My thoughts on ‘newer’ indie music scene

Ben Skipworth

I’ve had over a week now to soak in the results of the GRAMMYs. It has not only confirmed that smaller, but still amazing, bands can win big, but has also helped me define a generation of music fans. It was awesome to see bands like Mumford and Sons, Arcade Fire, The Black Keys, and Florence and The Machine nominated for awards. It was even cooler to see some of them win. But, like every great story, there is a twist.

This year’s GRAMMYs really brought up some suppressed memories from deep in the back of my mind. It reminded me of some of the most annoying fans in the world, and I’m not necessarily talking about Dave Matthews’ fans. I’m actually referring to the “I listened to them first,” or “I listened to them like two years ago” fans.

It’s not quite “that guy,” who I will define in a future editorial, but it is a new, aromatic Starbucks blend of characteristics from various stereotypes within our culture.

For some weird reason, high school kids and hipsters get a gigantic charge out of knowing exactly how long they’ve beat you to the musical punch line. They’re like the person that always interrupts you as you get to a familiar point in your joke by looking around at the group and saying, “I know this one.” Thanks, I appreciate that, Buzz Killington.

In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter that you’ve listened to Mumford and Sons longer than I have? It shouldn’t, but it chafes me worse than sitting through a post-“Face Off” Nicholas Cage movie. It’s like producers are all coming up to him with great ideas. I’m sure the movie pitch goes something like this.

Hey, Nick Cage, we’ve got this great new role for you. This time you travel in a slightly faster mode of transportation, your hair is slightly thinner than it was in your last flick, you try to target a group outside the realm of your relatable audience and all the while sustain your Garbage Pail Kid-like appearance.

It’s not like their older music is going anywhere. It’s not like 2012 is upon us. It’s not like the city of Los Angeles is about to be covered in a molten hot magma and it’s up to Tommy Lee Jones to save our feeble, meaningless lives. None of this is happening. I feel safe in saying that their older, “better” music will still be here for me to enjoy just like their newest album.

The “I listened to them first” fan also coincides with the “They sold out” fan. Listen, your musical hero has to eat, too. Besides, you try touring full time and playing the same song continuously for an entire year. It would get pretty stale. Sometimes, musicians just need to change up the daily grind.

I guess I just needed to get this all off my chest, but if you were to glean anything, I’d want it to be this: the music is amazing, no matter when you first listened.