to make it out to be. I like it because sometimes it gathers up the stuff that falls in the gap between "too indie for Rolling Stone" but "too mainstream for Pitchfork". Some of the features are worth reading too.

rendezvous then i'm through with HOOS (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Wednesday, 2 March 2011 04:47 (eleven years ago) link

yeah pretty much every recent issue i've gotten has at least one or two really worthwhile features. good lengthy profiles with bigger acts are still one thing the mags do best that the internet hasn't totally supplanted.

some dude, Wednesday, 2 March 2011 04:50 (eleven years ago) link

^agree w/ both. but on the back-issue thing, it infuriates me that the magazine has condensed into so little... pages would go on into the 200's in the late 90's, issues today are nary close to 76. I mean, obv. I realize the impact internet has made upon magazine. But it hasn't stopped Wired. Hasn't stopped the Economist. I would hope that Spin follows their leads by being the source for big, long features that one wouldn't have the tolerance for scrolling again and again online.

But, it's like, I read the magazine and there's the celebrity playlist, and then theres a 4 pages consisting of only a blown-up picture, and then a "whats in your room" profile. i mean, come on. bands come and go so fast in this ~modern era~ that the notion of celebrity - do i care what, for ex, james blake has next to his bed?? - is one i care little for in the musical realm.

kelpolaris, Wednesday, 2 March 2011 07:06 (eleven years ago) link

the "what's in your room" thing is cool imo, thurston moore and ozzy osbourne have a lot of interesting random stuff around their houses!

some dude, Wednesday, 2 March 2011 12:23 (eleven years ago) link

ha i guess those would be p interesting. but the last issue i got featured rilo kiley & her boyfriend's room... who were so utterly hop and boring i wanted to cry.

kelpolaris, Wednesday, 2 March 2011 13:13 (eleven years ago) link

yeah it definitely is someone boring like that about half the time

some dude, Wednesday, 2 March 2011 14:03 (eleven years ago) link

one year passes...

i got my first issue yesterday! exciting. not sure if azaelia banks was born when my last sub to spin ran out.

tylerw, Wednesday, 15 August 2012 17:29 (ten years ago) link

nine years pass...

You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.