Paste has become a terrible magazine

Over my 3 year subscription to Paste Magazine, this year I’ve watched it fall from its status of an enlightened Entertainment Weekly  to becoming as vapid as Entertainment Weekly, but without the topicality or access. They also now take about 8 minutes to read cover-to-cover.

First, there was the layout change. If used to be staid, at least it made sense. Now it looks like the half-assed product of a coked-up student-run high school newspaper that hasn’t yet learned exactly to use its new layout program.

Second, there’s what they said about Cormac McCarthy.

Nihilism is now so universally confused with profundity that even the serious literary establishment can’t see that Cormac McCarthy is really just Stephen King without the entertainment value.

What!?! This is more wrongheaded than calling Marcel Proust just a scribomanic shut-in or Moby Dick just an unfocused travelogue.

And now, its annual top 25 list. Strike 3, I’m done.

My Mourning Jacket’s Evil Urges at 16? Of Montreal’s Skeletal Lamping at 12! Hold Steady’s Stay Positive at 11!?! Okkervil River’s The Stand Ins at 5???

These are all great bands and decent albums, but these are not their best efforts. And compared to best efforts that don’t even rank (Frightened Rabbit! The Kills! Thao! King Kahn! Wolf Parade! The Ruby Suns! Vivian Girls! Lambchop! Black Mountain! The Dodos! Mount Eerie!) makes it all the more apparent the Paste staff got lazy and gave out some easy passes to these typical end-of-the-year listmakers.

And Girl Talk at 7!!! Is some kind of statement? Do these people even like music?

Even though I hate it, I’m expecting high rankings for the Jar Jar Binks of Indie Rock. So no surprise they show up at 3. Whatever.

Then, She and Him…the album of the year?!!? Sure, it’s easily likeable, so maybe it was easy to build consensus. But they’re the Alan Thicke of Indie Rock: blandly handsome. Try not getting bored after 4 spins. Compare with Bon Iver (#4) or Deerhunter (#10) and it’s not even in the same league. And shouldn’t Zooey Deschanel pay for the The Happening?

Plus, the Reigning Sound may still put out an album this year. No accounting for that possibility whatsoever.

I throw up my hands, Paste. If I can still name my price for a subscription, I want all my exclamation points back.

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7 Comments

  1. Finally someone has exposed Cormac McCarthy for the sub-Kingian that he is.

    And why no R.E.M. on Paste’s list??

  2. […] really read Scripture. Mainly just Cormac McCarthy books these days. I think I read them better than that munch at Paste. Are you converting […]

  3. I’m sure “Accelerate” will receive sufficient tribute topping your list, just above the Bolt soundtrack and below “A Little Bit Longer”.

    Ohhhhhh…snap.

  4. What’s wrong with the Bolt soundtrack? Sure, it’s not the Twilight soundtrack, but it’s way better than Secret Life of Bees soundtrack.

  5. […] 24, 2008 · No Comments We couldn’t agree more with Eric Bescak’s assessment of how far Paste has fallen (though we might disagree with his verdict on some of the year’s top albums). Erin introduced […]

  6. Unfortunately the man is right. I especially hate the dumb cardboard ads inside. it makes it impossible to flip through. and could there be a worse way to put the CD in there. That also messes up the reading experience. even when you remove the cd you still can’t flip through successfully. There is so much crap to flip through that I need easier flipping! Please consider putting the CD in the back like any sensible person would do! and write about some decent music for a change

  7. […] earlier this year, In Ghost Colorshas been fungally growing on me and my freewheeling ladyfriend (gets no mention in Paste’s top 25, of course). But of course all the supercoolindiekids say it’s not as good as this album (oh, […]


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