Thursday, August 31, 2006

Hipster Antagonism Day

Every couple of years a terrible doom descends upon the offices of the tastemakers at Pitchfork Media, and to a lesser extent those of their second rate counterparts at the Onion AV Club. For every now and again, when the conditions are just right, a new Radiohead album is released. (For the purposes of this discussion, we're going to treat Thom Yorke's solo record as if it were a Radiohead album.)


You see, when such an album is released the hippest of the hip find themselves in a seemingly inescapable quandary. On one hand Radiohead are one of those most repugnant and vile beasts - a popular band, but on the other hand they achieved this popularity while deliberately moving to a less commercial sound. And it must also be considered that they have a more or less unassailable status down on the 'hipster street'. Caught between these opposing forces, the beleaguered music writers must figure out how to write a review (and write a review they must, for they have a reputation to maintain and ignoring such an important release would not go uncommented) without being seen to either non-ironically enjoy popular music or to appear as if they 'don't get' an unconventional band. So what can they do? The answer is obvious once it is presented: write a few snide paragraphs mocking both the Radiohead faithful who would spend good money to hear Thom Yorke read the phone book and mainstream audiences who can't handle the quirky direction Radiohead has gone in over the last few years, while conveniently forgetting to offer an opinion of their own on whether it's any good or not.


And lest I be found guilty of what I'm condemning: Yes, Thom Yorke's album is great. It somehow manages to take moody glitchy electronica accompanied by his trademark wailing and turn it into agreeable listening.


The hipster elite save their real venom for other bands, in particular Muse. For a long time I couldn't figure out where all the Muse Hate was coming from, after all, I consider them the closest thing to indie amongst my music collection. However after listening to their new album Black Holes and Revelations it finally clicked: Muse are the new Pink Floyd, and as such they shall forever be the Moby Dick to hipsterisms Captain Ahab.


In order to understand the reasons behind this we need to go on a little historical digression. Many years ago Sid Vicious famously called Pink Floyd a bunch of dinosaurs and used them as an example of the kind of music that punk came about in order to destroy (members of the Sex Pistols later admitted that they were actually OK with Pink Floyd, but they were a convenient target with which to refer to 70s stadium rock as a whole). Too effete to like real punk music, hipsters nevertheless revere it as the forerunner to their beloved 80s new wave, and every throw away statement by a real punk is therefore a holy statute to be followed without question. Since the real Pink Floyd are sadly retired, the hatred is transferred to Muse.


*** Wildebeest Asylum Handy Hint ***


If you're planning on going to a party or a bar where you may encounter hipsters, bring along a copy of Pink Floyd's The Wall in order to protect yourself from unwanted attention by these scourges of the music scene. If one approaches you, simply brandish the album with all the strength of your spiritual convictions, and this unparalleled icon of classic rock indulgence (Led Zeppelin may work in a pinch too) will cause the hipster to retreat into its cardigan, leaving you to either make your escape or to beat it to death with a blunt object, as you see fit.

*****


It is therefore with great sadness that I must concede a lone victory to Pitchfork Media and the hipster community as a whole. You are correct. The new Muse album sucks arse. It is an overwrought parody of the greatness of Origin of Symmetry, Hullabaloo and Absolution, all of which by the way, you are still completely wrong about.

13 comments:

andrew brown said...

Hmm, I just ask people if they like Lamb of God or Slayer, and they stop talking to me. I'm not hip

Skarnz said...

You can play the same game real well with Cannibal Corpse or Cradle of Filth, but you might be a bit stuck if you ever run into someone who's into those guys...

andrew brown said...

Huh? I actually like my bands so if I found people that liked that at a party where everyone else was knob jockies then we could go smoke a bowl and thrash out.

Joel said...

Well I confess to liking alot of hipster music - but then I also don't bag music I don't listen to.

Actually wait, I do. Commercial rap and bubblegum pop-music after the 90s I loath.

I liked Muse. Unfortunately when I was really into them I was in a fucked up headspace so can't seem to seperate the two.

Jon said...

Yeah running into metalheads at parties can be annoying too, since you have to prove how 'true' you are by saying what bands you like and how many churches you've burned down etc etc...

And it's OK Joel, I forgive you. As long as you don't listen to the Arctic Monkeys.

andrew brown said...

I guess I'm not a true metal head because I wear colours that aren't black and can confess to enjoying Jewels Pieces of You

when people ask me what i think of what other people think of me i just quote the honourable dr. dre "i just don't give a fuck"

Joel said...

I feel relieved of my musical guilt, thank you Jon!

BTW, I will now call you: "jonzrpky" as that is the word verification that came up.

Jon said...

Jewel is still cooler than the Arctic Monkeys. And jonzrpky is a cool nickname. I hope you don't have too much trouble pronouncing it in real life.

Jacob said...

Muse are one of my favourite bands, and although not completely happy with the black holes album i don't agree with sucks arse comment. they do delve into the softer tracks a little too frequently and indie-styles a tad, however the genuine rock tracks they are capable of are excellent (although admittedly lacking in this album) to at least give the album an average rating in my book. hopefully they don't go down the radiohead path (he does sound like yorke) but what do i know, i liked radiohead before they went experimental and 'apparently' they make better music now anyway.

Jungle Rhino said...

Jon I would pay you a lot of money to get an Emo haircut and sing Dashboard Confessional for me.

andrew brown said...

I too have heard that gay porn pays well...

Jon said...

My fee for gay porn would be far cheaper than what you'd have to pay me to get an emo haircut, let alone sing Dashboard Confessional.

And Jacob, I was going to admit that 'sucks arse' was too strong a description and suggest that 'Black Holes' only sucks arse in comparison to their other albums, until I read your last sentence. Get the fuck off my blog.

Skarnz said...

What's this 'fee' that you speak of?

Oh, you mean for when there are cameras around?