I think that has a lot to do with the blurring of the lines of mainstream and indie, that Stereogum and everyone has covered for several years now. There sort of isn’t an indie scene anymore. Pop acts appear on Stereogum and Pitchfork “best of” lists. Someone like Pharrell is the perfect example. He’s worshipped by both indie fans and gets played on your local pop music station.
I just think music changed. I don’t know when that happened. But, theres really no genres or boundaries really. Your teen sister is into Charli XCX, Disclosure and Pharrell. My parents know who Pharrell is. And someone like Justin Timberlake is seen as an arbiter of coolness by both girls, but also guys too and has massive amounts of critical acclaim along with his clear commercial popularity.
Things have changed.
I don’t want the R&b thing to end either. Its what indie needed, a needed shot in the arm. But i’m obsessed with all the bands mentioned in the article and in the comments here as well. R&b is amazing in 2014.
Its interesting to note as a Grantland writer did last year, that indie fans in 2014 are as likely to be bumping the new Beyonce, JT, and Lorde, as they are the newest obscure indie band.
Saturation to me means the genre can’t evolve anymore. If we as a movement and culture have no accepted, JT, Beyonce, and everyone else as amazing music deserving of praise, which I think is the case, then I don’t think the movement has stopped growing. I think its still expanding and altering and changing.
Its just now bands, as the article suggests, are as likely to be fans of Drake and Bey as they are some new Pitchfork endorsed band no one knows about
The Dream’s discography except for his most recent album, is pretty much flawless
Interesting article, but I disagree. To me, saturation means staleness and a genre reaching a point where it can no longer innovate.
Im the perfect case study for this. For most of the 2000′s was a typical indie hipster, Pitchfork and Stereogum fanatic. Then Nostalgia Ultra and Weeknd’s Trilogy hit in 2011 and most of my listening time from 2011 onward has been listening to the R&B sounds of Weeknd, Miguel, The Dream, HTDW, JT. I now listen to pop and r&b almost exclusively.
I find indie r&b, or pbr&b, or just pop in general in 2014 to be as adventurous and inspiring as I did in 2011. I find the genre to be moving in exciting ways. I think R&b will be similar to indie in general. 2004 indie sounds nothing like 2014 indie. And 2011 R&b has evolved into 2014 r&b. I don’t think that means saturation. Because if that was the case, indie as a genre, in general, would have become stale and over saturated, in 2004 or something.
Pitchfork nailed it in 2011, when they reviewed Love Remains, and said, essentially that this lo-fi R&b album would have a profound impact and cause a bunch of people to start recording their own r&b albums in their basement.
3 years later, and we’ve seen that happen. Im as psyched about what i’ve heard in those 3 years, as I ever have been. And am looking forward to any other similar albums that come down the pike this year.
Its not that big of a surprise given all bands do this stuff now. The shock is in thinking back to 1991 or something. Who would have ever thought the Pixies would be on a television commercial.
Album changed my life. Was released my freshman year of college. Isaac’s lyrics always felt like he was as confused and lost as I was. The unique guitar tones seemed to be the sonic equivalent of twenty something angst. This album pushed me. Pushed me to try new things. To live life more fully. TO believe this life is all we have and that I better get to living. This is a quarterlifecrisis essential album. Helped me to become who I am. Helped me to change.
Whats interesting about his music, and Im not sure he’d agree, but, so often the organized religion ideology is that if you aren’t going to church you aren’t a member of the faith. And what Sufjan’s music conveys, whether or not he himself agrees, is the idea that God is all around. He exists in music, art, creativity, lyrics. The God Sufjan talks about is one who isn’t sitting around moaning about people taking his name in vain, or acting like homosexuality is something God gives a damn about. God is all around. And he’s here whether you believe in him or not. He doesn’t judge you if you don’t believe, doesn’t send you to hell, but he’s here reguardless.
Sufjan gives the entire display. The God who takes his first girlfriend who dies of bone cancer in Casimir Pulaski, and praying to God doesn’t help save her. Sufjan is as confused and scared as we all would be in that situation. Yet then you have songs like Chicago, where God’s beauty is on display. Even a song like Abraham while describing something horrific is indescribably beautiful.
great article. Very influential and important album in my own life. The article hit the nail on the head. I wouldnt self identify as a Christian, but Sufjan’s power with words and description almost make me want to become a Christian. He portrays a God, completely out of step with much of what gets labeled Christianity these days. He may not understand God “he takes and he takes and he takes” as he says on Casimar Pulaski on Illinois. But the God he talks about is the one I want to believe in. I believe in God, and certainly a reason for that is the God that Sufjan talks about, his glory and his mystery. Sufjan has doubts and doesn’t understand God either. He’s as unsure as we all are, even if he is a proud Christian who wears it on his sleeve.
Sufjan is one of the greatest lyricists of our generation and a treasure. Incredible way with words. When he dies, a whole generation will weep.
Sometimes I only listen to this album during the holidays, but he has so many other Christmas albums in addition, this sounds good all year though.
Listening to this album and reading the article makes me sad. I miss how indie rock used to be. The article mentions all of the albums that originally made me become an indie rock kid in the first place. Those years 2003-2007 were so magical. I like what indie rock has become in 2014, but theres something indescribably important and life changing about hearing Our Endless Numbered, or Good News For People, or Creek Drank The Cradle or even Michigan for the first time and having your entire fabric of your being completely altered and forever changed. My heart ACHES for those days. What was this new thing called “indie rock”? Who was this strange guy, whose name I couldnt pronounce? Legitimately makes me tear up…..
would fit with who he is as a person too. He’s never been an attention seeking artist. Even when he was blowing up with Im Wide Awake, its not like he was seeking fame and money and attention. He seems extremely shy, and I think he feels very much, that his personal life is just that. Personal, and not our business. And thats 100 percent accurate.
He’s always been a hero of mine for precisely these reasons. His persona lends more credibility to his albums. Because he speaks from the heart.
In fact I think he’s always been extremely uncomfortable with fan adoration and critical success. When he was being called the New Dylan and the Spokesman for his generation around 2003-2004-2005, he clearly wasnt buying mansions and in my opinion wasnt taking advantage of groupies and fans either.