Awhile ago, I posted on Facebook a joke that wasn’t a joke.
It says hipsters. But, it almost feels like it should say “millennials.” Let’s all sit here and stew in whether or not those are two different things…
Before I spin off into a discussion about why you shouldn’t trust anything a hipster says about existential philosophers, let’s change course.
Last weekend, I…DID..A…THING!
That’s right, people. I actually left the house. It’s sort of a big deal. I don’t like going places. I prefer staying with my cats. I have hint of agoraphobia that manifests itself as a constant worry of whether or not I locked the door when I left. I’d rather just not leave the house.
But, I did.
I went to a free concert. (Fill in your own tangent about how many free things there are to do in LA)
The concert was part of the 2018 Pershing Square Summer Concert Series. Other acts over the course of the summer included The Bangles, Pat Benatar, and the concert I went to: Spin Doctors and Smash Mouth.
I didn’t consider myself a big fan of either of those bands. I’m one of those on the outskirts yelling, “Play the one song we all know!” because that’s the one that got them on the radio. And, of course, we all know the Smash Mouth song from Shrek (which is really the Smash Mouth song from Mystery Men, but I digress). I rolled into the venue, had my one overpriced Blue Moon, sat on one of the park’s retaining walls, and grooved on late 90’s/early 00’s rock surrounded by downtown LA skyscrapers while planes drifted overhead on their way to the airport.
I took one 10 second video.
When I sent that video to a sibling, he told me that people only pay to see Smash Mouth concerts sarcastically.
First, is he right?
I have no way to prove this. Maybe he’s just being sarcastic about people being sarcastic? The only problem is that it sounds reasonable. There’s always a chance that he’s wrong.
Second, maybe he is right?
Back in the early ’10s, there was this wave of hipsters liking things “ironically.” They would say they were wearing a Chip and Dale t-shirt ironically. They went to screenings of Back to the Future ironically. They only liked certain bands ironically.
Before you think I’m making this up, I’m at least 95% sure I’ve heard someone say this in real life. But, I live in Hollywood, so that’s the sort of person I overhear.
Third, if he is right, why? Why don’t hipsters simply like what they like?
I loved Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers. Want me to sing the song for you? I’ll do it.
I love Back to the Future.
And, I didn’t realize when I decided to go to the concert, Smash Mouth was sort of KoRn Lite when I was younger. I liked KoRn, but they had that parental advisory barrier-to-entry sticker on it. Smash Mouth was a little safer, a bit more accessible, but not as sticky-sweet pop as Britney Spears and Nsync. I knew more of their songs than I thought I did. And, they leaned into their hits with the expectation of audience participation.
I think there is a fear that, if we like something, we will be criticized for enjoying it. To protect ourselves from that criticism, we say we like something, gauge the reaction, and, if someone else doesn’t respond the way we want, we immediately pull it back.
I judge you for judging me judging you based on something you have judged for yourself.
It says more about a person if they can only enjoy something because other people like it, too.
Be unapologetic. Like what you like. Don’t waste time liking something because people tell you that you should.
If that were the case, I would consider Batman Begins a good movie and would acknowledge that Ed Sheeran is famous.
What do you unapologetically like? What have you been mocked for liking? Also, is Nickelback bad or do I just think they’re bad because everyone says they are?
While cleaning out my closet, I found something.
Round, shiny objects with holes in the center. I’m not exactly sure what their purpose is. They are called, “Compact discs”.
That’s right. I discovered my high school collection of CD’s. It’s possible that I bought one or two in college, but I doubt it.
I’ve been known to rock out to some old school Britney Spears. And, N*Sync circa ’99? Forget about it. Everyone thought the world was about to end, but we were more concerned with Bye, Bye, Bye.
I remember the Christmas when I got my first discman. It was a life-changing experience. I listened to music almost constantly (still do). It wasn’t long until I wore out that first one and had to upgrade to a Sony Sport Discman, the one with the big lock on the front. The one that the tank could drive over…
Now my hard won albums will be making their way to Half-Price Books, to fulfill someone else’s collection. Here’s a look at the big ‘uns.
1. The Bubble Gum
All the essentials. Genie in a Bottle, …Baby, One More Time, Say My Name. Do you remember Destiny’s Child? You know, back before Beyonce put a ring on it?
I don’t know if I would say I wore these albums out, but they definitely found their way to my ears on more than one occasion.
I even had the N*Sync Christmas album. That’s made you popular in college. Well, if you hung out with the right people.
2. The Rebellion
I had my Korn period. My Nirvana phase. My *cough* Limp Bizkit phase. Hey, I was young. And, I was at that impressionable age when all that stuff gets pushed into your head.
Anyone up for a Nookie lyric rap battle? It’s in there. Right behind Gettin’ Jiggy Wit’ It.
3. The Essentials
So, maybe I made a few questionable choices, but you can’t call me completely tasteless. My mother grew up on the Rolling Stones and Motown, which means I did, too. As a result, I’m a diehard Jagger fan and the Beatles can kiss…nah, the Beatles are all right.
Forty Licks, Janis Joplin, Jackson 5. They all stack up.
4. The Soundtracks
Oh my God, I did not realize how much of a soundtrack junky I was until I stared into the box. Harry Potter, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Titanic, Moulin Rouge, Sound of Music, Singing in the Rain. I started to dip into musicals there, didn’t I?
I’ve transferred all this stuff to my computer and forgotten about it. It’s time to share my music collection. The gems (Dresden Dolls) and the not-so-awesome (N*Sync/Britney combo that came with a Happy Meal).
I like to think my taste in music has evolved since then but turn on Livin’ La Vida Loca or Mambo no. 5, and I’ll be on my feet in no time.
