Adam Lambert is on the cover of your magazine with a snake crawling up his man-parts. I have quite a number of issues with this which I would like to take the opportunity to outline.
1. As a long-time subscriber (even at my mere almost-21 years of age) I have never been as appalled by a cover choice. I thought I was when you chose Zac Efron, but I will admit that he has pop-culture staying power. Then came the Jonas Brothers, and while I’m not a fan, nor do I condone teeny-bopper love, I realize that the Jonas’ are in fact talented, and their success is no different than that of *NSYNC or the Backstreet Boys, who I grew up with. But Lambert? Yes, he was “fun” to watch on American Idol, if by “fun” you mean slightly weird and as attention grabbing as a car crash. He has definite singing ability if you can get past the screaming, but he has yet to do anything of note. He’s been in a few musicals and he came in second on a national talent competition. He hasn’t DONE anything yet. He hasn’t won a Tony, a Grammy, or even American Idol. Don’t you think it’s a little preemptive to stick him on your cover?
2. His pose in the cover shoot is completely ridiculous as well. There is a snake climbing up to his Johnson just like in Michelangelo’s Last Judgment. I don’t know if this was a conscious decision, but it’s blatantly obvious to anyone who is familiar with the painting. Yes, Lambert has the look of a rock-god, but he’s not. So don’t treat him as such. When he comes out with a full-length debut album that doesn’t, by definition, “blow,” then you can dress him up all sexy and stick Michelangelo snakes on his crotch. Why now? All he has done is don some eyeliner, wear tight pants, scream alongside KISS and officially come out of the closet. Wait until he at least makes an album and proves himself, but if you ask me, the only thing he’ll prove is that America was right in choosing Kris Allen.
3. Lastly, I do have to commend your decision to put Lambert on the cover, even if I truly do think it was the wrong one. The economy is in the toilet, print journalism is a dying breed and you need to sell magazines. I get it. I currently work for a daily newspaper and I see first-hand the decision to run non-important puff pieces instead of things that really matter. Lambert, for whatever reason, captivated the Idol audience. Whether they actually enjoyed watching him or it was because he had the “can’t look away” appeal of a train wreck, Lambert is popular. He will sell your magazine, and not only that, but he will open it up to a whole new audience. You’ll get the readers who bought the Zac Efron and Jonas Brothers issues back, who probably faded when you made more admirable cover choices like Bob Dylan, U2, Green Day, and yes, even Lady Gaga. All artists who are making noteworthy music. Rolling Stone has always been about the music, Lambert hasn’t made any yet. I understand that you want to sell magazines, but what about quality control and your long-time readers who have come to expect more?
I’m not saying that Adam Lambert should never grace the cover of Rolling Stone, I’m just saying that perhaps you should have waited until he made music of his own, when it could be determined if he even has pop-culture staying power. As of right now, he’s just the gay-musical-boy of the week and I don’t see how his sexual orientation or his previous musical endeavors warrant the cover of one of the world’s most recognizable music publications.