I’m getting sick of your attitude. You know who you are. You hip scenesters with your Urban Outfitters clothes, messenger bag, dyed black hair in your face, and significant other who shares the same taste in haircut. Well guess what, I’ve been here covering bands since you were still in your nu-metal (or Backstreet Boys) phase, and yeah, I’m female and I may be wearing a sweater, but I’m way more pretentious than you are.
Indie rock has become a backstabbing, quick to judge, league of hypocrites built on snobbery, ironic tees, and the blood of virgins. “Indie,” which used to simply define independent music, is now a mere fashion statement camouflaged as a lifestyle. The thrill of discovering a new band has given away to the thrill of finding that perfect pair of retro sneakers. Insulting someone’s lack of indie quality is now commonplace on college campuses and in dirty rock clubs and record stores. Pretentiousness has become a source of pride.
There is no room for this elitist attitude in rock; it destroys the significance of music.
The indie league does not like to be judged by their “thrift store” clothing and perfectly-mussed jet black do, but if I go to a record store after work in my office-monkey uniform, I get glares and chuckles. I feel all eyes, peering through thick-rimmed glasses, focused on me as I flip through Clash and Beatles records. I know they’re making excuses as to why I’m there; I cannot be a musical equal! A girl in pink cannot possibly have a vinyl collection! Apparently, wearing khakis takes away all knowledge of seminal punk bands, up-and-coming British imports, and Led Zeppelin.
If I buy the latest issue if Spin at the local convenience store, one pretentious clerk must say something sarcastic to the other pretentious clerk while ignoring my ability to hear- generally something along the lines of “That Bright Eyes is like the best songwriter ever!” or “The Killers are amazing. I saw them on TRL last week and was BLOWN AWAY” to insinuate that I am a misguided wannabe buying Spin as my new bible to becoming indie. Little do they know, I occasionally buy Spin because I am in love with Chuck Klosterman. It has nothing to do with the band on the cover. Besides, I know these guys probably have a two-year subscription each – they wouldn’t want to miss out on the next Strokes.
If a band makes it big after being nurtured in the underground, indie hipsters are no longer allowed to listen to them or even admit their artistic merit. They must reject this band and anyone who likes them; this band has sold out. Call me optimistic, but I believe a band can grow, improve, and gain exposure without bowing to MTV and the almighty dollar. It may not happen often, but it can. Hipster thinking, however, is dependent on the maintenance of the most obscure, and therefore superior, tastes. It’s all about how they look to others. Once a non-indie type has heard of a band, they have lost what made them superior.
Enough is enough; screw this “indie is a lifestyle” crap. Check your elitist attitude at the door and leave the pettiness and superficial judging to the cliques at your local high-school. Indie is a type of music, and those who enjoy this music should focus on just that. It is fine if you no longer listen to an overexposed band, but you cannot take away their artistic merit or pretend you never liked them in the first place. Listen to what you like, keep digging in the underground for something new, stop buying overpriced faux-vintage clothing, and save your attitude for “the man.”
I’m not the enemy.