TEXTUAL ANALYSISCLASSIC ROCKMAGAZINEALICE SOPHIE TURRELL
INFORMATIONTotal Circulation (December 2009); 71,242Publishing Company; Future PLCAbout Future PLC; “Our music-listening brands Classic Rock and Metal Hammer continue toevolve and expand. In 2011 Classic Rock pioneered a series ofsuccessful, ground-breaking, collectable fanpacks – matching new studioalbums from iconic artists like Blondie and Slash with exclusive bespokebehind-the-scenes magazines, retailing on the newsstand at a premiumprice. Also Cooper: Welcome 2 My Nightmare was first delivered as aninteractive iPad app as well.Classic Rock also produces AOR specials whilst Prog has become a highlyrespected title in its own right. Metal Hammer has launched its firstfanpack, Metal Hammer Presents: Machine Head, and also celebrated its 25thanniversary in 2011 with a special edition of the magazine.Metal Hammer also runs the hugely successful Golden Gods Awards in theUK while the Classic Rock Roll of Honor Awards goes from strength tostrength. And, in social media, Metal Hammer now has over 380,000Facebook fans.” – Future PLC on Classic Rock
COLOURThe colours used in Classic Rock are mainly quite simple, with a theme of grey whiteand black and some red running throughout the magazine. These colours areassociated with the rock genre, so therefore are fitting to the magazine and will catchthe target audiences eye. The use of grey is quite strong throughout the wholemagazine – especially on the cover and it makes it seem more elite and slightlyclassy which would appeal to the target audience.On the cover, certain pieces of information have been done in bold reds and orangesto stand out and catch attention, which relates to the Poynter Institute’s eye trackingresearch shows that colour draws a reader into a page (Garcia and Stark1991). These colours fit in with the magazine as they connote morerisky and energetic ideas such as danger which make the magazine and theartists seem rebellious which would draw in attention.The idea of using red to highlight certain things is continued onto thecontents pages, where the page numbers are in red as well as someartists that are not announced as major features on the front cover. This is not thecase with the main feature (Muse) however, which is entirely in black and greyexcept for images. The main images are also quite grey. This helpsreflect the bands attitude and their music. In the main images for thisarticle the band are wearing blacks, and greys mainly. These coloursrepresent the mystery of the band and their music, while the gold andsilver which Matt Bellamy (front man) is wearing connotes their wealth andhigh status in the rock genre – which is what the feature is about.
LAYOUT AND DESIGNThe layout on the cover is quite neat and organized in general, with the cover lines at both sidesof the image and not overlapping it – other than the main cover line that goes across the wholepage. The only image on the cover is of the Muse front man, and that clearly links to the maincover line, which even if you didn’t know the band you would be able to see as the main coverline that says “MUSE” cuts in front of the image and is quite big, and in a different colour – white– to the other cover lines. The rest of the cover lines vary slightly in style, with some being boldand some being in a slightly more formal font. These different fonts go quite well together, asyou are drawn to the bolder font which shows the main information, then you look at the more formal writing andsee a bit more about that feature. The only use of bright colour is on the inserts and on the main cover line. The useof colour indicates that they are the main features, and the colour contrasts the darker, more formal colours used.The cover does use rule of thirds as the image is central – which is what you are automatically drawn to, with themain cover line taking up most of the central space horizontally.On the contents pages, the actual contents lists do not take up most of the layout and arealmost overpowered by the images. The layout of the list is slightly confusing at firstlook, with the main features listed on one page and the “regular” features on the next.The image on the first contents page of Muse performing links in with the wordsas the Muse article being the main feature is listed on that pages contents. The image onthe second contents page however, does not link in with that page. Although the matching feature ismentioned above the image, it is actually listed on the previous page. The font is consistent on bothpages, with the title of the feature being in a different colour mostly (red or grey) and bolder, with a briefdescription underneath in a smaller (black) font. These contents pages do not follow the ruleof thirds as the information is pushed to the right side, and the image taking up about two thirds of thewhole page.The layout for the main feature on Muse is quite formal overall, with the there being more writingthat images and the writing going in columns, rather than stretching across the whole page. Thefont style is consistent, with the first paragraph being bolder and bigger, as well as some quotesto draw in the readers attention. The formal font style and layout of the writing being quite formalsuggests that the feature is quite serious rather than fun and humorous. The other indication thatthe feature is quite serious is the colours, as they it is mainly black and white. The images are allrelevant as well, linking into what is being said in the article. For example, when the feature talksabout Matt Bellamy’s partner, a image of the two of them is next to it. The rule of thirds does notapply to this feature, as it goes in a columned style, with other statistics, quotes and imagesinserted around the relevant part in the feature.
