Sunday, April 19, 2015

Music in the time of hipster

"I was into them before they got big," known as the classic hipster phrase. In today's fast-paced need-to-know attitude fueled by the web, there's a certain pride that comes with being the first to discover something, whether it be a novel scientific discovery or what year the actor from the movie you're watching who also starred in that T.V. show was born. And who his parents were. And what his life was like.

But what really concerns me is when this attitude is directed toward music. In a matter of weeks, an artist can go from being a rising star to just another one-hit wonder. It becomes uncool to like a song or a group after so many weeks of their fame. And that, to me, is very uncool.

Admittedly, I've been caught in the same trap. I've been quoted saying "I was the hipster before the hipsters," and "they were so good until they got big." But the fact of the matter is, the whole idea that good music has to be new or only appreciated by a small group of people to be considered good is ridiculous. Music is supposed to be uniting. There shouldn't be shame in enjoying something that a literal million other people also enjoy listening to.

The hipster sentiment is one I'm still trying to fight myself. I remember being upset when I was told most of my music consisted of "mainstream indie songs that everyone knows because it's been overplayed on XRT" not because it was untrue, but because it was insulting. And it was only until recently that I realized how ridiculous that feeling was.

On my Indieness playlist on Spotify you'll find just one song by Alabama Shakes, and I'm pretty sure you know which one it is. You'll also find several of Florence + The Machine's hits, The Cranberries' "Linger" and Vampire Weekend's "A Punk." Yeah, I'm into some pretty mainstream indie music. But I listen to what I listen to because at the end of the day, all I want is to sit with a cup of tea and listen to Ezra Koenig's voice while creating a giant to do list for tomorrow. I like what I like, and I'm not going to let anyone shame me because of that.

Whether you're into Taylor Swift or Igor and the Red Elvises, Mumford & Sons or Daft Punk, you have the right to enjoy what you enjoy and you shouldn't let anyone make you feel otherwise. Billboard hits are awesome, so are tunes made in garages in the summertime by teenagers who will never get famous.

Let's not make music one of those things that determines a person's worth. People are already finding enough ways to do it otherwise.

No comments:

Post a Comment