February 2, 2010

For anyone who still has a stake in "indie" music, the newly web-exclusive Paste magazine has published an article called, "Is Indie Dead?" As you may be able to guess from the title, the article is fundamentally misguided, lofty, long and boring. It's a question that sounds important but gets us nowhere. In its repeated attempts to define what "indie" is, the argument collapses into a debate about semantics that repeats every counter-culture cliche you can think of. What's more, the writer, Rachael Maddux, grandiosely begins by referencing Time article from 1966 that posed the same question about God; she gives a brief account of punk, alternative and indie as more or less the same thing; then she throws in a clumsy summary of Nietzsche's infamous proclamation from The Gay Science and rephrases it in the most painful way:
Indie is an artistic ideal, not a world religion, so while it faces the same dilemma—as a word that once meant so much, and still does to some, but has virtually lost all meaning and may now be doing more harm than good—there’s no need to be so careful. We can tear down this idol with reckless abandon because, to our question, there is a concrete answer: Indie is dead. It has killed itself.
I had to stop reading here. Indie and God? Really? That's a connection I've never made before. Clearly, she knows as little about popular music as she does about philosophy. And she is no poet.

Instead of wasting your time with this article, I suggest looking at the various critics who've been asked by Flavourwire to give a response to Maddux's article. I'm pretty merciful in comparison.

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