IMAGESOn the front cover, only an image of Matt Bellamy from Muse is theonly image used. This emphasises that the main article is about Muse,which therefore links to the contents of the magazine. The fact that it isonly the front man featured on the cover suggests that the article is more about himthan the other two members or the band a whole.On the first contents page, there is only one image used, and again it isof the Muse front man. This links into the actual contents list as it saysas a caption “COVER STORY, 38, Muse, Rocks new royalty.” This captionthen goes with the front cover story and image, and the contents list thatshows the Muse feature as the main one. The fact that yet again thefront man is featured as the image shows that he is what most peoplethink of when they think of the band, therefore the article would appeal to more people.On the second contents page, there is again only one image, this time relating thearticle on The Doors. This image is again of the bands front man, this is because thearticle is mainly about Jim Morrison. Although this image is used, the article isn’tfeatured on that pages contents list, but the previous page which shows the mainfeatures.There are quite a few images in the main feature. The main one being of thewhole band, which indicates that the article is therefore about Muse as a whole.However, other than that main image there is only one other image used of thewhole band with the rest of the images being of Matt Bellamy linking back tothe fact it is mainly of him, and as he is the member most people think ofwhen the think of Muse. An image of their latest album cover is also includednear some text which suggests that particular part of the article is about thealbum in some way.
POSE, STYLE, HAIR, MAKE UPThe pose Matt Bellamy is in makes him seem powerful and in control, whichrelates back to the feature – which shows Muse as the mostdominating, powerful rock band at the moment – and the band in general whichis quite important in the Rock genre.. He is also looking down at the camera whichgives the impression that he is looking down on other artists. Although helooks superior in this pose, he also looks quite relaxed, and not false whichshows he is happy and comfortable with the fact Muse are one of the leadingrock bands right now. The first thing you are drawn to is the metallic silver jacket he iswearing which is quite eccentric and space related, which is reflecting Muse’s style as aband and their music.Both of the images used in the contents pages are natural as they arelive shoots of the artists performing on stage. These show you the artistsstrength and power on stage. With the image of Matt Bellamy he is playingguitar showing how good he is - which links into the article. With the imageof Jim Morrison, it looks quite intense, showing his stage presence andperhaps the use of drugs which is talked about in the article.The main image for the Muse article is similar to the one used on thecover, with Matt in the same outfit and the background the same. Thedifference is all of the band are in it. All the members are standingtogether, naturally and relaxed with no real pose. The way that Matt Bellamyis in front shows that he is the front man and gives the impression he hasmore power. They are all standing facing the same way and lookingstraight at the camera, this shows that they are united and quite powerful– which links back to what the feature talks about. They are all dressedslightly eccentric and wearing mainly black colours hinting to thedarker, mysterious more serious style of Muse rather than the brightermore vibrant side.
