Mags in Music
Yeah, it’s pretty clear that we love magazines here at Next Issue. But little-known fact…we’re also huge music junkies.

This week we’ve had fun celebrating the intersection of the two. To kick off Grammys weekend, or as we call it around here #MagsInMusic weekend, we’re unveiling our highly-unscientific ranking of the top 10 lyrical magazine references of all time.

Think of it as our long distance dedication to you, our fellow magazine lovers. We hope you enjoy.


Number 10: “Cover Girl” by New Kids on the Block

“When I look through the pages of a magazine, still your pretty face is the prettiest I’ve seen.”

N!K!O!T!B! You find us someone who has more mellifluously spat the word “magazine” than Donnie Wahlberg does in this song and we’ll put them on this list—STAT!

 Number 9: “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right” by The Beastie Boys

“Man, living at home is such a drag. Now your mom threw away your best porno mag (Busted!)”

That lyric was the favorite of literally everyone in junior high during the late 80s. Ourselves included….busted! Do we need a better reason?

Number 8: “Superfreak” by Rick James

“The kind of girl you read about in the new wave magazines

We must confess…this song confuses us a bit. What exactly is a new wave magazine? Is he saying he read about her in Surfer?  Do we need a category for this? So many questions…

Number 7: “The Load Out” by Jackson Browne

“We’ve got rural scenes & magazines; We’ve got truckers on the CB”

Jackson Browne: a master of painting lyrical pictures. Here’s a sampling of the awesome things the band has on their bus in this song: country and western, disco on eight tracks, Richard Pryor on video, and of course MAGAZINES. Um, where do we buy a ticket for that bus?

Number 6: It’s a B.I.G. time tie! 

“Juicy” by Notorious B.I.G.

“It was all a dream I used to read Word Up magazine

“Mo Money, Mo Problems” by by Notorious B.I.G.

“Be flossing jig on the cover of Fortune Five double oh, here’s my phone number”

Pretty clear Biggie loved him some mags. Props for going the extra mile to mention not only a specific magazine, but also what’s known in the industry as a “franchise issue” (Fortune 500).  And if you don’t know, now you know.

Number 5: “People Who Read People Magazine” by Kinky Friedman

“And if anyone should ask me, here’s who I’m singing for: For the people who read People Magazine

A song not about the magazine itself, but rather about the people who read said magazine. This is our anthem, people! And People. Also, when you have the opportunity to type the words “Kinky Friedman,” you take it.

Number 4: Grammy-nominated ladies face off—it’s another tie!

“All About That Bass” by Megan Trainor

“I see the magazines working that Photoshop. We know that ish ain’t real, come on now, make it stop”

“Blank Space” by Taylor Swift

“New money, suit and tie…I can read you like a magazine

What’s that you say? Magazine references in songs have gone the way of the 8-track?  Two of this year’s Grammy nominees would beg to differ. First up is Ms. Trainor, who provided our personal favorite Fallon clip of 2014—see below. (Seriously, for just one day we wish we could have as much fun at work as Questlove—who also happens to be a Wired coverboy—is having helping out with that song).  And who could forget about Ms. Swift, who in the past year has graced the covers of Rolling Stone, People, InStyle, Time, Glamour, LouLou, Bloomberg Businessweek, Lucky, OK!, People Style Watch,…Sports Illustrated, Consumer Reports, Golf Digest, National Geographic, Essence, Surfer, and This Old House. OK, we may have gotten carried away a bit there.  But the point is it’s Taylor’s world.  And as long as she’s reading magazines, that’s a world in which we’re happy to pay rent.

Number 3: “On the Cover of Rolling Stone” by Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show

“Wanna see my smilin’ face on the cover of the Rolling Stone

The quintessential ode to the allure of the cover (as opposed to the cover of Allure). A song about sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll? Meh. A song about sex, drugs rock n’ roll, and magazines? Boo yah!

Number 2: “Empire State of Mind” by Jay Z

“Now I live on Billboard and I brought my boys with me…”

“Caught up in the in-crowd, now you’re InStyle Anna Wintour gets cold, in Vogue with your skin out”

Major style points awarded for not only referencing three different magazines, but also name checking a famous editor in a double entendre.  As a great artist once said, that boy good!

Drum roll…

Number 1: “Vogue” by Madonna

“Greta Garbo and Monroe. Deitrich and DiMaggio. Marlon Brando. Jimmy Dean. On the cover of a magazine

She turned a magazine into a widely-accepted verb—AND a dance. Game over. Will anyone ever top this? Taylor Swift, your challenge, should you choose to accept, it is to duplicate this feat…with Vegetarian Times.

And there you have it, music and magazine lovers! For honorable mentions and all nominees, pay a visit to our full list of #MagsInMusic tunes. ‘Til next time, keep your feet on the ottoman and keep reaching for the magazines.