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 Ben to Paste in 2002 when the magazine first launched. Granted, the layout was terrible, but the writers had a bead on the kind of music that wasn’t getting the attention it deserved from the sell-out Rolling Stone, the increasingly tepid Entertainment Weekly (now the People/USA Today of entertainment magazines), or from magazines like Spin, No Depression and Magnet, which were either hit-or-miss or too niche-oriented for our tastes. Paste also included a CD sampler of new and up-and-coming artists, and you could reliably expect to find a handful of good tracks on there. We eventually became subscribers until the flame went out after a year or two. Now it’s slandering Cormac McCarthy and using phrases like “out-of-vogue unkempt mops of hair.”
If this seems harsh, it may be because we really thought Paste had promise. The tagline was “signs of life in music, film and culture,” and the magazine initially delivered on championing those signs. Now that independent spirit is gone and it’s just championing glossy mediocrity. Perhaps it’d be fairer to say “Paste has become an irrelevant magazine,” but irrelevance is its own form of terribleness.
While we’re engaging in a bit of media criticism, kudos to Mark Hoobler for spotting numerous factual errors in the New York Times 2009 Almanac. A bit startling coming from the supposed Newspaper of Record.
* = Eric has gone on record taking issue with our own efforts at music criticism, so perhaps he thinks we should currently be writing for Paste. We wanted to clarify so that readers do not confuse our endorsement of his opinion as his endorsement of ours.