The Believer was founded in San Francisco 14 years ago, part of Dave Eggers’ McSweeney’s empire. After a two-year lull, it has now moved to a new publishing home at the Black Mountain Institute at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. It reintroduces itself this August with a Believer staple, the Music Issue.
While The Believer’s first issue since its relaunch feels fresh and exciting, it also features many of the magazine’s much-loved, recurring fixtures, including Daniel Handler’s column examining the work of Nobel Prize Winners. Here, he reviews the work of Italian laureate Eugenio Montale, hilariously deconstructing his book Satura, which he describes as being ‘great like a great ice cream cone’.
More surprising highlights include interviews with iconic rock ‘n’ roll muse Bebe Buell, an inspiration for Almost Famous character Penny Lane, and ‘elven songstress’ Enya. Sandi Rankaduwa provides a detailed history of women who rap, which finds its milieu in Nicki Minaj’s recent statement that she no longer considers herself a rapper. And Micheal Snyder examines how contemporary Christian music has taken over in the hills of Northeast India.
Although the magazine has moved to drier, hotter planes, it still advertises its iconic publisher, McSweeney’s, on its inside cover. The Music Issue also stays true to its commitment to rich content and skilful writers; it pays tribute to Alvin Buenaventura, an editor and publisher who produced The Believer’s ‘Comics’ column for the past five years, and who passed away in February 2016.
The 114th (!) issue of The Believer feels like a relief – it’s still as well-crafted and loaded with engaging content as it was before its hiatus. As they say, if something ain’t broke, why fix it?