Swag: A New Definition


— From: Jake —
I say the word “swag” a lot. Probably too much. Like when you find that one joke that really works or that catch phrase that’s just obscure enough it almost always gets a laugh, but you begin to overuse it and can hear your friends’ glances saying, “alright, cut it out, not funny anymore.” Well I do that with “swag.”
It think it’s because I see it differently than most people. It’s kind of a master of versatility in my mind, and I always think it fits perfectly with the situation I use it in.
I’ll set this straight right off the bat: swag, to me, is not a hip-hop thing. It’s not related to “ballin” and it’s not a simple explanation for someone who goes around being a cocky big-shot all the time. Swag is an experiential confidence. I know, that’s some vocabulary that tastes of caviar and tax breaks. But it’s how I see swag. You don’t possess swag in your clothing or your walk. You have swag when you express a confidence and a level of mastery that people can detect by a simple observance of your thoughtless actions. I think I could put that sentence on a poster with a picture of MLK Jr. and sell a lot of them. I acknowledge the platitude style of that sentence, but I don’t want to put it differently because I think I already described my idea of swag the best way I can.
It’s this new idea of cool that’s breathing out of musicians mouths between long lines in complicated, emotional verses: some altitude that sits just above a Sirius/XM listener tuned to Alt Nation and XM U but still just below an avid Pitchfork reader who can’t listen to anything they’ve heard playing over a coffee shop’s speakers. It’s funny though, because I just defined swag by using music. And I don’t think you can just define it using one thing. I don’t want to come off as too esoteric, but I really do think swag is something that can’t be pinned down. You just know if someone is swaggin’. That dude in cargo shorts in front of you at Chipotle? The one telling a story about his high school years that is making his 12 year old son laugh? On his father swag. That chick dancing like no one is watching at the party? Pure bliss in the music on her face? On her careless bliss swag. At least how I see it.
So this may not be the most “music” related post. But I don’t  think that people like music just for the music. There’s something else to it. And music helps me on my swag. It loosens me up. My brain spills out words like a river; my fingers fly on a keyboard like a New York ballet. When you have your swag, you know. And I know that music takes me to my swag. I wonder what does it for you? Probably music, considering you read our blog hear at AudioFanaticSociety. But there’s other stuff. An embrace from that person who turns your stomach into a butterfly garden. A clear day in front of you and running feet under you. A holy book and a quiet room. Something does it for you; I know it does.
So remember that swag isn’t a word you just plaster on a t-shirt and declare ownership. You live your swag, and you know what brings it out. Be it an angry verse from Childish Gambino blasting from your headphones or a deep talk with your best friend. So swag all over the world, and don’t let the radio voices blabbering about bottle service and cars continue to hold our swag hostage. Let’s steal swagger back, y’all.




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