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The Big Hurt: World-class criticism priced to move!
By DAVID THORPE  |  October 1, 2008

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Grim economic news makes me pretty nervous. I get by as a writer, but that’s a skill that won’t be much use in the inevitable Thunderdome situations of the coming years. I can’t fight or build stuff; my tiny pink hands, unsuited as they are for labor, will doubtless wind up as gruesome baubles hanging from the neck of Lord Humungus. My best bet is to save my money now in the distant hope of buying a bunch of gold or gasoline just before the fall of civilization and propping myself up as tin-pot warlord in the savage ruins of America.

So, that means I have to use what little time is left to monetize the hell out of this little writing operation. Although it’s a disgusting affront to my own integrity and the reputation of this newspaper, I’m delighted to announce that my services are officially FOR SALE!

Musicians and publicists, take note: David Thorpe offers critical excellence at rock-bottom prices!

OPTIMISTIC REVIEW: $50 | Nothing sets the stage for success like an upward trajectory, and a hint of cautious optimism in a professional review just might be your first step toward greatness. Although this review will be overwhelmingly negative, probably citing your execrable musicianship and total lack of originality, your $50 will buy a whole lot of room for improvement: “With time, [YOUR NAME] might break free of the shackles of mediocrity and blossom into a bearable act.” In the immortal words of Bad Company, “Don’t you know that you are a shooting star/And the whole world will love you just as long as you are?”

FAINT PRAISE: $75 | In today’s oversaturated rock market, even the slightest critical notice seems beyond the reach of the average working musician. For the frugal troubadour who knows how to settle for less, I offer an assortment of modest adjectives at fantastic prices: “[YOUR NAME] combines capable songwriting with workmanlike vocals for an overall effect that is, in a word, Wallflowers-esque.”

FAVORABLE B-LIST COMPARISON: $85 | Want to see your name mentioned alongside the minor movers and shakers of the music industry? Favorable comparisons like these let you break into the mainstream without breaking the bank: “[YOUR NAME] combines the jaw-dropping originality of Jet with the guitar pyrotechnics of Ben Folds”; “[YOUR NAME] has as much talent in her little finger as Katy Perry has in her little finger.”

UNFAVORABLE A-LIST COMPARISON: $95 | It may sound like a step down, but consider this: for just $10 more, you could be unfavorably compared to some of the greatest legends of rock history. “[YOUR NAME] falls well short of the melodic genius of Wings.” Does that sound like a putdown? Think again, stupid! You’ve just been mentioned in the same sentence as rock-and-roll royalty, and that priceless association will linger long after the sting of the insult has faded.

LINER-NOTE MENTION: $120 | Need a quick shot of credibility? Treat yourself to the honor of thanking a published music journalist in your album’s liner notes. “Ah,” readers of your liner notes might say, “I recognize the name of the man being thanked as a great luminary in the world of music criticism, and his apparent influence on this record lends it a great deal of artistic gravity.” And they’ll be right!

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