Do you have any guilty music pleasures?
I’m a little bit in love with rampant fatalism. Why is the idea of the end of the world so attractive? It seems like everyone wants to see humanity come to its inevitable end at the hand of some violent, foreseeable (preventable?) catastrophe.
And, I’m not just talking about the whole 2012 Mayan thing.
I think humanity can only exist with the looming threat of complete disaster. I mean it. Check here. We are constantly expecting the other shoe to drop. I suppose that makes the first shoe our existence in general.
I don’t believe that 2012 will be the end of humanity, Earth, the way we do things, what have you. I do wonder what the next big prediction will be after 2012 (*cough* moon breaking orbit *cough).
Instead of focusing on major catastrophe, though, I’d like to focus on the small ones that are expected in our lifetime (not ending in 2012). This list is courtesy of my mother forwarding me emails. I hit unsubscribe, but it hasn’t caught on.
6 Things that will Disappear in Our Lifetime
1. The Post Office
Regardless, here’s your call to action:
Save the Mail
Every week, go over your Tweets. Compile them into one convenient document and send them to your top twenty followers. All @replies should also be compiled and mailed directly to the intended recipient. I purpose this stamp.
2. The Check
I agree. This is useless. Dump it.
3. The Newspaper
Two words: coffee shops. What else are people going to glance at while they wait for their coffee?
Oh, and there’s nothing better to start a camp fire/cozy house fire with. Papier mache! Birdcages! Lining the table before commencing art projects! You don’t know what you’re talking about. The newspaper’s not going anywhere.
4. The Book
I’m not even going to take this one seriously.
5. The Land Line Telephone
Refer to answer for #2-The Check
I could write a whole blog post on this alone. Disgruntled curmudgeons (read: old people) seem to get it in their heads that when the music they like is in decline, all of music is in decline. You are wrong. Music is a staple in human society. We have made music for thousands of years. We will always make music.
This is an example of putting business too close to art. It’s like saying, “If there aren’t any newspapers, there will be no news.”
That’s not how it works. Don’t equate an industry with the actual artistic expression.
You can argue all you want. Like I said, I love the fatalists, the doom-predictors, the naysayers. I also think you’re getting all worked up over nothing. And that’s exactly what our alien overlords intended.
Chill out, guys. We’re going to be fine.
As I near the end of Daniel Levitin’s This Is Your Brain On Music, I recall certain memories with great emotional implications. Without getting too deep into the book content, our ears connect to the parts of the brain that determine movement, which, in turn, is connected to emotion.
It’s complicated and interesting. Someone should write a book about it…oh, wait.
Music is the great equalizer.
Back when I was just a wee lass on a college campus, I had yet to connect with anyone. I had purposely chosen a college that was over 1,000 miles from home. I knew no one. My schedule was 19 hours (the norm was 16), I was apathetic toward my roommate, and my stomach was tied into a knot of apprehensive fear.
The first day of classes, I made my way to Phelps Hall to experience the culinary perfection that is college dining. I clutched my tray, white knuckled, and slunk into a seat in the corner with the prayer, “Please don’t let anyone notice me. Please let someone come talk to me.”
Lesson number 1: Not many people show up to lunch within the first half-hour of open hours.
That was fine. I’m not really that sociable anyway. I had a book with me.
Then, something amazing happened.
As most common eating areas are wont to do, music was piped in through the speakers. In most cases, these speakers are tuned to either something everyone will enjoy (like a top 40 station) or something everyone will hate (like the college radio station). By lucky happenstance, it was set to top 40 and I was sitting under a speaker.
Lesson number 2: Everyone knows Tainted Love by Soft Cell.
I started a head bob, nothing too overt.
Then, something magical happened.
Someone slammed their fist down on the table in time to the music. You know the part. You did it in your head right then.
As the song continued, so did the pounding. By the end, everyone in the dining hall was banging a tray, stomping their feet, and singing along.
I was nearly in tears, thinking: ‘My people…I have found them.’
There was a piano in the dining hall, and, over the course of my college career, there were several sing-alongs. (My school had a ridiculously successful music program and about half of the student population had either a music-related minor or major)
My last visit to Phelps Hall for the Up-All-Night Breakfast, senior year, days before graduation, I entered with my group of friends that I had cultivated over the years. We wore joutfits (for those of you who don’t know, a joutfit is an outfit of all one color). We took the stage and sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Needless to say, we had a supportive audience. It was magical. It was amazing.
It was something I will never forget.
I feel I must pay tribute to one of the greatest decades of all time. Despite attending high school and college in the 00’s (how do we say that, by the way? The double oh’s?) I feel like most of my generations fondest memories come from the pre-2000s. A lot of college was spent reminiscing about the good ol’ days, when Stephanie proclaimed “How rude!”
Ah, yes. Girl Power, a prince born in West Philadelphia, and TGIF was the best lineup on television. We didn’t have playlists, we had mix tapes.
But, if I had to pick the one thing that has stuck with me from the 90s is the Jock Rock/ Jock Jams compliations.
A wonderment of audio fantasy. Sure, not all of the songs were from the 90s, but the idea was.
I recently went to a Rangers/Tigers playoff game. They played the beat from “We Will Rock You” at least five times.
Dare I ask: Where are the stadium anthems of today?
Where is the new Final Countdown? Who hasn’t yelled “Aye, oh, let’s go!” and mumbled through the rest of Blitzkrieg Bop while passing beer and peanuts down to that guy in the middle of the row?
My Tamogatchi died, my Beanie Babies are worthless, and the only time I do the Macarena is at wedding receptions. Lame, lame wedding receptions.
In the world of Jock Jams, the 90s are never over.
And, there’s no better way to get pumped up.