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Chapman's Champion

May 21, 1988

I must comment on Chris Willman's outrageous distortion of the '80s in the review of Tracy Chapman ("Powerful Protest Songs From Tracy Chapman," May 13).

Chapman's "almost anachronistically sociological" songs--give me a break. In different styles, Springsteen, U2 and numerous new- and old-wave rockers make '80s music more sociological (and political) than '60s music was.

Constant references to politics in music as a throwback are cute, false, demeaning and highly misleading distortions intended to marginalize those who try for meaning in music. The intended result seems to be ignorant consumers.

As for Chapman's "naivete," what about the naivete of the hundreds of songwriters (and reviewers) who think you can understand personal problems while ignoring their sociological contexts?

Maybe Chapman can remind us that reviewers should be people who have some knowledge of the genre they're reviewing--and maybe she's redefining the genre, way ahead of her reviewer, in this case.

DAVE LIPPMAN

Berkeley

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