Before I get into the reason you are probably here (the sensationalist title), let me get a bit narcissistic on you guys. Up until the 10th grade, I went to a safe and sanitary Christian school. While I hold less of a Christian style and get a bit sad when I realize the misinformation I was taught there, I hold nothing against that time in my life. But as I said, it was very safe. If anything, I caused more fights than I was forced into, I guess if you could call pressing a smaller person against a wall because he would reveal a crush a “fight.” I also listened to sanitary popularly approved music until people on the internet were like “what the hell, why don’t you listen to x band?” I was an immature kid, and one that followed the whims of people either inside or outside the internet. I hoped indie rock was the sign of my own coolness. After all, TV on the Radio was shockingly popular at my public high school.
I grew a disdain for popular music of the time. My high school nickname was T.I., and while I liked a lot of his music, I couldn’t ever admit that. I mostly rolled my eyes as another person recited the chorus of “You Don’t Know Me” for the 85th time, correctly assuming I was annoyed by it. But even in school, I was mostly alone. I remembered my very brief relationship with a lady who made a lot of spelling errors in her love note to me, because it began on the day that Bloc Party’s A Weekend in the City album was released. I consumed anything that got a high grade on Pitchfork, switched my favorite band from Rage Against the Machine to a mixture of Muse, The Arcade Fire, and The New Pornographers, and rolled my eyes when friends would play me the soundtrack to Rent or an Insane Clown Posse record (this did really happen). While most were attracted at youth to the sounds of punk rock, mine was indie rock that signified the “independent spirit” and wanting to leave town. So of course, I attended the University of Alabama, less than four miles from home.
To make a long story short (too late), my life’s been altered by discovery.
Around two weeks ago, a Twitter account entitled I Hate Indie Rock came on the scene because such an account (like the title of this piece) instantly creates a reaction in people. The account’s bio looks to make this critique seem as pretentious as possible, noting the account is “opposed to the bourgeois selfish privilege orgy that is modern corporate youth culture worldwide.” But let’s dig past the surface to where the (apparently) group is coming from. Their tweets point at an indie rock culture that appears to be, in their eyes, sanitized and safe. This is the exact thing of thing as I mentioned above that drove young me away from the popular kids that I would never be like. It’s probably the reason I hung around pool halls and malls on Friday nights, because it was something popular kids weren’t doing.
Among the posts are desires to make a fanzine, attacks on selling out, and a relative distaste for a safe sound. I’m not going to dig deep other than to say that despite my disagreement (I don’t really care if indie rock is “rebellious” or whatever as long as I still enjoy listening to it.), I can actually see where this is coming from. It’s a bit stupid and overlong with big words and ideas that can’t come to pass, but I remember that this is a valid adolescent way to respond when I was younger. Most of my work is cringe-worthy, because I identified big concepts with intelligence. I tried to write like Chuck Klosterman, take devil’s advocacy to an absurd degree, and use my soapbox in ways that were actually kind of dumb. This all happens. Maybe the zine will be awesome or dumb as a bag of rocks. Maybe it’s trolling for pageviews. Maybe we’re seeing the new standard.
Alas, I don’t hate indie rock.