Ostensibly a music magazine, Blender
is really more a somewhat music-based pop culture rag. You’ll get your
share of record reviews and interviews as they copy much of the
look/format of England’s far superior Q magazine, but there’s a distinctly American spazziness that makes this an unpredictable, light, and usually enjoyable read.

This issue’s strong points:

  • The Summer Guide is actually a pretty nifty way to get lots of smaller features on current artists, and aside from them asking the same stupid questions to each artist, it’s a surprisingly entertaining feature.
  • This is about as interesting as Linkin Park will ever get.

This issue’s weak points:

  • Absolutely asstastic cover story on Lavigne. Wow, she drinks and swears a lot, and the writer is intimidated by her. Oooooooo. Fascinating. She’s such a badass.
  • Rock Star Rehab feature is complete and utter filler. Rather than a wasteful crosssection, they should have covered one facility and built a story around it.
  • It’s a pretty filler-ific issue.

I’ll probably remove the "usually enjoyable" from the description of this mag going forward, if I review it anymore at all. It’s been on a slide for several issues now.

Overall: 4.5 out of 10

2. WEEKLY #938

their film reviews are hated by geeks. Yes, they follow trends
incessantly. And yes, music coverage is generally an afterthought. But
it’s surely the most fun weekly read out there, and they have
television on lock. Plus, they’ll surprise you every now and then with
a great piece on overlooked entertainment industry plebs like personal
assistants and bodyguards. When it’s on, it’s an incredible value. When
it’s not…wait a week.

This issue’s strong points:

  • Short, but nice Seth Rogen Q&A. I’m baffled as to why a guy who is blowing up like he is right now isn’t getting more coverage, and why that coverage isn’t more substantial. Still, this is a start.
  • Love the Big Love article that heads their summer TV coverage. This show quietly became a fave of mine during season one, and it sounds like they’re going to up the stakes nicely this year.
  • Lots of good, smaller pieces on the likes of Sarah Silverman and Kevin Costner. It’s a pretty balanced read save for the lack of substantial music coverage.

This issue’s weak points:

  • Katherine Heigl is a stunner, no doubt, but also the opposite of interesting. While her mug may move issues (and they didn’t even get that right – she looks more like Vanessa Marcil here than herself), she’s not the chief reason that the film worked. Put her on the cover if you must, but can we focus on Rogen and Apatow in the article, please?

Not quite as good as their recent hot streak, but still a solid issue.

Overall: 7.5 out of 10 GUITAR WORLD – AUGUST 2007

see this baby show up more as their coverage isn’t just nerdy articles
on how to do wank-off licks faster than ever, but rather broader
coverage of guitar-oriented artists in blues, jazz, and rock (My
apologies, country fans….for you being country fans, that is).

This issue’s strong points:

  • Extremely detailed and lengthy Jack White article that goes way beyond guitar geekery to talk music and life in general. I started out dismissing the guy, but album after album of raw power and well-done nuance has proven me wrong. I’m not that big a fan of his music, but I do recognize his talent and rare perspective. Music is better having him in it, especially these days.
  • The Ozzy/Zakk Wylde dual interviews are definitely entertaining, if a little puzzling. You kind of wonder if they were even in the studio together when recording his latest record.
  • It’s a packed issue being that they just absorbed offshoots Guitar One and Guitar World Acoustic. So much great instructional material for players of all levels, and the cover story is so meaty, it’s good for non-players too.

This issue’s weak points:

  • Rush? I actually like Alex Lifeson, but these guys are four shades of dull. Instead of trying to cover their latest record and their career, they would’ve been better served looking at the making of one album like, say….Moving Pictures.
  • Granted, it’s brief, but why, why, why is there any coverage on Linkin Park’s guitar player? If you know how to do any power chord, you can cover virtually their entire catalog.

A supremely impressive cover story makes this worth the dough alone.

Overall: 8.0 out of 10