We have many, many former journalists who wrote for NME now writing for other publications who will always say something along the lines of, 'but it was always better for people who were 16 then, it's a generational thing'. Bullshit. There has been an inevitable decline for the NME as they have failed to lead. Where they used to jump on trends almost as soon as they were happening, these days, they follow far after their internet savvy readers have already made up their minds. For example, why did I have to read on a Guardian blog about Fuck Buttons? That's a band, bloody awful as they are, that the NME could have put on their front cover with a hugely provactive headline. Everybody would talk about it, those snobby minority would say, 'yay, NME is where it's at', etc, etc. The sheep would follow. Thing is, NME no longer have visionaries. They've got university graduates who couldn't give a toss about music, but you know, they've been to every glastonbury since 1995. 1995 you say? Jesus christ, i was throwing myself in front of cars, getting stabbed and trying to kill myself in 1995. Those glory years of the nineties, the unending stock-market growth, the head in the sand attitude and via Britpop, the revival of Brit is great. It wasn't. We wanted the actual misery of the eighties and The Smiths or Joy Division. We didn't really believe for very long in Oasis, Blur or Pulp. As soon as Pulp appeared on Richard and Judy - that was the death of Britpop, not 'Be Here Now' or 'Urban Hymns'.
Still, i'm digressing. NME used to classified as a music newspaper. Of course, i'm not stupid enough to fail to see the wider picture - that such a thing is impossible in this day and age. NME writers would have to be quite something, this day and age, they really would have to be able to predict the future to be able to truly lead. Yet, the constant dumbing down doesn't appeal to us. Us, the music fans. I want to read an interview where the key question isn't what they did last night. How about what did they do in their childhood? What's their motivation? How do they place themselves in fifty plus years of music? Why did they bury a stellar guitar solo among their folky piano song? Did they not like that solo and buried it in the mix not to offend the guitar player? Were they happy with the way the album came out? Do they have plans to develop their musical skills, perhaps produce themselves in the future, or do they value the collaboration that a talented producer or engineer can bring? Does George Martin actually deserve any plaudits or was it really the very talented Abbey Road studio engineers, guys like Geoff Emerick? After all, even by John Lennon's own admission in a 1970s Rolling Stones interview, George Martin got too big for his boots. What did he do after The Beatles? Even Ringo had a better post-Beatles career artistically than George Martin did. The reason for that? Ringo was far more honest than Sir George Martin.
Back to the NME. God, I can't even really be bothered to even talk about them. They've carried out several absolutely stupid makeovers and changes. One. When they 'merged' with the Melody Maker, rather than appointing an NME man as their new editor, they appointed a man best known for his failed work on the declining Melody Maker. Secondly, they now seem to want to be NME Radio, NME Internet, NME TV, NME Blog, etc, etc. All the while they are trying to hope some of their shit sticks to the wall they are ignoring their core business. This isn't about being politically correct or incorrect. The NME should not be a magazine that ignores their readership or gives away free glossy posters of Kings Of Leon. Jesus, I can do my own with my printer that cost £40 from Tesco with a picture I downloaded off the internet.
People want leadership, they want people with judgement and intelligence and a level of objectivity to the point where said writer can at least make a stab at an intelligent conversation about any music from 1930s onwards. Yes, NME is now primarily an 'indie-rag' - and that will be their ultimate downfall. Heck, they could create 'the new pop', there's enough new electro acts out there. I gather NME were pretty upset that the Smash Hits of metal, 'Metal Hammer' is now outselling them and also that the biggest UK pop artist of today, Lily Allen, could only consent to an interview in the back of a taxi whilst she was too busy with her Blackberry to really care about NME at all.
Changing times? Yes. But, NME are now so far behind the times and so deluded and so answerable to their publishers that it is inevitable NME will fail. They will be only a distant memory in the likes of former writers and readers who remember a better time. NME? Be brave. Hire a new editor that actually hates everything you stand for, yet has a burning desire for new music. Not me, I can hardly read, write or spell. Maybe an American, they are full of themselves.
I'm being slightly mischievous, yet I believe in almost half of what I say. Call me left-wing.