Friday, January 15, 2010

What the pop papers say: A looking ahead

This week's NME runs a few letters which would suggest that most people thought an issue totally dedicated to re-running old Oasis interviews was the best thing that ever happened, rather than a low point in the magazine's recent history. There are a couple of dissenting voices, but they're batted away with a suggestion that because the Christmas issue trailed the Oasis special, and it said "collector's special" on the front, you can't really complain.

"I told you I was going to shit on your face, so what are you complaining about?"

To be fair, this week's edition - the 2010 album preview - is much closer to the sort of magazine you'd hope for from the NME. Even if the cover is rotten, there's a nice mix of chunky, interesting mini-interviews with people you might have forgotten totally existed (Kate Nash) and not too much about people you're sick of (although Liam Gallagher is still given a platform - presumably so they've got something to cut and paste into the next "collector's special".)

NME is stuttering at the moment - there's bits and pieces which hint at the possibility of a title reinventing itself as something engaging and valuable, but it feels like there's too much of the sort of stuff that's been clogging the arteries of the paper for years being allowed to remain, and too much by-numbers material. Literally by numbers, because they do love a list.

Decline is not inevitable, then, but at the moment they're trying to relight a fire with wet matches in a strong wind.