All of us do something that’s part of a trend, some of us more so than others. Most of us do nothing unless it’s been pre-approved by a gazillion other cookie-cutter scenesters. This continues to be the case as ideas are born and worn into the ground by drones too boring to have the ideas in the first place, thus setting individuality at an all-time-low. There are no true outsiders. What you are doing, creatively, is part of a big dumb movement, so don’t get all high and mighty about what you incorrectly perceive to be original. There exists no more fertile ground for lemmings than the music industry. Let’s take a cursory look.
The Tastemaker Trend
Is there anyone out there who checks out a band just because Thurston Moore says it’s good? What about the seemingly golden tastes of David Byrne? (Clap Your Hands Say No Thanks.) Morrissey? He wanted to see the New York Dolls so bad that he talked them into reuniting, which wins the award for most useless of all new albums and most pathetic of all live performances. I saw one, and it was like watching a nursing-home common area in the midst of tantric sex. Can’t you people think for yourselves? Twenty years from now, post-career-slump Sufjan Stevens will be getting label deals for naïve, rehashed-beyond-belief early-20-somethings, and people will be listening. You’ve been warned, but I won’t be around. By that point, I’ll have lost my mind and will be living in a shack in the woods listening to battered KLF cassingles.
The Classic-Album-Performance Trend
Not to pick on the members of Sonic Youth, who, deep down, I love. They’re performing their untouchable Daydream Nation in its entirety for the Don’t Look Back concert series this summer. But consider other acts that have been invited to participate in this paper tiger of an idea. I’m not trying to make you laugh when I write that Girls Against Boys will be performing … will be performing … will be performing what? I can’t even name a GvsB album. While we’re at it, let’s round up Monsterland for a blow through Destroy What You Love, or maybe Sammy can be cajoled into performing Tales Of Great Neck Glory. (Naturally, those references make me 10 times more depressing than anything I make fun of.)
The Reunion Trend
The reformation of long-defunct bands is as needless as the continuation of others. What’s worse, the re-emergence of the Happy Mondays or another Fucking Champs album? Has anyone’s life been altered, in any way, by a new Stars Of The Lid record? Who’s going to buy the new Buffalo Tom release? The same 10 people who bought Birdbrain? Are the Kirkwood brothers back together to hurt the feelings of Meat Puppets fans? R.E.M. is still at it? So much happens that doesn’t need to. So much energy could be redirected elsewhere. Is there a secret society somewhere just handing out bad ideas? So many forgotten skidmarks on the tighty-whities of pop culture.
The Björk Trend
Why is there an omnipresent force funneling accolades at this aesthetic offspring of Kate Bush, Yoko Ono and a chick-lit protagonist? In the ‘90s, Björk’s music was the “weird” lowest common denominator that united dorm rooms across the nation; now it unites single women in their mid-30s. Plus, Björk has inspired legions of girls to act like little forest creatures; she’s almost like a logical extension of that loathsome unicorn fad. I have a problem understanding women to begin with; I don’t need some squeaking or high-pitched murmurings to further confuse the process. Get a good gander at the outfits Björk has been wearing lately? It looks like someone tarred the nymph and threw her into a Fire Island garbage dumpster.
The Sneaker Trend
Maybe you’ve heard that New Balance released a Joy Division sneaker in April. Does it come with a special sole designed to slip off of chair seats? In February, Nike issued a Dinosaur Jr high-top shoe, which makes even less sense. I’d be willing to bet a little toe that J Mascis doesn’t play sports. Dinosaur Jr Dunks come with laces and stitching in the band’s trademark purple. Look out Alice Walker: It seems Mascis has the copyright on the color purple.
The Exercise Trend
LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy also got into bed with Nike for an absurdly long “workout” track. Hipsters are insane about working out, a trend that seemed to start at the same time that hipsters became insane about doing cocaine. But I can’t get behind this working-out thing. I like to exercise, sure. I stay in relatively good shape, but yoga, pilates and yogalates—have you seen what this shit does to the female body? Not sure about the hetero male readers out there, but I’m not attracted to the female body when it looks like a giant length of rope. Or Iggy Pop. Lou Reed just released an album designed specifically for yoga workouts, T’ai Chi, massage therapy and meditation. How I long for the days when Reed rocked a Joe Piscopo jheri curl and a guitar with no headstock.
The Comedians And Music Trend
I’m not exactly sure when comedy got into bed with indie rock. Maybe when Janeane Garofalo was dating that guy in Muckafurgason? Wow, did you just read that sentence? These days, shit’s out of hand. Ask any hot young comedian or comedienne what they’re listening to and you’re likely to get a list with striking similarities to a Grey’s Anatomy soundtrack CD.