June 29, 2009
IN THE TUBE
Hipsters get a lot of shit. In Brooklyn, they are accused of ruining shows, neighborhoods, culture, art, music, fashion – anything. The anti-hipster ethos runs deeper as the music scene gets trendier and trendier, galleries and coffee shops open where small businesses once thrived, and every bar offers a can of PBR and a shot of well whiskey as a Happy Hour special.
What does the hipster stand for? Nothing. The stereotype is artistic apathy; style removed from substance. Moustaches grow long, turning from ironic-chique, to post-ironic chique, to genuinely “in.” V-necks grow deeper and deeper, till barely an inch of fabric binds the shirt at the bottom. Sure, they listen to music, but with bored, expressionless faces, cross-armed, slacking, and an occasional exaggerated closed-eyed sway. They are inactive, a generation of politics-less, issue-tired, sleepy-eyed nothings. New York (or LA, Chicago, San Francisco, whatever) dies, and it’s their fault. At least, this is the stereotype.
San Francisco’s Girls, mindful of it or not, offers a counterpoint to all this in their recent video for the blog-adored single “Hellhole Ratrace.” Here, we are given familiar hipster party fare: wine from the bottle, brown bagged 40s of malt liquor, artfully slopped apartments, and, of course, PBR. And yet, the entire thing is so celebratory. These kids look genuinely in love with each other. They carelessly kiss, smile, drink, dance, and laugh in the way we’ve expected of youth since Fast Times at Ridgemont High or Dazed and Confused. Wandering aimlessly from party to diner to convenience store, unmindful of anything but each other, and the fun that’s bound to come along wherever. For most of the song, the line repeats: “I don’t want to die without shaking up a thing or two/ Yeah, I want to do some dancing too/ So come on, come on, come on, dance with me.” It’s a simple sentiment; working is hard, life moves fast, spend it enjoying yourself.
More on Girls | “Hellhole Ratrace”