COMPOSITION AND FRAMINGThe image on the cover is central, and is surrounded by the cover lines, except the main onewhich goes with the image and that goes across the image. The image used is a mid shot and itfits in well with the size of the cover as the image fills it. The image does look slightlyPhotoshopped, but not dramatically with added effects, but slightly so it looks more perfectedand professional. When you first look at the cover, you notice first the image as it what gets yourattention as you recognised the cover artist and want to read more about it. The way that theimage looks like it is overlapping the other cover lines adds to the fact that image and article aremore important than the rest of the features. The background is plain and grey. This is betterthan having a busy background as it does not make the cover look too full and messy. The plainbackground also keeps the reader focused on the artist in the image.Both of the images on the contents pages are live shots taken lookingup at the artists. They are both full length and looking up at the artistson stage this makes them seem powerful and sow them being the bestat what they do. As the images are live photographs, the background isthe stage and there are a lot of bright colours in them, contrasting theimage on the cover. As on both pages the image takes up most of the space, they are what yousee first then you see the contents list, This works well as your eyes naturally go left to right.The main image that goes with the feature on Muse takes up the wholeright page, so it is the first thing you see when you turn onto the feature,this clearly indicates that it’s the Muse article. The image is mid long shotand shows clearly the whole band, and looks up at them slightly. Like thecover image, it is slightly Photoshopped to give the image a more perfectfinish. It also looks slightly desaturated to go with the darker side of Muse.The background is a really light grey colour which helps show up their darker clothing more.
WRITTEN CODESThe writing on the cover gives a clear indication of who the target audience isand of what the contents is. For example, just from the title of themagazine, “Classic Rock” you can tell that the magazine is aimed at people whoare interested in classic rock, so they are most likely to mainly be 30 - 45. Italso tells you what is in the magazine - features on classic rock artistsand genres. The cover lines do not go into great detail on what to expectinside, just naming the artists. This makes the reader want to know moreand not just know instantly from looking at the cover. The writing on thefront is mainly bold and stands out well, so if the magazine was on a shelf you would beable to see it clearly. The title, insert and main cover line are bolder than the rest of thetext, this is to make it clearer to readers what the magazine is and what the main featuresare.The writing in the contents pages just expand on what is mentioned onthe cover. With the artists being the mentioned next to the page numberand a short explanation of what to find in the articles. For example, forthe Slash feature the explanation just informs the reader that it is aninterview with Slash and a few points it covers. On the second contents page, on theimage of Jim Morrison there is a quote next to the page number. This catches the readersattention and they want to know more about who was saying it and what it was relevant to.For the main feature, the title and subheading give away some ideas of what to expect inthe magazine. For example, the title “Interstellar Overdrive” link to style of Muse(interstellar) and suggest that they have been working into overdrive and that’s what thearticle is about. The subheading gives away a bit more information, mentioning 2013 givesthe impression that the article is about the band at the current time and the future ratherthan looking back at their career. “Step into the weird world of Muse” suggests that thefeature will be quite in depth and will give the reader a deep insight into what Muse isreally about and what’s happening for them at the current time.
LANGUAGEThe language on the cover is quite simple as it basically just tells the reader whatartists are in the magazine. Although there is some language used as part of themain feature cover line – “As epic as Zeppelin. As out-there as Floyd. As OTT as Queen.”This is quite dramatic and builds up the article. The relation of Muse to theselegendary, influential artists grabs the readers attention.Similarly to the cover, the contents pages do not show overly strong useof specific language as the only writing is giving a very short description of what eachfeature is. Although, the descriptions are quiteexaggerated, making the reader want to read the feature. Forexample, words such as “mammoth” and “dizzyingly” are usedto exaggerate.The language style is quite strong in the feature though. The overall style is formal, with afew descriptive puns linked back to Muse and what their music is about. The feature is partlyan interview, and partly documents the how far Muse have come and their status as “the newQueen”. The feature although showing serious language and writing style doesuse a lot of exaggerated language also, constantly making the band seem likethe best thing about rock at the moment, showing clearly that the writer isbiased towards liking Muse. When describing certain events, the language useddoes give the reader a really good idea of what has happened due to the detailthe writer goes into.The formal, in-depth language is not just used in this feature but is continued throughout themagazine with all features being quite detailed and formal, while going over the top. Thereason for the more formal language is due to the target audience, with the magazine beingaimed more at the 30 – 45 year olds who may be more middle class, the language has to suitthem and appeal to them.
