I've been a reader of Paste Magazine for several years, and a subscriber for a few months. It's a great magazine and I have a lot of respect for it. I do, however have a couple of criticisms and as a subscriber, I feel it's my right to voice those criticisms.
My first criticism deals with the advertisements. I'm not against the ads, I know that it's how they make their money...other than the $7.95 newstand price. I think there are several ads per issue that catch my eye not because they're good or because they're annoying, but because they are terrible. I personally know several non-professionals who could produce a better ad for a CD than some of these ads. The ads definately don't make me want to even think about listening to the artist's music. I fault the magazine for settling for crappy ads. They could probably do a great job in house producing the ads rather than getting them from the musician who probably made it in a Kinkos using Word.
The second criticism is in their criticism. I'm assuming that their highest review of a CD would be 5 stars. I assume this because I've seen a handful of albums reviewed as 4.5 stars. I just spent a few minutes going through 5 issues and couldn't find a single 5 star review. So because there is no indication of a top review, I'm left to ask is 4 stars the highest and a 4.5 is their way of saying it's more than amazing, or have no 5 star albums been released in 2006?
Like I said before I think Paste is a great magazine, so to even out my criticism, I offer great things about Paste.
1. A great CD sampler with every issue with 20 or so songs from all sorts of musicians.
2. Did I say they're monthly now?
3. The have tons of free songs on their website for subscribers, and lots in their store section for non-subscribers. You might be asking what the difference between tons and lots is...
4. They include a DVD every couple of issues with some great short films and music videos.
5. The Paste Culture Club podcast is one of my favorites.