On Sunday night, I spent 3.5 hours in front of the TV because I had a feeling that something special was going to happen at the Grammys. Not just the standard 'moments created 4 mainstreamers' like some boy band reuniting, or an old rock star singing with a new buzzband representing a bridge 2 the past or something like that. I wanted to be there, just in case I got to experience the moment when 'the mainstream' not only 'accepted indie music', but also said, "Listen… yall are way better and kewler than us… Go ahead and have our most prestigious award."
For the past _ years, I have listened to indie music, been on a never-ending quest to discover buzzbands before they were mainstream and potentially harvest them as they matured in2 a crop that provided our society with mad benefits. It is more than just constructing my identity in an attempt 2 control consumer forces before they shape me--it is my identity at the point. It is more than just some 2k0s hipster bashing meme. I form a deep, emotional connection with these bands, because I see enough potential in them to share them with my closest friends who share a similar taste in musical aesthetics. Even though I am usually willing to turn on these bands when they release a cheesy, overbranded album that 'bastardized' the indie aesthetic that we once thought was meaningful/flop on their misguided follow-up album, meaningful indie buzzbands are sort of like an old girlfriend who you let see a side of you that doesn't exist any more. You got naked with them and had weird, vulnerable sex with them. You got really emotional and were willing to share a naive vision of what you thought the future would be like… together.
Do you ever wish you could go live your life knowing what it would feel like to have stayed with your ex-lover/ex-buzzband instead of just flippantly laughing at who you once thought you were? Why are you afraid of the U that U used to be?
COMPLETE ARCADE FIRE DISCOGRAPHY
▪ Funeral (2004)
▪ Neon Bible (2007)
▪ The Suburbs (2010)
(Can't believe it only took 3 albums and ~6 years… Feels way longer/shorter. "I must be getting older.")
Whether or not I 'actively like' the Arcade Fire at this point isn't even important. Whether I am an 'authentic Funeral fan', an 'educated Neon Bible fan', or a 'post-post-ironic authentic The Suburbs fan', I knew I had to be watching. Every hour I had logged in the past 6 years to find new bands, to find new websites that wrote abt bands, to engage in discussions with close friends and random people on the internet about who was 'relevant' and who was 'forgettable'… This was the moment that would make it 'all worth it.' Being an indie music fan meant being more active than just turning on a radio and accepting the content stream provided by a lame radio station… I had created my own content stream and authentic values system which was about to override 'the mainstream.'
I wanted to see the Arcade Fire win. Not just for a spike in blog hits by lamestreamers googling "Who is Arcade Fire?" or "Arcade Fire Drummer Girl" or "Arcade Fire Sucks"… I wanted to 'feel' again. Like when you go back home for Christmas break and get an emotional handjob from your ex, and for a few moments, you want to cry because you are sort of disappointed in who u r now and how things didn't really work out like you would have wanted them to and these emotions that you forgot existed creep back into your psyche.
What do u remember abt the way u felt abt +discovered music?
▪2k4-2k6 The meaningfulcore era enabled us all to freely enjoy indie music, without having to think too much bat the possibility of it going mainstream. We could all give an indie version of the 'I have a dream' speech about the days when mainstreamers + alts would unite under the same roof to watch the same perfect indie band that transcended genres, race, class, and age. Not too much internet noise.
▪2k6-2k8 The 'positive enlightenment' + transition into positive-wave blogs functioning as tastemakers and allowed us to harvest more indie bands and manufacture buzz at an alarming rate. This helped some bands, probably even to the point that their hype bubble 'burst.'
▪2k9-PRESENT The era where negative vibes, unhealthy self-awareness, SEO inspired blog headlines, and loud opinions often overtake the work/labor of the artists. MP3s = processed as memes. Memes = sharable. Everything means less, but there is more of everything and things are 'way better than they've ever been' but at the same time 'kinda effed up.' Etc. Etc. Etc. 'Yall get it.'
The Arcade Fire Grammy nite offered the chance 2 'turn back the clock.' The dream I once had was abt 2 manifest itself. Would I 'allow myself to reconnect with the past', or would my modern perspective on mindie (mainstream indie) music cut off any chance of 'feeling' any sort of emotion/authentic vibe?
I have written 'memorable posts' about AnCo 'being created by the internet blogosphere', the memefication of buzzbands, 'growing older as an indie fan', overground indie, and even the previously most-historic meme moment in the modern indie-sphere, which was Kanye West receiving a 10.0 from Pitchfork. Arcade Fire Grammy nite seemed like it had the potential to be 'the final act' of indie. Offer us some closure. Yes, indie had 'gone mainstream' due to infiniti-ass reasons and there was no point 2 really 'beat a dead horse'/'blog a dead meme' by trying to explain how/why/when/who… But what if this moment could help me (the human, not the person on the internet who types out whatever I am feeling) go back in time? Help me 2 remember…
Remember 'why' I even 'give a shit' abt all of this 'buzzband bullshit.'
