This post from LA Weekly about the ’20 Worst Hipster Bands’ is making the rounds today, and for good reason; it’s remarkably prescient. A lot of these bands didn’t even exist back in 2005 when this must have been written, a time when the concept of hipster band jokes seemed fresh.
Who are these hipsters we see each day in the streets, on our Tumblr feeds, and on the local news? And why are so many in bands? It’s not the mere existence of hipster groups that distresses us — some of our best friends are hipsters, after all — it’s their lemming-like tendency to, if you’ll pardon a mixed metaphor, ape each other.
All good questions, LA Weekly. Some other good ones that just occurred to me: Who are these bloggers I see each day on my Twitter feed? And why are so many writing pointless slide-show link bait nothingness? And does writing about them writing about things like that make us even worse? How many of these types of pieces have we written ourselves? Should we be ashamed of that, too? It’s not the mere existence of self-hating hipster bloggers that distresses us—some of our best friends are content generators, slinging endless loads of meaningless drivel onto the internet—it’s their hack-like tendency to, if you’ll pardon a mixed metaphor, not be good at their jobs.
“On its surface hipsterdom seems to be an individuality-grab, but most of today’s 20 and 30-something bands from Silver Lake and Williamsburg sound shockingly similar,” it continues, in a resoundingly defiant stance against originality in listicle intro graphs, which is hopefully a meta-commentary on the impossibility of originality in writing.
“They’re all playing variations of retro garage and soul music,” much like 95% of all the other rock bands in the history of the world, who were also, you know, playing variations on two of the original styles of rock music, “or bringing glockenspiels and choirs on incestuous nationwide tours—all the while clad in vintage garb likely infested with lice.” Because hipsters like vintage clothes and are dirty, is what that joke, actually written in 2012, is pointing out.
“We’re not saying that they should be outlawed by, like, Congress or something. Just that they should be avoided. Here then, is our field guide to the worst offenders.”
Here’s my guide to the worst piece of music writing you’ll read online today: That one thing I just wrote about in all those paragraphs up there.
Go check it out and learn about important bands that all the kids are into now, like middle-aged lifers Death Cab for Cutie, The Decemberists, and TV on the Radio, as well as hot new up and comers like Bright Eyes, hipster-party favorites Pomplamoose, groundbreaking outre acts Fun., and Beirut, who I guess are still a band, and your hipster younger sister’s new obsessions, Bon Iver and Arcade Fire. Maybe a better title for this post would have been ’20 Bands We’ve Heard of That We Had Passable Bits for and Wrote About Because We Needed a Reason to Drive Clicks this Week’?
Bonus Question: How many of the sentences in these 20 blurbs do you think use the “Sure, but” structure to imply self-awareness that what they’re saying ‘may be a little out there,” and ‘I know what you guys are going to think…”? I’m putting the over/under at 18.
Related: I don’t want to be a music writer anymore.