Not all indie music is underground


By Madison Kitch

Illustrated by Neesa Vang

Mainstream music is as diverse as ever. There is rap, pop, and rock genres, plus Billie Eilish competing for the “Most Overhyped Artist” award. Unfortunately, this also leads to people who think they’re better than everyone else because they listen to “underground” music. Indie music isn’t bad, but its hardcore listeners need to take off the GOLF le FLEURs* and calm down. Not everything is underground, no matter how many times you say, “You probably haven’t heard of them.”

Do you even know what is considered underground? Things like the New York subway and plant roots. Rex Orange County (he grew up in England and began releasing music in 2016), who has over eight million monthly listeners on Spotify, is not underground, no matter how badly you wish he was.  Every wannabe-manic-pixie-dream-girl listens to him. He came here on tour and completely sold out his show at the Brooklyn Bowl. He’s good, but saying he’s unknown is like saying Nevada is “just a little warm.”

Sure, Indie artists may not have as many listeners as sensations like Ariana Grande or Drake, but they’re definitely not struggling in the fan department. Breakout Indie star Clairo (known for her song “Pretty Girl”) has a net worth of $250 thousand which is almost enough to pay for college nowadays. Her father also worked in the music industry, and I just know she grew up with the name-brand snacks. No Tootie Fruities for her, she got Froot Loops

With great power comes great responsibility, and with mediocre bedroom pop comes opinions worthy of an eye-roll. The same people that say Rex Orange County and Clairo are underground were in the ‘I’m not like other girls’ phase in the seventh grade. No Rebecca, Vance Joy’s “Riptide” doesn’t sound that good on the ukulele. Before you ask, no, I don’t want to hear it at the talent show for the fifth consecutive year. This 2013 hit has been reduced to something that sparks anger, not joy and fond memories.

My anger fades after I mock these poor souls; all they have is a God complex and butterfly clips. They are void of a personality. All they can do is scoff at someone who doesn’t immediately say their favorite band is “Wallows.” They are lonely, just like the rest of us. The only difference is that I don’t have a shirt that says ‘Directed by Quentin Tarantino’ and a pair of Converse x Comme des Garçons.

Unfortunately, then I remember what happens if I accidentally say the name of an Indie band. The Indie girls might just give a pop quiz. What is the lead singer’s wife’s name? What pair of drums did the drummer use at the band’s first show? When is the manager’s dog’s birthday? It goes on and on. However, they’re still not as bad as the Indie guys that leave girls on ‘Read’ and say things like, ‘No, but have you really watched The Silence of the Lambs?’ or my personal favorite, ‘Have you heard of “The Strokes?” Shutup Jared, and stop typing in all lowercase. You aren’t quirky.

Indie music isn’t bad, but its listeners make me want to cut off my ears. Someday, the next generation of kids will ask us what we listened to as teens, and we’ll say, ‘Oh, you probably haven’t heard of them.’ In the meantime, don’t let the door hit your 1-inch Doc Martens on the way out.

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Madison Kitch is a senior and this year’s Editor-In-Chief for The Roar. This is her fourth year on staff, and she’s excited to end her high school experience on a good note. She enjoys hanging out with her friends but values her time alone more than anything. Her favorite movie is Good Will Hunting, and she enjoys rewatching Bojack Horseman and Gilmore Girls in her minimal spare time. Some of her favorite artists include PJ Harvey, Liz Phair, Pixies, and Green Day. Madison doesn’t know where she plans to go to college yet, but she knows she’ll love it, no matter what.