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Select magazine has always been, for me, somewhat of a standby magazine; you know, one of those mags that you may as well buy as youve got the cash and need something to read. The layout has always been nice and easy to ind something that appeals to you and the reviews are reassuringly and consistentl well written. Select seems to use journalists that really know about current and, more importantly, past music culture... It also covers other media such as TV, films, books and clothes etc. rolling many magazines in to one (saving your wallet!). My only gripe is that Select sometimes tries to have a go at things that, really, it isnt any good at... Hip-Hop reviews for one are best left to HipHopConnection! Have a read, it won't dissapoint... Harry
So Select magazine has been redesigned yet again, and as with every earlier attempt has pratically gone back to the old format within a few months. This possibly says something about not changing a winning formula, but hey, the new graphics are quite nice. The cut-out dotted lines around reviews seem a bit superfluous (Select has allways had a Blue Peter element to its journalism), but the new layout is rather clean and easy to peruse whilst riding a bus. The music covered is unchanged, although there is no specialist "dance" section and everything is mixed in. As usual, Select goes for the Yoof readers with features on popular bands like Travis, DJs like Paul Van Dyk and the obligatary coverage of US frat-metallers. The reviews section covers a large number of albums and is fairly discriminating, although the journalists have an annoying tendency to fall for hype. All in all it's still very readable and has some welcomely self indulgent editorial as you'd hope. Select offers a glossier alternative to the weeklies for indie kids and pop tarts who prefer to stay out of toilet venues in Camden, and is all the better for it.
When it first came out in the 1980s, Select was a refreshing alternative to the more staid Q, and I bought it every month. As other magazines such as Mojo and Uncut started come out I stopped buying Select, mainly because it concentrated more and more on dance music, and less on the types of music I usually go for (indie, soul, sixties stuff). I occasionally buy issues of Select with free CD's (although the music doesn't exactly blow me away - give me Uncut's CD's any time) so I have seen the changes over the years. Select is now more obviously 'designer', the whole thing looks like one big colourful advertisement. In places it even seems like a men's lifestyle magazine (as in the "Catalog" section, which featurs clothing and gadgetry of all kinds). I like the "Tracks of the months" feature, which lists the usual singles and album tracks, but also tracks on mp3 or featured on TV. It is good to see a music magazine which is about music regardless of format, and showing they're not entirely about promoting the record labels' output. Also useful, for the infrequent reader, is their roundup of the 15 best recent CDs. All in all, it depends on your musical tastes. It's not exactly for me, more for the grown up Smash Hits reader.
I have only bought Select magazine since its revamp, so I can't say if it has improved. I buy it because it covers the music I like - mainly indie/pop/rock with a bit of dance. The magazine is basically 3 parts - the Select 50, where there are 50 seemingly random clippings, such as quotes from musicians, reviews of TV shows/products, little tiny interviews/reviews and some quite funny articles. Some of these are good, some are dull, and some just leave you wanting to read a longer piece. The second part is very long interviews with a few bands, which are good if you like the bands but are otherwise dull. Thirdly, there are reviews of live gigs, albums, singles, adverts and music equipment. I don't actually read many of these, except the singles reviews. Overall, this magazine is only really worth buying if you like the main bands featured. Otherwise, it's a waste of money, and surprisingly quick to read.
Like Melody Maker and NME, Select seems to have undergone something of a facelift. The most positive change of this new look version is that it acknowledges the massive expansion of technology: it includes MP3 only tracks on its recommended list and multimedia items on the free cover CD (always a bonus for all you skinflints and students out there!). However, the magazine contains huge interviews with bands like Elastica. This is obviously great if you're a big fan but wouldn't it be better to provide slightly shorter pieces in order to cover more different bands? Also, there is a huge feature on the up and coming Muse. The cover declares: 'In a chickenshit world, a band you can trust'. Fair enough, but why not include a song from them on the free CD so that we can decide for ourselves? Call me thick (I'll sort you out if you do - don't forget my username sonny) but I was confused by the first main section of the magazine, 'The Select 50'. This seemed to be 50 random things in music that Select journos felt like writing about, however vague the connection with the mag's supposed purpose: keeping its readers informed about the ever-changing music scene. It included the earthshattering news that 'Simpsons Crisps' have hit the supermarket shelves (is there any need for this in a music mag), a short feature on an MP3 playing watch (better) and a tongue-in-cheek look at virtual pop stars. A couple of pages of this kind of thing would have been fine, but the lack of coherence left me dying to read a proper review - which I had to wade past several pages of adverts to find. All in all, I have to say that I prefer the broader coverage of a magazine like Q.