“NME Subversive – It’s Official!” declares the cover. Whatever your musical allegiance was at the time or now, it’s interesting to look back to a time when music was written about with intensity and intelligence. Forgiving the somewhat narrow-minded doctrine of uber-cool writers like Nick Kent and Charles Shaar-Murray, the 70s and 80s was when rock journalism hit it’s zenith. In the current age of ‘talent’ show ubiquity squeezing the last remaining vestige of expression and individuality out of pop music in it’s purest form, where is that spirit of subversion? It’s happening in little pockets of course all over the world; there will never be another unified ‘scene’ that defined each successive musical era in the 20th Century because the internet and the way we digest our music has become so disparate, merging decades, genres and generations. And while that is a good thing for music for it’s own sake (and I have never been one for musical fascism), where’s a bit of old-fashioned rock n’ roll rebellion when you need it? A thing of the past?
The last of the three major Inkies remaining (Melody Maker and Sounds having long gone), NME in 2014 is a very different beast indeed. But then so is the music scene in general, beyond recognition. Now everything is available all the time to a teenage music fan at the click of a button, but back then the weekly music press was your vital connection to everything that mattered . “We mean it maaan”.