Features

Musical Hipsters

By ANJALI MAGDULA, freshman

As a teenager battling the struggles of high school, it is almost necessary to have something to support you. Music can be a warm, reassuring friend or a study buddy that accompanies you through long hours of test preparation. Sometimes, however, the idea of a constant comforting companion can turn your attitude from gratefulness to jealous possession. Especially exasperating is radio music, which virtually everyone—including your dad, your grandma, and your cat—has heard. Does the popularity of a song detract from the value it holds in your heart? Do you have a clingy side in you that wants to keep music to yourself rather than share it with the rest of the world? Are you a musical hipster?

When a song gets too popular, it reaches its expiration date for musical hipsters. The song has been thrown out in the open and can be feasted on by anyone and everyone. Knowing that a million too many people are jamming out to “their song” takes away from their own personal connection, especially when that crowd consists of people who don’t share the same passion for the music and just use it as background noise to drown out heavy traffic. To avoid such an abomination, hipsters tend to shield their music from everyone else. Instead of welcoming others to appreciate the music and possibly boost the popularity of an obscure song, they plug in their headphones and tune the world out.

The reality is that these hipsters seek attention and purpose as listeners. Listening is twisted into a commitment rather than a leisure activity. Here emerges the concept of “true fans.” These dedicated followers can recite not only all of the songs in an artist’s new album, but also the full itinerary of the artist’s current tour. Such fans cloud up fan sites in an attempt to prove their musical superiority. Essentially, musical hipsters enjoy holding the ultimate “true fan” status. They perceive other listeners as threats to their purposeful position, and territorial disputes come into play. When you tell hipsters that you like the same band they do, you may find yourself bombarded with an intense interrogation, so be prepared for a battle to determine the more worthy listener.

Musical hipsters pose a threat to the world of music. They stop deserving artists from attaining popularity. More than a handful of precious musical gems may have been “discovered” if these hipsters had shared them with others. In the end, the only person truly hurt is the artist. Instead of fans who affectionately promote and spread music, musical hipsters act like overprotective parents. When artists do make it to the big stage, hipster followers feel that the artist has changed, and sulk away looking for someone less mainstream.

I say to you, dear hipster, maybe it’s time to expose underground music to the general population. With the cooperation of musical hipsters, we could redefine pop culture by introducing new faces and shedding light on a wider range of music.

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