October 19, 2004
Are You Scared to Get Happy?

While I was in London, I neglected to note the 10-year anniversary of the indiepop list. Cyberspace anniversaries tend to go unnoticed, but I felt this one shouldn't, because with the exception of the Indie List, no online community was more important or influential to me for most of the 1990s. I learned more about music and met more interesting people than I ever would have imagined possible. (I also learned more about online community behavior, or dysfunction, than I ever thought possible, but that's another post, or perhaps a book. Example: Enjoy recent list archives here, but try to overlook the gay marriage flame war, the "who owns the word 'popfest'" argument, and other inanities.)

Indiepop was not in the lexicon of the Southern Indiana music scene in pre-Internet days, so it seemed exotic to me. It was wearying (and still is) to try to have to explain it, though. (Here are a few examples: a history of an influential label and the endless attempt to self-define. This article does a pretty good job of explaining the early British origins, and this long-delayed compilation, which I looked for, fruitlessly, in London, unearths some of the players.)

A few more links of interest:

While not specifically limited to indiepop, the sensibility is well represented here. See also this zine. Also, indie MP3s here.

So happy birthday, indiepop list. Long may you trainspot. But even observing the anniversary is making me feel old, although the primary mode of this genre is youthfulness (and, some would say, juvenalia). Does longevity mean that the moment has already passed us by? TMN would say so:

See, I just don't think kids in bands in college are thinking, "How can I be more like Mission to Burma and Galaxie 500?" They're thinking, "How can I plug Fruity Loops into Reason? How should I sample Radiohead? How can I make some orchestral shit?" Ted Leo and the Pharmacists is music for 35 year olds. Frank Black is just a middle-aged fat guy now. He's like an indie Stevie Nicks. And Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach, together at last? Jack White and Loretta Lynn? It's like when Elvis sang "My Way." How can you be the voice of your generation when you dust off someone from the generation before?

I have a sinking suspicion that this may be true. But at least I wasn't scared to get happy.

Posted at October 19, 2004 07:49 PM