It has been brought to my attention that I am now 36 years old. I have a mortgage and car payments. I have two (soon to be three) kids. I wear a freakin' tie to work most days. I have a job where I am referred to as MR. most of the time. I do yardwork on the weekends (occasionally in shorts with socks pulled up to shield me from the weedwacker's rage). I laugh at TWO AND HALF MEN because I genuinely believe it is funny. I no longer watch MTV, and even VH1 is a bit sketchy at this point. You might say that this is the beginning of a mid life crisis, but oh no, it is something so much worse. This is an Indie Rock Credibility Crisis.
I have always fancied myself something of a music snob. This used to spread to movies, TV and books (back when I read things that were not the sports section in my chair half asleep). I have tried to maintain a certain hipness in my listening tastes (despite a somewhat ironic love for U2 and yes I am aware that this makes me a hypocrite). But am I now at a point in my life where I have to surrender that? Do I have to pack up my ringer tees and jeans for polo shirts and cargo shorts? Can a man be both a shining example of suburban malaise and a hipper than thou music aficionado?
PEOPLE, THIS IS A GENUINE CRISIS OF CONSCIENCE!!
It is no small coincidence that REM has played a large part in my listening habits over the past few weeks. They are the epitome of indie cred who have, in their old age, gone for the soft underbelly of commercialism. So when I took to listening to their new live CD it only cemented this moral calamity. "Driver 8" and "Gardening at Night" are still great, but do they still carry the same weight as they did all those years ago? Are they even still the poster children for the now antiquated college radio movement given that they "sold out" years ago? Are they just a relic of a bygone era replaced with blogs, zines and internet podcasts by every 20 year old with a macbook and a microphone? It is my assertion that for those of us who came of age in the true alternative era, REM have always represented the purest and most accurate accounting of band as artists and outsiders who did it the right way. But does that even matter any more?
I have no answers to these questions. This is not a manifesto of my rebellion against the passage of time. It is merely the cries of a middle aged man who very much loves the way he has dressed all these years, loves the music he has collected over time (and still from time to time dips his toes in the current indie waters) and is not ready to put on the black socks and sandals just yet.