Believe it or not, there was a time before wearing plaid, large plastic framed glasses, listening to vinyl, and wearing skinny jeans with suspenders didn’t garner you the name “hipster.” Those were simpler, quaint times when labels actually meant something. Being a “hipster” meant being alienated from established social groups and activities. A true hipster was different than the norm and was often misheard.
These days, the most ironic thing is that so many people are trying desperately to be a hipster and they’re missing the point of the whole hipster movement. They were SUPPOSED to storm the government halls and bring the corporate world crumbling to its knees, but nooooo! They just had to blow dry their hair a bit longer and pick out one of their many stylish outfits; most likely a sharp looking vest with pin-stripes. The girls had to wear those undeniably sexy tight pants that seem impossible to put on and even more impossible to take off in the heat of the moment, but let’s be real, hipsters don’t have sex. Can’t you see? We’ve lost the point!
If you’re reading this and are angry, thinking to yourself “Hey Dustin (who’s probably wearing that sharp looking thrift store vest that he got for 8.97), I take offense to that! I’m a hipster!” Don’t worry… You’re not a hipster. A true hipster doesn’t call oneself a hipster.
It’s now officially my mandate to start a clean slate of the hipster movement so we can build from the ground up. This is square one and there’s only one way to start it — with the music. If you listen to these songs, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a hipster. I should note, these are all fantastic bands, and I love each and every one of them (like a filthy hipster).
Pixies – “Where Is My Mind?” The Pixies. Where do I begin? They weren’t cool in the ’80s, but if you liked them then, you were on to something. You liked them before they were cool, and that’s a hipster point awarded. They should be in anyone’s music library even if you’re not a hipster (because you’re totally not).
Wilco– “Jesus, Etc.” Fun fact about Wilco’s seminal album “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot”: it’s the first album to be awarded a perfect rating according to Pitchfork.com – this may not mean anything to you, but Pitchfork is an online publication that is run solely by hipsters who use three syllable words to describe their musical taste. It could be touted as “hipster HQ.” So yes, Wilco is hipster, and this is a bitchin’ song.
LCD Soundsystem – “Someone Great” Led by James Murphy, LCD went out on a high and quit making music before they got saturated, which is a very admirable and fresh thing to do in music these days. A great hipster move. Murphy is kind of a godfather among modern music, and if you see his name attached to any artist, you know that song’s going to be tight.
Modest Mouse – “The World At Large” Modest Mouse at times can be the most uplifting band you’ll ever hear, other times they can really make you think about all the stupid things you’ve done. They make you think, and that awards them a hipster point.
Built to Spill – “Car” When their critically lauded album “There’s Nothing Wrong With Love” came out in ’94, it was a different sound to what was blasting out of speakers all around the world – grunge. It’s rather brave of a band to do something original, and stick to their guns. These guys are still doing it, so boom! Hipsters.
The Shins – “New Slang” In the movie Garden State, Zack Braff asks Natalie Portman what she’s listening to. She says “The Shins” and claims “you gotta hear this song, it will change your life. I swear.” She’s absolutely right. The calming sounds of this song will do just that. Say it with me, “The Shins — they’ll change your life.”
Bright Eyes – “Lua” Oh, Bright Eyes. In some circles, the mere mention of this band will have you titled as an emotional sod. Those circles are forgetting that Bright Eyes are comprised of musical geniuses, and make songs with so much sincerity dropping throughout them.
Pavement– “Range Life” Pavement was THE hipster band of the 90’s. They never really made it big, except for their much publicized feud between with Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins. I think if you can insult Corgan in a song (like this one), then you’re one hell of a band.
Neutral Milk Hotel – “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” Okay, just the name of this band alone earns them any hipster point available. Only releasing two albums, frontman Jeff Mangum dissembled the band and drifted into obscurity playing shows sporadically through the years. With the knowledge of this band never getting back together, it adds loads of hipster cred. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this is one of the most beautiful songs ever written and it deserves a listen.
There. Now we can start planning how to crush the corporate world with one fell swoop, but first we’ll need to look good, you’ll need a vest and tight pants. This may take a while…