Five Star Music

I’ve been a reader of Paste Magazine for several years, and a subscriber for a few months.  It’s a great magazine and I have a lot of respect for it.  I do, however have a couple of criticisms and as a subscriber, I feel it’s my right to voice those criticisms. 

Fiona Apple is Easy On The Eyes

My first criticism deals with the advertisements.  I’m not against the ads, I know that it’s how they make their money…other than the $7.95 newstand price.  I think there are several ads per issue that catch my eye not because they’re good or because they’re annoying, but because they are terrible.  I personally know several non-professionals who could produce a better ad for a CD than some of these ads.  The ads definately don’t make me want to even think about listening to the artist’s music.  I fault the magazine for settling for crappy ads.  They could probably do a great job in house producing the ads rather than getting them from the musician who probably made it in a Kinkos using Word.

The second criticism is in their criticism.  I’m assuming that their highest review of a CD would be 5 stars.  I assume this because I’ve seen a handful of albums reviewed as 4.5 stars.  I just spent a few minutes going through 5 issues and couldn’t find a single 5 star review.  So because there is no indication of a top review, I’m left to ask is 4 stars the highest and a 4.5 is their way of saying it’s more than amazing, or have no 5 star albums been released in 2006?

Like I said before I think Paste is a great magazine, so to even out my criticism, I offer great things about Paste.

1.  A great CD sampler with every issue with 20 or so songs from all sorts of musicians.

2.  Did I say they’re monthly now?

3.  The have tons of free songs on their website for subscribers, and lots in their store section for non-subscribers.  You might be asking what the difference between tons and lots is…

4.  They include a DVD every couple of issues with some great short films and music videos.

5.  The Paste Culture Club podcast is one of my favorites.

Join the Conversation


  1. That’s hilarious. Last year we were slammed for having too many five-star reviews. (Coldplay, Sufjan, etc.) Five stars indicates an album for the ages (think Sgt. Pepper’s, Blonde on Blonde, Doolittle, etc.) which may explain the reluctance to award it.

    As for the ads… hmm, never heard THAT one before! I’m an editor, and usually don’t even see all the ads until we actually get printed copies. (i.e. they tend to all fly in at the very last second.)

    Feel free, though, to send emails to our advertisers urging them to utilitize the services of MetaLeap Design (, the fine creative services firm that designs and lays out Paste each month.

  2. Thanks for the feedback about the stars and for stopping by, Reid. I don’t know much, but I think reserving 5 star reviews for titles that could live up to the few that you mentioned is selling today’s music short. Last year did produce some great albums though, so I don’t fault you for being generous. No one should get that upset that you rated great albums great…I’m pretty sure Sufjan or Tweedy or maybe even Chris Martin would tell you they don’t compare to Sgt. Pepper or Blonde on Blonde. Like I said, I’m a big fan of the magazine and the whole Paste experience.

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