Hype! is Doug Pray’s eternally underrated documentary of the rise and slouch of the Seattle music scene of the late-‘80s and early ‘90s. When Hype! first came out in 1996, detachment was the GDP of young Seattleites. Even those of us who were in no danger of being “maniplulated” or “exploited” were often in the business of overstating one’s disdain for attention from the “industry,” the “media,” or any other representative of the outside world. People who had never once been interviewed were vigilant about being misquoted. This is part of why it was hard to get anyone to admit how good the film was in those days. A lot of people were also obsessed—for good reasons that the film spends plenty of time observing—with how wrong everyone always was about everything about Seattle music. Hype! takes the odd chronological or geographic liberty, but you can’t miss the conscience behind the filmmakers’ attempts to tell a story that was rapidly being lost in the much larger social project of consecrating the “grunge” narrative. Along with a couple-few books, Hype! may be the only real document—not of the “scene” or the media frenzy years, but of the larger struggle of the bands to assert their individuality against the relentless momentum of the idea that Seattle was one sound, one thing, one word. by Sean Nelson
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Doug Pray
Valerie M. Agnew, Mark Arm, John Atkins