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Hype Kills


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Dear Editor:

Guess I missed the mass-hypnotic joint when it was being passed around, but finally Peter Margasak has validated my feelings. Finally a rock critic worthy of worship ("Don't Believe the Hype," October 7), Peter, I bow down. Saving me a seat on the Veruca Salt Backlash Bus isn't necessary. If I were Veruca Salt I'd be shaking in my Doc Martens right now. Hype is dangerous. History is full of bands whose overhype killed a promising or at least long-term mediocre career (Bay City Rollers, Sophie B. Hawkins?). When the hype doesn't match the talent, it's like eating cotton candy--tastes good at first but makes you sick if you eat too much. And just because you force-feed it to me doesn't mean I have to like it. Much better for artists to develop naturally, use those years of pain and experience to build a repertoire (and fan base) that will be filling up the Vic ten years from now.

As a Chicago-based female musician, my cynicism is not one of the they-got-signed-first variety or even of a jealous female one. On the contrary, I would have been the first to be delighted at the success of Phair or Salt had their music been of any artistic significance that was relevant to me. But I can't say their music moves me one bit. If this is the best of "female-point-of-view" rock from Chicago I'm ashamed to be put in the same gender. The guys that signed them need to get out more. Thankfully, the Toris, Breeders, and Sarahs of the world have managed to get heard, signed, and recorded: they simply blow the Lizes and V.S.'s away.

Most mystifying is that the few good critics in town who haven't had spotlight envy are viewed as traitors or (even worse--impartial journalists). Perhaps Peter heralds a new 90's-time of old-fashioned constructive criticism. And for that he should be worshiped, adored, and put on the front page. Then maybe he could give some good bands good press--not sweet hype.

Elaine E.


PS: Hype kills.

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