[sic] Magazine

Editorial No 2: – Hype

TV on the radio

Has anyone else noticed the hyperbole that is surrounding ‘Dear Science’, the latest offering from TV on the radio? Just try wading through the swathe of and 10/10 reviews and you’ll soon see. The hacks are scrambling over each other to lavish the most fawning praise possible. It’s some kind of critical one-upmanship. Where will it end? I mean, who are these writers and more importantly who is editing all this? I wonder if it is Nigel Tufnell of the group Spinal Tap?

Nigel might explain thus:

bq. Tufnell– “Most reviews go to ten. But where can you go from there? Nowhere. What we do, to give it that extra push, is go to eleven. It’s one higher.”
Interviewer– “why don’t you just make ten more important and keep it as the top number”
Tufnell– “(long, thoughtful pause)…….We go to eleven”

bq. Nigel Tufnell

Why the clamor then? Who to believe? Have TVOTR have delivered a hybrid OK Computer/White Album/Pet Sounds meisterwork? If they haven’t, then there must be some other motivation behind such overwhelming praise. Let’s be clear, TVOTR have made a decent record and our own, more reasoned and informed, piece can be found below. There is a much wider point I wish to make. Why would other so-called critics have us believe a record such as ‘Dear Science’ is the greatest thing since sliced bread and not just sliced but also perfectly toasted with a nob of butter melting effortlessly into it? Let us consider possible motives:


bq. 1. Could ‘Dear Science’ be getting the praise ‘Return to cookie mountain’ deserved, except that the cloth-eared reviewers of the time didn’t realize? Therefore, feeling suitably embarrassed those same scribes now seek to rectify their ignorance by lionizing the latest record.

bq. 2. A TVOTR album is now a tangible ‘event’. Even more so at magazines lacking the wit, good taste or inclination to champion, never mind discover, other great music.

bq. 3. TVOTR are the latest indie darlings. So to curry favour and nab that exclusive interview the mags know they’d better get the adjectives out just keep the band and management team sweet.

bq. 4. The hype will ensure TVOTR are deified. A year from now the story will shift to become how the band has ‘lost it’. The usual, tired formula. Build em up, knock em down. And of course, the more absurd the review, the more those letters pages keep filling.

bq. 5. Most cynically of all, what does any professional magazine exist for? Yep, all they want is your money. Hyping TVOTR suits the weeklies and monthlies simply because the continued existence of those publications depends on the continued sales of such bands. Sadly, many of the current magazines are so much a part of the industry machine that they are little more than hype sheets. Are they any more valuable than those ridiculous, thumbnail ‘reviews’ you see on the CD stands in HMV? It’s a shop for fucks sake. You can’t review your own stock. What value is that? If you accept that music magazines are themselves another arm of the music industry then it’s no different.

We’re only asking the questions. I leave it up to you to consider whether you feel served by those places. It’s a bit like daytime radio, playing the lowest common denominator. Do you want ‘daytime’? Or do you want ‘Peel’?

We pose the questions and we question the poses.

Related links:

Dear Science review.