Wait, Am I a Hipster?

I like exploring new music. And right now I’m really into “Of Monsters and Men” the icelandic band of awesome alternative/indie rock skills. Check out their single, “Little Talks” here.

Pretty good stuff, right? Well they’re getting some popularity and I really like it. But at the same time, it makes me ANGRY. Because I liked listening to them before everyone else. My roommate came in last night and asked me if I’d heard of them. He had been told about them by some girls he was studying with.  Let me say that he’s not exactly the most “hip” when it comes to music. And I know that. It made me mad that he knew about them. That’s a pretty selfish reaction and an admittedly pretentious reaction.  Nevertheless it was how I reacted, and I was faced with a question: Am I a hipster?

I’m not going to try to write one of those “cutting edge” blog posts that “explores” the identity of hipsters.  I’m just trying to figure out what it means to be a “hipster” and if that is even an identity now, or if it’s just a characteristic.  The hipster phase seems to have died down to some extent. Maybe that’s cause I left high school. But as the pretentious Ray Ban glasses and Bon Iver albums got more popular, it was as if every professed hipster fled for their latest copy of Pitchfork and hid.  Yes, I’m writing with a tad twinge of a sardonic tone.  But I’m serious. I just don’t see all the hipsters around that once dominated the flannel sections of clothing stores.  Urban Outfitters must be having trouble.

In all reality, however, my attitudes and artistic taste all point directly to a hipster identity, so I can’t really be very hateful. I hope all my biting comments are read with the knowledge that I’m only poking fun, and honestly poking fun at myself because I want to do all the things that hipsters are consistently stereotyped with.

But does listening to a few indie bands and really liking Radiohead’s most experimental of tracks make me a hipster? Or does that make me trendy? Hip? I don’t know. It’s a mess.

What I think is most important to understand is that the stereotype of a hipster, the “meme version” of a hipster, is not necessarily what being a hipster should be. It should mean that you are constantly looking to discover that next band that will amaze you.  It means staying a step ahead of the wave, not because you like to think you’re better, but that you are just that passionate and eager about music. It should be a positive not a detrimental characterization that places you in some category of pretentious music snobs. At least I think so.

So I guess I am a hipster. At least as I would define it. And I’m fine with that, if that means I get to listen to fun new bands.

Stay hip, y’all.

11 Responses to “Wait, Am I a Hipster?”
  1. I love this post because I was just listening to Of Monsters and Men this week and had similar thoughts as you. I quietly sighed to myself thinking “I can’t believe I like this music. Am I into indie rock now? First Bon Iver and now this?” I then changed my mind and was happy that I am at least finding new music and exploring all genres. Anyway, I understand ya man.

  2. Brennan McCracken says:

    Great post!

  3. bbwraven says:

    I’m a Of Monster & Men kinda sorta fan. ;) loved this post.

  4. kalalule says:

    I was SOOOOO mad when I noticed people started posting OM&M crap on Facebook. I found them first dang it! And no, you aren’t a hipster. We’ve made the term ‘hipster’ into an insult that describes people who go out of their way to attempt to be cool. And its fake. It sounds like you’re probably just a guy who knows good music and how to find it. That is a good thing.

  5. jakeakin says:

    Thanks for all the comments, y’all! I’m happy to see I’m not the only person who is confused by the ridiculousness that has become the term “hipster.” Please hit me up with any other comments or thoughts you have!

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