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1998: The Official Truth 

Turning Taste-making Whimsy Into the Historical Record Since 1966

From: Office of the President, RockCritCo Inc.
To: All Stockholders
Date: Dec. 30, 1998
Subject: Progress Report, 1998

Dear Critics,

We here at RockCritCo would like to thank you once again for your continued support over the past year. Because of your diligent attention to our edicts, we exceeded our goals. This year, we successfully sent an album of limp hip hop and Stevie Wonder knockoffs (The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill) to the summit of nearly all our top-10 lists, mainly for appearance's sake. We were also able, yet again, to make mountains out of molehills by thinking really hard about Marilyn Manson. (We checked our archives, and couldn't find this many epic articles about a musical bore since Boris Grebenshikov was deemed the future of rock music in 1989.)

As the year ends, we'd also like to thank you for using your collective powers to revive mediocre songwriters. Project: Bacharach met with almost as much success as 1994's Project: Carpenters and 1996's Project: Loungecore. Our agents will be contacting you soon to inform you about next year's project. We don't want to give away any secrets yet, but if we could save time in a bottle ....

What else did we do in 1998? Well, we continued to further the popularity of vague non-concepts like "swing"; celebrated the return of the singer/songwriter, even though nobody wanted it back (thank you, Elliott Smith!); and came up with tons -- tons! -- of new names for "electronica" subgenres, without ever defining "electronica" itself.

God, as always, helped guide our news judgment; our continued coverage of the newfound spirituality of Madonna, Alanis Morissette, and Adam Yauch allowed us to, once again, overrate their albums by a record 70 percent. Overrating records was actually an across-the-board phenomenon. Page through some of the finer glossy music magazines we've worked with, and you'll notice that even the weakest overhyped acts are now actually "pretty good."

Thanks again, kids, for the hard work, and remember: Overintellectualizing, overrating, and taking the fun out of pop music isn't just our passion here at RockCritCo Inc. It's our job.

Rock on,

Billington J. Huffington III
President, RockCritCo Inc.

P.S. Just a reminder: Sleater-Kinney's new album comes out in February; please remember our official policy of saddling all-female rock bands with every available Foucault reference.



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