Friday, 14 March 2008

Hipster Douchebag Music Recommendation Of The Week: "A Sunday Smile" by Beirut

In an effort to start posting again more regularly, I've come up with my own (most likely not-so-) weekly feature: YouTube videos of songs I like! Nobody's done that before, right?

Admiral Neck and I both spend a good deal of time reading The AV Club, so we have more than a passing knowledge of current internet-asshole trendy insults (based on the posters in comment threads after the articles, that is; the AV Club writers seem like very nice people who would totally want to be our friends if they got to know us). The most popular insult there for awhile -- so popular, in fact, that it's now an in-joke on the site -- was "hipster douchebag," which the commenters used to insult any writer they thought was just pretending to like something to seem cool (i.e., a writer whose argument they disagreed with). Writing about music in particular seems to be a minefield -- if you like a band that's too mainstream, you're a hipster douchebag who's being contrary by ironically liking crap enjoyed by the masses; if you like an obscure band, you're a hipster douchebag who's just trying to prove how cool and edgy you are; if you like an "indie" band that's gotten some mainstream success (or even the rather limited success of being critically adored), you're the biggest hipster douchebag of all, because all you're doing is trying to fit in with the cool kids.

Sigh. Can we just agree, once and for all, that everyone is a hipster douchebag in his own special way and be done with it? I've had to stop reading some of the threads because they piss me off so much. Once there was an entire thread insulting Sufjan Stevens, who I adore and who I thought was pretty well-loved until that moment, and I had to shut down the window in case I accidentally broke the keyboard trying to put my rage into print.

With all that in mind, I've self-consciously used the insult as a title for this series, because God knows I'm not going to have music choices cool enough to appease everyone. I probably fall into the last category, internet-wise, because though I probably know more "indie" bands than people who mostly listen to Top 40, I basically just know the "indie" equivalent of Top 40. (I keep putting "indie" in quotes because that's what the genre is generally referred to as, even though a lot of the bands are on major labels. Leave me, music paranoia!!) I got a late start on my education; as a kid practically the only music I listened to was my parents' soft-rock, so I didn't even know who the Top 40 cool bands were (do you realize how sad it is to feel bad that you don't know who Boyz II Men are?); in high school I managed to get a grasp of that, but not "good" music; and in college I learned the gospel of Elliot Smith and Ben Folds and all the rest, but it was only when I met Admiral Neck that I learned how much music I'd been missing out on. I'd skirted on the fringes of "good" music for awhile, but I've always been playing a game of catch-up and I still am.

So basically, this feature will be an ongoing collection of songs I like right now -- depending on your musical knowledge, you'll either find something new or roll your eyes at my pedestrian choices. Or both! Don't limit yourself. (That may sound bitter but really I'm just hoping there won't come a day when I give up any pretense of coolness and link to my favorite Phil Collins song. You may think I am kidding but oh no I am not kidding.)

Anyway, here's my first choice: "A Sunday Smile" by Beirut. It's not a proper video, but it's the best version of the song I could find (other than live versions, and while those are great, they're substantially different from the original).

This song gives me chills and makes me happy to be alive (as I find almost all good music does). I defy you not to feel your heart swell a little at those gorgeous horns, the chorus of voices, the lolloping merry-go-round rhythm, the accordion (!). Zach Condon, the one with the mournful voice and the mastermind behind Beirut, is only 22. I figure that means I just have to have a really good year this year, equaling four of his, and I'll be caught up. I'm about to finish this post, so I'd say I'm looking pretty good right now. Pretty. Darn. Good.

And a bonus video just cause it's equally beautiful and should also be heard by everyone: "Postcards From Italy." This one does have a video, and a very appropriate one at that.

Not much I can improve on there. Catch ya on the flip side, daddio.


sjwoo said...

Remember the episode of Seinfeld with The Drake? You know, everybody loves the Drake. Who doesn't love the Drake? Anyway, that's the episode where the beautiful woman in the wheelchair spurns Kramer's advances and labels him a "hipster doofus." I wonder if that's the first time that phrase was coined. Hipster douchebag seems to refer to it.

Admiral Neck said...

I definitely think you're right there. I remember using that phrase (along with a million other Seinfeld phrases), and it was an easy leap from there to the more profane version.

And The Drake was an asshole, IMO.

sjwoo said...

But...but...but...everybody loves The Drake!!! The Drake! Loves! Everybody!

Of course, I can only speak for myself, and I sort of love the Drake. Whoever the hell he is.