Sunday, 10 May 2020

Classic Pop magazine - review


What you need in a lockdown is plenty of escapism and entertainment. For me, music and books rank equally at the top of my wellbeing needs. Telly, Netflix, YouTube and DVDs have played their part but pictures haven't featured as much as sounds and words. I'm surprised at myself that I haven't embraced my teenage self and fixated on video games, now's the perfect time.

Embracing music and nostalgia is the name of the game for Classic Pop magazine. With shops closed and people focussing on essential items they've done a decent thing and made a digital version available for free.

I love a music magazine. They bring songs and albums back into your head that you hadn't heard for ages or give you a new angle on songs you've known for years. For example - we all know Prince was a prolific writer and was always messing about with his songs but have you ever noticed that the verse structure to Manic Monday by the Bangles (wot he wrote) and 1999 is the same? I've owned both songs since the eighties and until it was pointed out I'd missed that too.

When you've got Simple Minds on the cover you're off to a good start. They were the first band I saw live on their Street Fighting Years tour (I'm not counting Tiffany at the Birmingham Bullring on her free 'mall tour') and the focus of this lead article is around that album, which I loved then and still do. Deacon Blue are on there too - another band I loved and saw and the soundtrack to my first proper relationship. I'm over it now, honest.

The articles are glossy and in depth, this is a quality magazine. The Ultravox article, for example, isn't just a trot through Ultravox's whole career but anchors on the Vienna album with song by song analysis.

Madonna, Huey Lewis, The Human League - are you spotting a connection? Whilst this is called 'Classic Pop' you have to look a bit closer for a tag line - eighties, electronic, eclectic. You won't get much from before or after the eighties unless it's part of a feature with an eighties focus such as the development of the LA scene or the great article on how the late eighties were dominated by commercials reissuing old classics - remember those jeans commercials?

It's a great read and the Pocket Mags app works well, apart from articles which flip round to go across 2 pages. When I turn my tablet round to read them the picture flips so you have to turn off auto-rotate just to read one page.

Keep Spotify handy while reading and this'll send youoff on a right old journey.

As I said at the start, I love a music magazine and this is a great read. Problem is, I stopped buying the magazines a few years ago as I couldn't keep up with the price. £5 - £6 is too much for me, although Classic Pop comes down to just over £4 if you subscribe. I get the reason, the amount of journalism and the production values probably mean that this isn't a high mark-up but  I think I'd rather the cheaper paper and fewer glossy pics of the golden days of Sounds, NME and Smash Hits. It's the words that are the strength, not the pics.

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