So they won...
So the Arcade Fire is now the #1 band in the world. They have succeeded as a brand by exposing their brand name to the largest audiences possible. They will play the Super Bowl within the next 2 years. Young bands want to be them. Old bands like U2 probably want to sound like them. Lamestreamers reacted. Indie fans reacted. Blogs reacted. Blah blah blah noise opinions. Lame blogs were 'excited' about the victory because they still live in the past. Progressive blogs offered some 'snarky, insightful/distanced take that offered some pretty decent commentary on the state_of_indie.'
I was alone with my thoughts and memes. I felt excited and happy, but I am not sure if that is a 'marketable angle' in the modern blogosphere [via entry-level feelings].
I was even willing to forgive Win for 'thanking Canada' even though he is from Texas, and America gave him the inspiration 2 write The Suburbs.
I was willing 2 be happy for these bros. These indie role models. These people living a Canadian, artsy fartsy, yet accepted-by-the-mainstream+financially-successful lifestyle that me + my exGf thought we would accomplish together. I was happy to have been along for the ride, even if I somewhat h8ed them for 40-70% of it.
The moment was sweet. Many memories running thru my head… Nostalgic images of youth [via chillwaves]
Every time I had burned a CD for some1 who wanted to know more abt 'cool, obscure bands' was worth it.
Every time I had purchased a mainstream indie CD that was 'good' for my old parents who were still trying to be 'cool and connected' paid off.
Every time I made fun of some1 for listening to terrible music--I was finally 'right.'
I thought abt every time I had allowed myself to 'get caught up' in an 'epic' live show and wanted to tell some1 what it felt like to be experiencing something like that with so many other ppl.
I thought abt when my bros and I went on that one roadtrip, and listened to some killer albums.
I thought abt the one time when I ran into that one band before they were famous, and they were actually really nice, humble people.
I thought abt the time I made love to my exGF while listening to "Crown of Love" by the Arcade Fire.
I had been along for the ride, since 'Day 1.' Even if it wasn't as Day 1 as your Day 1, it still felt real to me. (Every1 has their own 'I was into the Arcade Fire before [point at which they were less mainstream than they are now].') Don't take that away from me.
For years, I have been 'really into indie music.' I even started a relatively popular blog about indie and alternative music and culture, probably because it is something I care about. Something that I am 'genuinely interested in.' Something that I 'want to promote' and 'see evolve.' But now that the Arcade Fire has won, we can finally take a deep breath, and look back on what exists, what we built, what 'means something', what 'will last forever.'
Maybe it's time 4 me 2 change.
Maybe I should reconnect with the past.
Maybe I should allow myself to get excited abt new music again, instead of just evaluating it on an impossible scale/resenting it if it achieves too much success too soon.
Maybe the buzz blogging hype machine is more efficient + productive than ever… but maybe our vibes + hypercritical analysis won't offer new buzzbands with the long term
I'm not sure what 2 do.
A part of me died a long time ago.
And I'm not sure if it is coming back
There's a real reason that me + my ex broke up
As real as it felt
As much as I want to go back
And it doesn't matter what you think right now
It doesn't matter how you feel right now or in 5 minutes or in 50 years
Right now is still special though
We can chill out
One day you wake up and your stomach hurts
and then it keeps hurting
and then you go to the doctor when you can't hold down your food
and then you find out that you have cancer
and you scramble 2 try to understand
If what you felt meant anything
If what you felt with other people
meant something to those other people
When I die
Please play "Wake Up"
by the Arcade Fire
and let ppl know
that what I once felt
That 'indie' as they know it
Isn't the way it used 2 be
This is a standard generational battle
2 preserve our identity & attempt to control our legacy
but please try to listen to me
and try to understand
That what these blogs/ppl on twitter have been saying
Isn't really how it is/was
One day the internet won't exist
All of the information on it will be gone
.jpgs, .mp3s, .tweets, .blogs, .youtube_videos
And how will 2morrow be able 2 know what our time was like?
Just b4 we go back to the standard buzz<->blog cycle
and b4 we move on 2 whatever is next with technology/music/art/the internet
and b4 we listen to another mp3 with our evolve ears + tastes
and b4 we get back 2 the warped perspective that helps us 2 cope with mini-failures and insecurities
and b4 we go back 2 forgetting everything bc it is the only way to keep moving forward
*Don't ever forget*
Indie used 2 mean something.
The Arcade Fire is a 2k0s indie band that went mainstream because their songs sound like meaningful anthems. They pretend to be Canadian but Win Butler (lead singer) is actually from Houston, TX.