by carl wilson

Fearful Rock

After the non-talk talk about "indie music" this week, I've been thinking about what people mean most of the time today when they use the term, converting it from economic category into genre, this new loose genre that encompasses the likes of Arcade Fire, Death Cab, the Shins, Iron & Wine, etc. Often what unites them is a fearfulness, a sense of vulnerability, preciousness, fragility - but also a kind of open, eager curiosity, at their best (and emo suckiness at their worst). And then I suppose there's the escapist indie-kids-dancing complement to that, along with the internal art-noise opposition. It's all very different than the skeptical anger of the last alternative-goes-mainstream crop a decade ago, aka grunge, and I do think you can use these things as cultural mood rings - their shading can indicate something about what the population that's listening to the music (educated white kids) is feeling, what they generally hear as an accurate self portrait. I can't actually think of any time in rock history where fearfulness was so part of the music - paranoia channelled into aggression, sure, but not this shrinking-violet affect, with its isolationist overtones and so on. (For instance there's a claim that the generation coming of age right now is super-confident and assertive, so self-deprecation and a sense of encroaching doom may serve as the usual kind of peer-group dissent/outlet. And of course there's the new-millennial terror/losing-side-of-the-culture-war element.) I'm not eager to praise or condemn it tonight, just chalking its outlines on the board, wondering where it intersects the rest of the diagram.

But man, what a terrible, terrible baseball team the Arcade Fire would be.

News | Posted by zoilus on Wednesday, July 27 at 11:58 PM | Linking Posts




Zoilus by Carl Wilson