Noisey Blog

POPSOUNDS 003: As Cool As Kim Deal

By Ilirjana Alushaj


Last night I spent some time looking at couple of old issues of The Face, which if you don’t know, was a highly influential music and fashion magazine. It started in the 1980s and spanned about 24 years. I was always a little sad about the fact that it faded away, for as I reminisced and turned the pages of my cultural past, I glimpsed at more than one feature that made me sigh loudly. I started to ponder the music and people that helped influence the curious creature I am today.

More importantly however, it also got me thinking a little beyond the personal and further into straight up music culture... for as I looked these articles I realized something was missing today.

Where have all the lead men in indie gone?

And when I say “indie” please note I am not referencing the anomalies that are Jay-Z or Justin Bieber. I am more thinking about a modern Iggy Pop? Or maybe even a Brett Anderson? Is it reaction against a past overloaded with a series of “me me me” artists or is it simply a lack of desire from a artist to stand out from their peers? Newer acts like WU LYF relish in a mantra of anonymity and I really appreciate this ideology and how it connects with their particular sound.

Without or without cheerleading backup dancers.

But with most other music, it is really quite hard to distinguish ideology let alone personality. All these guys in t-shirts and jeans, standing being smoke machines, make it a little difficult to remember what most of their names are, let alone how they look like and what differentiates them from the rest. I brought this up with my friend (and fellow writer) Colleen Nika, whom discussions are always likely to get hotly debated. On this topic however Colleen was in complete agreement. She states, “No male vanguards like Bowie, Jackson, Cocker, or even George Michael exist in 2011 because no new artist with an eye towards commerce is willing to make a high-risk statement as a musical thought leader. No one, especially within the traditional pop/rock idiom, is making the level of contribution that defines themselves, and our times, as something specific and removed from any other era."

Today for some odd reason, women not men, are really pushing ahead within the greater idea of individualism. Weird, but true. And yes I know this isn’t the end of the world or anything but I kinda hope some time soon, a few strange and creative boys will take that step forward and make things a little more interesting for all of us...