THEORIESCultural Industry, Adorno and Horkheimer (1944)This theory states that media products are all made the same, and sent out to an obedientaudience who do not question them. The theory relates in some ways to Classic Rock. A wayin which it does relate to this theory is that it it does have similarities to other rock magazinesdue to the artists and features in the magazine. It also does not relate to the magazine for thesame reason, as it covers a broader range of artist both new and old. It does not relate to thepoint about how it is made due to the design is completely different from other rock magazinesas it is more aimed towards 30 – 45 year olds rather than at teens who would prefer abrighter, messier design.Encoding Decoding, Hall (1973)This theory states that ideas are put into the media product by the creator, then it is down tothe audience/reader to decode them. This can either be in the way the creator wants, a neutralway or be against it. This relates to the magazine as the writers could possibly put in their ownbiased views into the features - for example Muse featuring strongly suggests that the writeris biased towards like the band – and these views can either be seen in the way the writerwants or a completely different way.Uses and Gratifications, Blumler and Katz (1974)This theory states there is four reasons why someone decides to look at a media product;personal identification, personal relationships, entertainment, and observation. The magazinematches all of these points as someone may read it either to get inspiration from theiricons, relate to others with a similar music preference, just to relax and escape normalroutine, and to find out about gigs and bands in other parts of the world.
THEORIESHierarchy of Needs Abraham Maslow (1954)There are five points to the Hierarchy of Needs, but only three of them are relevant tothe Classic Rock magazine – belonging and affectionate needs, esteem needs and selfactualization. The point regarding belonging links into the magazine as it gives readersa group they are part of with people that share their interests. The point of esteemneeds links as people reading about their icons could give them more confidence andinspiration. The point of self actualization relates to the magazine as people readingabout their favorite artists and other articles could help them develop as a person andbecome more them self.Stereotypes Branston G and Stafford R (2010)This theory states how stereotypes come about and what categorizes them This linksto Classic Rock magazine due to the fact the stereotyping means only a certain groupof people would read the magazine, and they work with this. For example, it isimportant who they put on the cover, the fact that Matt Bellamy is used attracts fans ofMuse and similar artists while the image deters others who are interested in pop music.Male Gaze Laura Mulvey (1975)This theory talks about how women are used as visual pleasure to attract men intobuying a magazine or other product. This can be reversed as well – “female gaze”.Some magazines put images of celebrities that people find attractive to sell theirproduct. The use of Matt Bellamy could be to attract people who are him or people whoaspire to be like him.
OVERALL IMPRESSIONOverall, I think this magazine has quite a lot of strengths, and only a few weaknesses.The main weakness is the contents pages layouts. It would be better if the contents was inlinear order, instead of having the one off features and the regular features on differentpages. I also think that the page layout could be slightly better, with more images and havingthe contents list more central and bigger in comparison to the image which takes up most ofthe page.The formal, serious way in which the magazine is presented and the features written is botha strength and a weakness. It is a strength as it suits the target audience, and gives readersa more in depth, detailed view on rock. But it is also a weakness as it could be a bit more ofan easier, informal read while still being as descriptive and informative if it was slightly morehumorous.Another strength is the cover layout and colour scheme. The fact that there is only oneimage, and the cover lines are quite short do not over complicate the cover and make it lookmessy. The fact that the cover lines are really short – mainly just mentioning the artists name– helps attract the readers attention as well, making them want to read more.I also think the colour scheme works really well with the genre and target audience. The useof the black and grey colours go with the genre, connoting darker and more edgierthemes, and also go well with the target audience as it looks professional and sophisticatedinstead of having a mixture of different colours and looking more like a teen magazine.There are elements that I am going to use and take into consideration when designing mymagazine. The main one is the colour scheme. This is because I like how it is simple, yetreflects the target audience and the type of magazine well. I like how the main colours usedare black, grey and white, and then there are only certain parts that are in another, boldcolour to make them stand out more. I also am going to use ideas from the cover layoutgenerally. I like how the cover lines are on both sides of the image, which is central. I alsolike how only one member is on the cover, this is as it does not over crowd the cover andmake it look cluttered.